April Fools and cabbage butterflies

Ive’s no fool when it comes to trout misadventures

It was the day after April Fools. We thought we’d be in the clear. Old Murphy, he of the Murphy’s Law, would probably leave us alone and Allan, he of the brother-inlaw and I could get on with the fishing.

The lake was the lowest I can remember, even allowing for age-related amnesia. Could we even get the boat to float off the ramp? However, a successful launch was achieved, the Yarmy fired up straight away and I gave an audible, “Thanks Dave.”

Dave is the expert marine technician who services my floating trout fishing asset.

Out we went and, naturally, spots we used to glide quietly over were now beds of drying waterweed. We elected to fish deeper water, spending a pleasant hour or so floating and stalking but, strangely, fish had become a rarity.

So there we were, around the back of Mount Te Kinga, a very long way from any cabbages, when a white butterfly suddenly came into view. As it fluttered by I wondered aloud what it was doing in this environment.

After checking out a series of likely looking spots, we sighted… absolutely nothing.

Then the white butterfly turned up again and Allan said it might be a bad omen, suggesting a change of tactics, so we fired up the motor once more to fizz across to Lake Brunner’s only islands, Takataka or Refuge Islands. These feature in lake history with Pah Point immediately beyond them. It also features in my history as it was there I once took a 6lb brown on a three and a half pound leader.

The lack of fish was frustrating, however we persevered around the islands but again saw nothing, oh apart from that darn white butterfly. My suggestion was to go across to the next shoreline for a prospect and Allan saw a fish, got the fly out to it but the thing looked and moved on.

Further on we checked a place that had been kind to us before and, again, it was devoid of trout, so we did the sensible thing, nosing the boat into a sunny cove to break out lunch. This is the moment, when diverted by comestibles, a fish will often suddenly appear. However, on this occasion, that theory was debunked.

Lunch done, it was my turn to be the ‘caster’. Allan spotted a trout moving around in the shallows, so out went my fly and the fish ignored it—twice, then it sped out to the deep water. Oh dear, only the second fish we’d seen all day and it was the wrong fly.

Another move into a likely looking area where Allan saw a rise. I didn’t see it but he pointed the fish out and, as Murphy wasn’t looking, I got a nymph into its path. It gobbed it. The line tightened and the game was on.

It was a catch and release but as the fly was deep in its mouth it took a bit to get the fly out and encourage the trout to swim away.

“Well we’ve not been totally skunked today,” said Allan.

In spite of only seeing four fish, an eel and a cockabully, we both agreed it had been a very nice day out on the lake.

Time to quit while we were behind – we went home.

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