It was going to be a “late” start, we both wanted half an hours more sleep. I set the alarm for 3.30am. Despite the extra sleep, it was still a rude shock when the alarm went off. Coffee was brewed and I walked outside and hopped in the car. It was time to chase cod.
A two and a half hour drive and we arrived, it was a little later than would have been ideal, but the extra half hours sleep was worth it. We set up the rods, chose some flies and started walking and casting. Nick started sub-surface, I started working the top, hoping for some surface action. After a few hours, I too went sub-surface.
Over the next seven or so hours we worked every likely looking snag meticulously. Fishing slow and deep into structure. Its here that weed guards are an absolute must. Most casts involved bumping the fly over logs and sticks to work it through the most likely lies. Despite our efforts, the cod weren’t playing ball. We tried pretty much every fly in my cod box over the course of the day (related, I need to tie more cod flies).
We fished HARD. Between us we must have made at least 1000 casts. All we had to show for our efforts were three “bumps” between the two of us. There were half a dozen other maybes, but they might have been sticks or twigs. We couldn’t be sure. Three were fish. The tentative nature of the touches suggested the fish weren’t really on, the touches were half hearted to say the least. Next time I will make sure I have a few flies with stinger hooks attached for just this sort of scenario.
This time there would be no explosive connections where the rod suddenly violently buckles as the fly drifts down through the sticks. No heart attacking inducing surface BOOFS! Today we would go empty handed. The heart pumping addictive hits that make cod fishing so special would have to wait till next time.
Sometime in the mid- afternoon we both agreed to call it. A few minutes earlier I’d seen a carp. Just as we made the decision to head home I saw another one. “Why not” I thought. I tied on a carp fly, directly onto my 20lb cod leader and made the cast. It rushed over and ate but I missed the hook set “F$%^” I thought. The fish was still there though, so I cast again with little hope I would be able to get it to eat. Carp don’t give you two chances. Much to my surprise, it rushed over and smashed the fly. Sometimes you get lucky. With 20lb leader, the fish was soon on the bank. Nick had made his way over now having noticed the commotion. Just as I landed the fish Nick piped up “Get down. There are three fish right in front of you.” I crouched down, unhooked the first fish and flicked the fly out “Yep, yep, strike”. BOO YA! Another one. Carp fishing isn’t meant to be like that.
Five minutes later I walked down to Nick who was casting to another fish. “I’m changing flies, have a shot at it if you want”. “You sure, it is your fish”. “Yeah man, go for it”. While Nick changed flies I made a few casts and ended up foul hooking it. Sorry Nick!!! It was foul hooked, so it doesn’t count, but it was still another carp removed from the waterway. A token effort to improve the river and help the mighty murray cod recover.
We commenced the long walk home, the disappointment somewhat dulled by a little success to finish the day. As we reached the car, I was already trying to figure out when I would next be able to get out and chase the mighty greenfish. I still have a lot to learn.