Ode to a #$% session

In the last few weeks I’ve been hitting up the trout streams within an hour from Melbourne pretty regularly. The great thing about these small streams is they are close enough that I can get out and have a fish without needing a whole free day. The fish aren’t big, but there are loads of them and recently they have been more than willing to hit dry flies left right an centre… Each of the half dozen sessions over the last few weeks have produced fish after fish after fish after fish. To be honest, its been too easy. Knock off work, drive an hour, catch 20 or so baby trout on dry flies, head home. A free Sunday arvo, heck, I’ll go catch some fish…

This is what the stream normally looks like. On Sunday water was running over the log jam in the foreground making fishing a little more difficult than usual.
This is what the stream normally looks like. On Saturday water was running over the log jam in the foreground making fishing a little more difficult than usual.
Over the last few weeks every session has produced at least half a dozen fish like this, a little over a pound, plus countless bonsai trout.
Over the last few weeks every session has produced at least half a dozen fish like this, a little over a pound, plus countless bonsai trout.

So this Saturday came along. It was pissing down with rain when I woke up, so I slept in, then went out to breakfast with the girlfriend (which was all very civilised) and then found myself with a free afternoon. So I put the banty in the back of the car and headed out for a fish. Not checking the weather forecast was my first mistake. It was bright and sunny when I left and somehow forgetting Melbournes fickle weather, I assumed the afternoon would stay like that. I arrived at my stream of choice and to my dismay it was running high and dirty. No problem, I’d work the edges. I headed off. It wasn’t long till I had a landed a few little ones, but it was pretty hard going, nothing like the fishing nirvana that I had creepingly become accustomed to., where five minutes without a fish was “slow”. Then the rain hit. Torrential rain and a cold wind. I ran back to the car, I had no wet weather gear and was soaked from head to toe and freezing cold. Damn. I sat dishevelled in the car, deciding what to do next. I’d driven an hour for an hours fishing. It wasn’t really worth it. So after warming up in the car with the heating on high, I headed back out after the rain eased a bit. I ended up managing to land a few more little tackers before more torrential rain once again had me huddling in the car. I decided to call it a day. By this point I was pretty broken and dejected. “What a tough day” I thought to myself.

One of the little babies I managed on Saturday. Given the stream was running high and dirty, working the edges and back eddies was the key to success.
One of the little babies I managed on Saturday. Given the stream was running high and dirty, working the edges and back eddies was the key to success.

 

A fat little rainbow caught in torrential rain
A fat little rainbow caught in torrential rain

On the drive home, thinking about it more, the day hadn’t actually been all that bad. I’d caught a few fish and while I had been uncomfortable, it was hardly like the discomfort I’ve happily endured in the past. All the easy fishing over the last couple of weeks had made me soft. On Sunday, as I watched Australia smash the poms in the cricket, I realised its possible to lose perspective when it all gets too easy. Back in the 90’s and 00’s, smashing the poms was just what we did and the lustre wore off a bit. But on Sunday, OH BOY was that sweet! Losing a couple of ashes series had brought perspective back and smashing the poms was absolutely $%#^# brilliant again. Thinking back to fishing the day before I realised, we all need to be beaten to a pulp by the elements and by the fish from time to time. The bad days, the hurt, thats what makes the good sessions, SO good! That my little fizzer of a session on Saturday would make my next good session so much better. That sometimes you need a bad session, just to keep you on your toes.

Cheers

Hamish

flickandflyjournal.com

Hamish Webb, Dan Firth, Graham Fifield and Lee Georgeson have been fishing the south-east Australian region since 1987. Since then they’ve become avid sportfishermen who are constantly looking for new ways to challenge themselves. They are all scientists and conservationists who are passionate about the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem in which they live. They promote understanding and appreciation of the complex socio-political, economic and environmental issues surrounding fish, fishing and fisheries, while never losing sight of the various motivations that keep them coming back. In English, that means they love all things fishing and have a damn good time on the water, and that’s all that really counts in the end!

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