Louisiana dreamin’

Her casting was a bit rough around the gills

Anyway, before I could really consider it properly, I had agreed, and after a quick conversation with the Louisianian lady on the phone, It seemed I was now hosting a random international stranger at home and taking them trout fishing! My wife loves it when I volunteer to do this sort of thing.

Claire arrived at the airport and her bubbly personality turned up very shortly after. After a quick intro at home we were off to the Lower Clutha River to find a trout.

Claire’s fly casting needed a little work but, with a little instruction, she was soon able to cast the Grey Hamills Killer pattern towards the weed beds and under willows.

Trout were cruising and hunting adult whitebait. For the first hour or so she seemed to be offering them a feed, but pulling the fly out of their mouths at the last minute, either through inattention or the excitement at seeing large trout. Cussing with a southern USA drawl was highly amusing to this Kiwi and I laughed out loud each time. Despite assurances that she understood our Kiwi accent, it was clear that some instructions were falling through the cracks or being wildly misinterpreted. After another failed hookup on a cruising trout and when the expletives had mellowed, Claire remarked, “Y’all need to slow down with y’all instructions, I’m a gittin’ a mighty con-fused wiff em’!”

Claire was determined to catch a darn trout on a fly.

It was probably obvious that I had given up when I started to thread up the soft bait fishing rod for myself. While in the process, I heard a yelp over my shoulder and an indistinguishable sentence, like someone leaned on a keyboard and read out the resulting letters aloud. When I turned, I could see boisterous animals on both ends of the line. Claire had finally hooked a trout and she was amped. She bobbled about the boat trying to hold the rod tip high while I helped her get the line under control.

After a short fight, the tidy brownie was guided into the net and it was hers.

I held the fish in the water while she sat down and took in the moment—her first New Zealand trout on a fly. Her usual broad grin could now barely fit her face; she was ecstatic. As she quietly released the trout and watched it glide back to the weed bed, she said breathlessly, “I don’t deserve to be here you know Ian, there are so many flyfishers I know in the States who have this on their bucket list. I’m living the dream.”

“Well I can’t take all random visitors Claire but I know one person we should send the picture to—Drew. He’ll be worried you have used his fishing trip credit up! “

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