And so I finally managed to get out of the town, or rather the village, of Roxburgh. Even though I had one hell for a day of fishing around Lake Onslow, I just felt that the place lacked variety and not even did it offer the slightest chance for some proper sight fishing.
And now I’m sitting around on my ass on a pristine sunny day at the library of Gore, asking myself what the hell I’m doing in here while the river’s boiling with massive trout devouring their favorite dish which they’ve been waiting all summer for to get – Cicadas!
Why oh why would I sit inside then?
Well, a few days ago when I finally finished work I went to gore to meet the obsessed trout hunter from Sweden with which I’ve been changing private messages on the Swedish fly-fishing forum “Edgeflyfishing” – Jacob!
Our meeting has more or less been planned since September; a meeting I never thought would happen due to my inability to follow plans. But this plan did sound too nice to simply be broken. And so we finally got to say “hi” in Swedish and shake hands at the Gore McDonalds parking lot where we didn’t intend spending too much time knowing that there’s fish waiting for us out there.
Our destination: The Picturesque Wakaia River.
We reached the piano flat situated 80 Km from Gore. In belief of that the fattest of monsters only would be found in the headwaters, we decided to drive as long as our small cars could take us along the additional 12 Km 4WD-only track and hike the remaining distance. Our puny cars barely made it past the first 2 Km of the track.
We packed our stuff for a little journey, fully determined to get up there and hook the biggest trout around. When we got ready we heard the sound of a truck approaching from behind. Surprisingly enough, it was one of the few acquaintances that Jacob had managed to make during his 10 days in New Zealand. The driver didn’t really say no to the offer: a beer for a ride.
And that beer saved us a pair of healthy legs and a few hours each.
Upon our arrival we spent the evening walking upstream looking out for those monsters but they were nowhere to be found. We even selected a perfect spot to hunt down a few trout at dusk. Activity was sure to be found, but problem was, the fish were no monsters.
We didn’t go all the way up there just to hook poor juveniles… Teviot gave me enough of that already. (See January)
After a freezing night in the tent the sun finally laid its beams upon us and all of our wet equipment. The great Miss Fortune gave the sun one hour to heat us up before she sent in a bunch of hillbillies with trucks to pick us up for a ride back to the cars.
She even made sure the trucks were filled with kids and other junk so that we got to sit on the bakkie.
This is Jacob, enjoying a cold DB-Draught on the bouncy truck.
A joyful ride, it was one of the trips three greats.
We finally reached the cars where we made ourselves ready for a day at the river – This time on the actual headwaters rather than the river head.
The sun was filling the clear water with a green vivid color limiting trout possibilities to feed unnoticed. It didn’t take us too much time before a trout revealed its beauty to us.
We couldn’t really tell if the trout were flying or swimming.
Jacob gave this one a few cracks. But every time the line softly landed on the even softer surface the trout would give us a reaction we quite didn’t appreciate.
He got spooked.
Shortly after, a bigger trout nailed his spot for feeding. Once again, the line like a leaf, the fly like a fly but the fish like a mouse – hiding away.
We then decided to move on. I left Jacob behind for a bit to let my eyes search for some trout further up.
Jacob never followed so I dropped my stuff and went back to get him. I found him standing at the very same rock going for the very same trout. I was skeptical, why would it eat now after being spooked already?
But Jacob dropped the right fly.
I had the best view from which I could see the trout target and rise to the Cicada. It was a delight, but sadly, not much a delight for Jacob who just felt the fish for a few seconds.
That was it however; the fish said yes to one thing and one thing only – a Cicada!
This knowledge would prove to be helpful when I spotted the next fish. The trout was trying to hide out in the shadows from the bush while chomping on god knows what. Honestly though, we kind of knew as well. The sun did just reveal the fish once, seeing it would seem almost impossible to us when he moved out of the spotlight.
I made my first bet on a cicada and prayed for the cast to be right. And so it didn’t take long until we could see a shadow emerge from the dark, reach the surface and suck in what could have been a poor insect. A short struggle later and we had him in the net.
And that’s about it for that day. My first fish on a Cicada! Many thanks to the awesome imitation made by Lionel on www.flysite.co.nz, where they can be bought for a price that’s way better than those of the various fishing shops around NZ.
The next day was a peculiar one.
The morning began flawlessly. Just as we got out of our cars the sun rose over the thick line of virgin woods, countering the wet, cold morning air. A pleasant breakfast later and we slipped into our cold wet apparel, which now was warm and dry.
The previous days prospects had been giving us a good idea of how and where to look for trout. As we got on the track both me and Jacob felt that maybe we should skip yesterday’s pools and glides and try to scout further into the woods. And so we did with our expectation-level way up high.
But the day made a quick turn as both me and Jacob noticed that his rod tip had vanished (we didn’t thread the loops). I told him that we’ll find it for sure, we’d been following a track for only 1 km in the bush – it can’t be gone. Jacob told me to look slowly behind him while he made a quick walk back to fully cover.
After a desperate search lacking results my naivety began to convert into frustration. Jacob gave up, he didn’t have a spare tip and he told me that we’ll take turns with my rod today and that he’ll order a new one from Sweden later. This sucked!
About one hour had past when we returned to where we noticed our loss, and that’s also where my intuition told me that; the time taken from losing such a precious thing to actually noticing the loss must have been very short.
And there, two meters from where we began our search, it was hanging in a piece of bush, asking us; “looking for something?”.
The day was saved.
We sat down in relief for a while. I thought that we didn’t need to catch anything to fulfill this day. A thought I think that Jacob quite didn’t share – He really wanted a fish today. It seemed though, that after hours of bushwhacking, the further up the river we got the less fish we found. We didn’t find any fish at all actually, and that’s why we turned around.
On the way back I felt sick and tired so I started to regret what I thought about not landing any fish.
We didn’t seem to find any fish on the way back either. But as we got to the destination where Jacob briefly hooked a nice fish the day before, which is the second-last holdout for trout on the way back, I spotted a fine trout looking out for prey under the line of fallen leaf in the middle flow.
It had Jacob written all over it so I stayed from where I could see the fish while Jacob headed to where he got an optimal angle. Jacob was just as cautious as the fish. He refused to spook it. One perfect cast with a cicada landed in its panorama, it made a quick turn and sailed towards the surface where the fly landed.
Sadly, he rejected it. It was the same fly that, in case it was the same fish, he swallowed yesterday.
Some struggle later and Jacobs humpy landed perfectly, and so did the strike after the fish rose to eat it.
The day got fulfilled at last – From losing the rod tip to landing a beauty like this.
This is probably our guardian angel in the shape of a bird. It followed us like a shadow all through the day, making sure everything went according to the plan.
He sure succeeded in making our day.
Thanks for reading if you did!
Spana även in Jacobs hemsida www.conductfly.se