I’d gone through a few weeks of the pain of paying my dues to the fishing Gods with blank after blank before things started to fall into place. Maybe it was me allowing the flies to sink to the correct depth, maybe it was me learning to retrieve properly, maybe it was me learning to feel bites and knocks on the line, or maybe the fishery had received a delivery of particularly suicidal trout. Whatever it was I saw my catch rate move up from zero, to one fish per visit, then two, then three, and then back to zero again … hey this is fly fishing after all.
The first one I caught was on an Olive Damsel streamer. That’s the fly for me I figured so used it as a go to fly for the next visit. It was cold that day and my fingers were wet and numb, so much so that I could barely tie the fly on to the leader. As I cast out I saw something small and dark disappear into the water out in front of me with a nice plop. I knew right away it was my fly. So on when another one. I cast out, fish on! A few seconds of playing the fish before … fish off and I pulled the line back in to inspect the fly whilst uttering a few choice phrases. But there was no fly. No this isn’t some kind of Matrix ‘there is no spoon’ reference in this case there actually was no fly. I think I lost four flies that day before I managed to get my cold finger knot tying up to standard. I carried on and ended up taking some fish on a selection of different flies; pheasant tailed nymphs, pupa buzzer, and bibios. I had a rush of blood to the head at one point and tied on the New Zealand style Klink & Dink. Whoa momma what a mess that made of my leader! A tangle of a wind-knots and fluorocarbon that put me firmly back in my place. The following weeks also proved fruitful, fish were taken, fish were returned, and only a couple flies were lost.
And so here we are up to date. I’ve had good days fishing and bad days fishing. I’ve blanked while a chap fifty feet from me is pulling fish out every five minutes, and I’ve been that guy pulling them out while others have struggled (the latter is definitely more preferable). So what’s next? More fishing naturally, but now on different types of water. I’ll still be fishing on still water banks yes, but also I’ll be branching out onto rivers and streams, and large still water boat fishing.