Hamish wrote a great little blog about our trout opening weekend here, so I don’t want to repeat anything he said. But the sentimentality might be similar. I had a magic weekend, yet I didn’t catch a fish. In the past, I would have found this somewhat disappointing. I can remember a trip to Nariel and another to Bright for my buck’s weekend, where, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t catch a fish, and it really, really annoyed me!
Perhaps I’m getting older and wiser. It might be part of the reason, but there are probably a few other factors at play. There were two things that made this weekend special. The first was showing close mates a place I hold close to my heart; a place I have spent many an evening, morning, afternoon, simply feeling the flow of the river, waiting for hatches, and occasionally, catching some decent fish. It’s also a place that my wife holds close to her heart, having spent much of her childhood riding horses up and down the river. She recalls seeing the odd trout in there, too.
The second thing that made the weekend special was getting Graz onto his first fish on fly. Not just any fish, but a 5lb golden brown. While the experience and the fish itself are amazing things, the poignancy in this weekend for me is the selflessness that fly fishing can instill. When flyfishing, everything seems to slow down. It doesn’t matter if you have the cast at the rising fish or one of your best friends does, because watching them catch the fish is almost as good as catching it yourself. It’s like a really, really good movie, with all the vibes and emotion of reality. Because you are often hunting individual fish, you often discuss the approaches with your fellow angler; flies, cover, landing spots, direction of the fish, who will make the cast, who will spot and so on. It’s a really nice way to fish.
One final note is that I think my bow hunting has forced me to slow down even more. It’s easy to rush up the stream, blindly casting streamers into likely holds. It produces fish, and I often get into a zone where it can be quite enjoyable. But sometimes, it pays to just sit down at the tail of a pool, under an ancient snowgum, and take it all in. It’s not only relaxing, but you start to notice things you wouldn’t see if you were trudging on through the pool, regardless of any adherence to methodical exploration with an articulated meat snack or well-tied emu bugger. In fact, it’s spotting the fish first, and then catching it, that probably provides the epitome of fishing satisfaction, and probably explains why dry fly fishing can be so rewarding.
In a nutshell, it was a great weekend spent with the sort of people that make you want to be a better person. Surrounding oneself with these sorts of people, in these sorts of environments, is certainly good for the soul.