Rockin’ rainbow

This tail-walking teaser tested Mark to the limit

As I stumbled through the house in darkness, preparing for a day’s fishing, trying to make my exit without waking the whole household and sort a stiff coffee for my drive to the river, my mind was willing an accurate forecast of light winds and sunny skies. River flows were good so I was pretty confident, if all the stars aligned, of getting a few fish to the net.

As I crested the hill to drive down into the valley in the distance, I could see a thick woollen blanket of thick fog descending along the river banks but noted the sun shining bright above, trying its best to burn through.

I arrived at my starting point half an hour later, perfect timing as the fog had now cleared, which had me double timing it downstream to the first pool. 

I started searching for any shape, smudge or movement that may indicate a fish but, as I neared the top of the pool—nothing—so onto the next run. This was a faster moving section of water with a riffle on the surface making spotting very limited, so I pulled my nymph from the rod’s keeper to put through some exploratory casts. After years of fishing you become more aware of where fish are likely to sit in this type of run.

As I studied the currents, a cast goes up where a fish would likely hold station, the indicator sitting high on the surface drifts down, then dips at the hot spot to which I strike. That familiar nod through the rod tells me this is a fish, which immediately tears line from my reel, then dances across the surface on its tail. That’s when my heart beat a little faster as I see the telltale red stripe from the rainbow trout. However this is not the usual 3lb rainbow I would normally encounter here—this guy was BIG.

The nerves crept in with every direction change, leap, and run the fish made to avoid my net.

“Don’t muck this one up Mark,” I say to myself.

Finally, I manage with considerable side strain to slide it into the shallows, then to my net. Lifting it clear for a quick weigh, it topped the scales at 8lb, a personal best rainbow for me. Overjoyed to have had the pleasure of seeing such an incredible fish, I then return it to the river in hopes of it maybe producing future monsters.

The rest of the day’s catches were an added bonus to an already magic day spent on the river. Next time a different section of river will be explored in hopes of perhaps finding another Rockin’ Rainbow.

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