A close shave with Lady Luck

Gold dredged from the depths

I drove off with a solid Barber hanging over the river to my left. The Barber—a katabatic air flow falling down from the mountains so when it cools and it’s so cold it can shave the hair off your face.

Lakeside, it was a beautiful morning; the carpark empty and just a skerrick of mist a backdrop to an uneventful launch. The motor fired on first pull and I fizzed over behind some bulrushes, lifted the motor and rowed quietly between the trees through a still backwater. A hi viz clad kayaker eased into the reach, then turned and headed for the water I was going towards. Just what one wants, a gaudily garbed paddler ahead of you.

But another setback awaited. Working around trees standing tall with their feet in the water, the branches reached out and grabbed at the fly. Snags caught a couple of times, but the fly was retrieved without too much bother. Then a mis-timed cast resulted in ‘crack of the whip’ and the fly disappeared. Squinting, attempts to put the fine leader through the eye of a hook suggested my eyesight wasn’t perfect, but fish were spotted rising further out, so I went for a look.

Just a hint of mist and hope

I couldn’t see what they were taking (should’ve gone to… ) but some were plainly visible as they broke the surface with a slosh. One took briefly but it wasn’t a proper hookup. As I drifted toward the rises they would disappear then start up again—behind. I swear they have a sense of humour.

The sun climbed higher and warmed a cloudless blue sky, so off came a layer and the casting continued. Now I wasn’t seeing fish, so I poked into old familiar spots that had been good in the past but there was nothing. I did see the local fishing guide cruising past a couple of times but, fortunately, he didn’t see me, as he’d wanted to know my Spot Xs or my best fly.

Then I recalled a ploy we’ve used to attract fish in the past, which was to stop to eat. It failed!

I rowed off, a fish rose behind me and snaffled a bit of crust I’d jettisoned. Knead to develop a bread fly. However it was a nice day in the sun with wildlife (apart from trout) abounding: kingfishers, herons of several hues wafting around, flights of waterfowl and swans taking off when they saw me, possibly due to the approaching duck season.

I meant to mention at the outset, that I did get a good fish on the third cast of the day. It was a nice specimen of 3-4 pounds and, while we have fish in the freezer, I pondered keeping it, but back it went—I thought it was a good omen and there’d be more.


Fancy a fisherman putting any trust in luck.

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