• Walk On By.

    "Drive Past, It’s not worth fishing."

    Ignoring these words of advice, about a stretch of water on a remote Hawkes Bay River was to produce one of those lucky breaks that come your way every once in a while.

    From the road there was nothing one could see to suggest there was anything other than long reaches of featureless Papa bottom throughout the length of water in a steep sided gorge. On foot we found numerous sheep tracks leading down toward the bottom of the gorge and using one of the tracks to reach water level, our first reaction was one of utter surprise and delight.

    The anticipated featureless bottom, had a hidden river bed cut into the Papa with a good flow of water over numerous rock and boulder strewn pools scattered throughout the length of the gorge, with an occasional rapid cascading into a larger deep pool which made the hairs on the back of one’s neck stand up in anticipation.

    Moving slowly upstream it did not take long before we started spotting trout. Large dark shadowy shapes moving casually around between the rocks in the pools or holding station in feeding lies with an occasional dart from side to side a the white flash of a mouth showed they were on the feed.

    While my buddy moved in on a good looking opportunity some way upstream of me, I noticed a nice Rainbow taking a fly off the surface of a nearby pool. Rising trout have always been irresistible to me, so in short order I stripped the Nymph from my leader and tied on an “Eat at Joe’s” (Hair wing Royal Coachman #14 Dry.)

    Wading out to a good casting position I found that scuffing the bottom with my boot at each step gave me good traction on the notoriously soap like Papa, and I made good progress to the edge of the hole, where I had a clear view of a lovely trout feeding confidently with out a worry in the world.

    On my first cast the wind wafted my fly well off to one side of the trout’s well-chosen lie just ahead of a rock in midstream. Allowing the fly to drift well below the trout’s position, having made a mental note of how much allowance to make for the wind I lifted the rod in preparation for the next cast. Instead of the fly lifting into the air, it was engulfed by a trout, which I had not noticed in my eagerness to go for the obvious. I took an involuntary step to the right as the pressure came on the rod and next thing I knew, I was waist deep in water with a crazy Rainbow tearing up the pool.
    Eventually having regained my breath and some composure, I set about the task of trying to bring to net a Rainbow which was intent on giving me a demonstration of just how well it know every inch of the pool. Finally after a few anxious moments I had the trout in the net and heaving a sigh of relief eased the hook free and returned a lovely well condition fish back into it’s domain.

    With the excitement over and finding only my dignity had been injured my next most immediate concern was whether or not my unexpected swim had been observed by my buddy. A glance upstream showed he was too busy playing a fish to have been paying me much heed. With a sigh of pure relief I scrambled and slithered my way out of the hole, regained my feet and quickly headed for the security of Terra Firma.

    Having dried out some. I moved on upstream and glancing back at the pool, I saw my original quarry rise again, a challenge I was not about to ignore.

    Once more I took up position on the edge of the pool and watched as the Rainbow took another natural with gay abandon. This time my cast was a lot better and as the fly drifted jauntily down toward the trout I saw that almost imperceptible shiver of anticipation pass through the trout’s body as it rose and accepted my fly. It was with a feeling of some satisfaction I tightened on that trout and felt the rod tip bend as the hook went home. This time every thing was going to plan. If I thought the first fish had given me a tour of the pool, this second fish went where no fish had gone before. The number of times I could feel the leader drag across a rock or other snag had me wondering how long it would hold. Eventually after a nerve- wracking tussle the trout surrendered itself to the net and I could swear it gave me a wry smile of satisfaction as I carefully returned it to the water.

    The fishing that afternoon was unbelievable as we fished our way carefully upstream completely shattered by the number of trout we saw and the gorge echoed to the shouts of pure happiness as a fish was either landed or was subject to a “Long Line release.” Later toward evening in a state of near euphoric exhaustion brought about by the thrilling action of the past few hours fishing. We came to an obvious stock track and followed it up and out to the road and enjoyed a happy walk back down to the car as we gradually came back down to earth.

    Needless to say we have visited that bit of water on many occasions since, and it is always kind to us even though others still say it is a total waste of time to even consider fishing it. Occasionally we have had a pang or two of conscience and once even considered telling others of our little slice of heaven, but were put off by the firm belief nobody would believe us. So rather than be branded as dreamers or worse, we keep our little slice of heaven to ourselves.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Walk On By. started by Jax View original post