Friday, 25 January 2013

Man Day on the river Von

With the day off and no work until 4:30pm Alastair and I decide to head to the Von river. We have heard great things about it, apparently there is a gorge which can be great fishing and now the water has dropped significantly should be accessible again. So with the best part of an hours drive ahead of us we drop Christina off for her breakfast shift at 6:30am and set off.

Half way there we realise we have forgotten the map but head on anyway with a vague idea of where it is, fortunately the majority of the gravel roads here in New Zealand are just one road and difficult to get lost on.

The conditions are looking good, with some bright sun and relatively low wind we are buzzing with excitement as this has been a river on our list to visit for some time now!

We pass the Oreti river where we have fished before and stop to have a quick cast on a bridge pool where Alastair had seen a fish the week before, unfortunately with no avail so we head on. The scenery for those in the UK is much like the lake district here, with large rolling mountains and hills and relatively baron landscape. As we progress we reach the first of two fords we need to cross, the first Al came to the week before which was far too big to cross and washed out he road. In our little Daewoo but we braved it today and made it across dry.

As we continue along we approach a gorge and without a map decide that this must be it! We meander down the steep road over looking the sheer drops down into the valley we become more and more excited!!!

We quickly set up the rods and make our way up the slightly coloured water trying to spot fish where possible and blind fishing any likely spots. After about 4 pools we still hadn't spotted any, admittedly we had cast to some "fishy looking rocks" but nothing definitive yet. We thought that with the heavy floods of recent they may have dropped into the lake but not deterred we fished on. We approached the gorge telling each other that the fish may have moved into the deeper pools where they can hide from the floods so that would be our best bet.

Fighting through the trees and bush we approached a much deeper pool, I took the right side on a steep bank through the trees for spotting purposes and Al the left but no matter how hard we looked we could not see any trout, Al blind fished it a little then we headed to the next deep pool which quite literally was in a gorge, with sheer rock faces either side, Al climbed a little to get to a vantage point to spot some fish, dropping his croc along the way made me chuckle as I watch him stumbling back down the rocks to catch up with it before drifting back down stream. Slightly confused that we hadn't yet seen a fish we did what every optimistic fisherman does in times like these.
"I reckon it will start getting better just around the corner, these fish must have moved to the deeper pools which must be further up"
Al " yes mate, I think I can climb around this pool and I'll tell you what it looks like"

So Al, fishing rod in mouth wearing crocs, which are not designed for climbing and grip is not one of their strong points,  begins to rock climb and shimmy across this rock face above a quite deep pool to see what is around the corner. As he finally approaches the other end he shouts back, "I wouldn't come this way mate, its a bit dodgy."

After looking up into the thick bush on a near vertical slope I think to myself, the things I do for fishing!! And make my way up fighting through the dense bush pulling myself up by the small trees that had managed to perch themselves on the rocks, even wild boar don't use this route and there's me rod in hand attempting to get through.

Soaked with sweat, scratched and tired I met with Al at the top of the gorge decided we couldn't get back down to the river and headed back to the road, still fighting through bush and finally got there at the top of the road we had previously been meandering down in the car.
At that moment a car came past with another fisherman called John. A friendly Ozzie chap who kindly offered us a lift down the bank in his camper van. We discussed where we had fished and where he was heading to discover that this isn't in fact the famous gorge and that it is another 10k down stream!!
So we had just wasted two hours of fishing to which John replied fishing is never time wasted but now you know not to go there again....Very true.

We came to the second ford in the road, much deeper than the previous so I got out to push just in case..... as I am pushing the car through the water I loose my croc...a familiar occurrence this is becoming and hop downstream to catch up with it!

Back in the car following john as he has a map we head further downstream right to the mouth where it meets Wakatipu and went down to a farm to discuss access to the river through the farmland. We discussed fishing with the farmer and found where to go, following a cup of coffee with John and discussing fishing down under John fished the lake in his float tube and we headed to the top of the gorge as although the river is lower than it has been apparently you have to fish it in low summer levels and once you commit yourself to the gorge from the bottom you have to fish all the way up to get out the other end. An adventure for another trip maybe.

Time is ticking and with work getting closer we head to the top of the gorge and fish down, we approach a pool and spot a rainbow feeding. Al gets in behind it and casts a nymph combo to it, three times and nothing, change flies, again nothing so a third time with a copper john with rubber legs which John had given to us earlier and bang!! The trout took with force and darted upstream jumping clean out of the water!!
Fish on!! as it began swimming downstream towards Al he stumbled back reeling trying to keep pressure, it settled at the tail of the pool both of us thinking Al will have to run down to keep up with it should it go down the rapids; but not this time, it swam up again under an overhanging rock and sat there for a minute as fisherman and trout are in a stale mate. These fish really do know what they are doing when hooked and will find any available obstacle to swim around to unhook themselves; finally it came out and with a burst of energy bolted to the top of the pool again where an overhanging tree had fallen into the water...sure enough it made a be line for it a snagged Al's line amongst the 1 fisherman 0!!!

We head further down stream fishing likely spots and managed to spook another fish with the first cast, until we approached another deep pool, we couldn't see any fish but cast our flie nonetheless. I had chosen a tungsten mayfly bomb trailing a blood worm, as I approached the middle of the pool a fish came from the deep and hit the bloodworm with such force it startled me...Game on!!! He didn't have any intention of staying in the pool and swiftly darted towards the tail of the pool and down the rapids, so now I'm chasing it down stream rod held above my head in an attempt to reduce the chance of snags. It settled in the next pool down using the current to fight my 5 weight rod which against these strong rainbows doesn't hold much backbone to control them. After the second attempt at beaching it he came in. A not a massive rainbow but a beautiful fish of around 3 1/2 lb.
Time is up and we hastily head back upstream and home in order to make it back for work, with only around an hour and a half of fishing and a 200k drive it was an expensive and time consuming reccy but well worth it! On the way back coming through the ford we managed to bottom out slightly, with water coming through the doors in the back we luckily kept traction and made it across which resulted in a trip to the garage the following day to get the exhaust welded back together, really terrain for a 4x4 but the green machine has seen us through yet again!!!

Will definitely be returning here to tackle the gorge in low water!!!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Searching for a river that isn't in flood!!!

So last week after heavy rain our usual fishing rivers are in flood yet the guides are still taking guests out.... but where? And when we ask the guests we always seem to get the same answer..."we cant tell you, the guide has sworn us to secrecy!"

Well that's not very helpful to us, so back to the drawing board, looking at the map and the rivers we know are in spate searching for somewhere that hasn't had the same rain and preferably a tributary to one of the larger rivers.

So inland we head, out to Mossburn with a few smaller rivers on route were looking for a new spot, we cross the Aparima and stop on the bridge. Its slightly coloured but at a good height so we watch for a few minutes to see if there are any signs of fish.

As we were looking, a brown trout comes to the surface in the middle of the stained river, swings out to the margin and proceeds to sip a dry fly from the smooth ripple.

Alastair and I look at each other with cheery grins and race to the car to set up our rods!

There were  overhanging willows on the margin which al crawled under to an opening where there were now numerous trout rising to the surface, I was above trying to get a drag free drift down stream under the willow where we could see some active feeding trout. After around 15 minutes, I hadn't moved a fish whereas Al had moved fish but couldn't entice a solid take.

I moved further down stream, fighting through the willows and stumbling over the uneven ground where the river had previously created holes and deposited debris making my life quite difficult. I came to an opening and could see trout still feeding on the surface, I waded in which was actually a lot shallower than I first thought given the coloured water. I saw a fish rise again, so what flies to use? I thought willow grubs would be the likely food but after studying the water and the contents drifting down I picked out a tiny little nymph floating down, then another... So I look in my box of tricks and pull out a size 16 brown parachute adams and trailed a size 18 pheasant tail nymph un-weighted behind.

So armed with a hopeful killer combo I get into place down stream of the feeding trout, I couldn't see the fish so waited with line out floating down stream for a rise.... predictably he came up again so with one false cast I landed the flies about a foot in front of his nose, and watched as his mouth elegantly came up and sipped my PTN from the top.... after waiting that split second, as all fishermen know where your heart seems to stop for a second and you get ready to strike praying you feel contact, and strike I did!

As the line ripped from the water making contact the surprised trout, there was a flash of brown and splash of water as he frantically darted and jumped clean out of his watery world before entering his safe underwater home. After fighting a good fight hearing line screaming from my lamson he was ready to come in, not a monster but a perfectly proportioned beauty he was nonetheless. After carefully releasing him back into the mysterious world he came from I continued to fish.

Another rise and another fish landed, today seemed to be turning out successfully and we were happy to find some fishable water.

By this time I had an audience, Al had come down stream to see how I was doing, he had lost one fish but couldn't seem to connect with any others and there were 3 men on the bridge watching us, a guide and two guests, now we knew we had found the right place, they moved on and we continued upstream!

As I caught up with Al he had a fish on, after he had spotted a brown in the margins who had kindly taken his fly he played it well and landed a beautiful 4lb brownie. So after an hours fishing we had landed three and lost another, at this point we were quite chuffed that we had found a place to fish when the majority of rivers are in flood.

We continued up, I approached the head of a pool which looked fishy, although I couldn't spot any I blind fished it, as I approached the head I almost stumbled on what looked like a 5lb fish, I quickly back tracked quietly and cast to him, landing the flies perfect first time they drifted down past he swung out and took my fly, again with the splash of line ripping from the water he was on!! Although these larger trout are by no means easy to land and he darted into the overhanging willow tree and caught me on a snag!!! The trout escaped and I was left caught on a tree and had to snap the line loosing both of my flies, and the pool had been disturbed so upstream I head! I must admit I have always been lucky in the sense that with salmon fishing I don't tend to loose many fish once hooked, but here they seem to know exactly what they are doing and know how to shake a fly off!!

So upstream I head and Al has another fish on, he had blind fished the head of a pool and connected with another 4lb brownie, this river seems to be full of fish!! He played it well and beached another beauty!!

We took 5 minutes after rolled a cigarette and discussed our tactics and what we would do for the next few pools. The river forked so I went left and Al went right. I had spotted a feeding trout in some fast water and cast practically every fly in my box to it with no avail, it can be so frustrating when you can see him but cant entice him with any of our artificial imitations! I gave up on him, moved up stream before going back down to  see how Al was getting on.

I crossed the river in a relatively fast part and slipped on a rock, I managed to gain my balance but in the process had lost my croc which was now floating down river!! Panicking I made my way across the other side, hopping down the bank trying to catch up with it, whilst hopping taking off my jacket and shirt with cameras in before diving in a long deeper pool  and swimming for my floating shoe!! I caught up with it and made my way back picking items of clothing up on the way. Now I know wading boots would be a more suitable choice of footwear but I kind of like the romance of wet wading with crocs and having to swim after lost footwear from time to time! The sun was out and although the water cold I soon dried out and I caught up with Al.

Now Al had been spending the last 30 minutes stalking a good 6lb trout which was patrolling the margins sipping willow grubs from the surface. He had cast every imitation he had to the fish but he was hard on the naturals and denied anything that looked slightly un-toward. So whilst in desperation Al was trying everything I chuckled to myself and took a video of the wonderful moment when he gracefully sipped the grubs from the surface. Not to be caught today, but we know where he is for next time!!

We had lunch on the bank discussing the day and how chuffed we were even though no-one would tell us where to go we had found where the guides would have gone and a productive day just by exploring with the map. One of the best things about New Zealand is that as long as you can find a river there will be a good head of trout in it!

We fished on into the afternoon getting to the upper reaches, spotting the fish was difficult but we blind fished where looked good and concentrated on the heads of the pools. Nearing the end as time was running out and we had work at 4:30pm I had noticed through some willow trees two fish on the surface, I'm going to have a go I said. Al replied good luck mate I don't think you will be able to get a cast out as there are too many trees around you.
I slowly made my way down, had to climb a small tree to get onto a fallen tree trunk where I could just about get a very short roll cast out. So I'm in place after maybe 7 minutes of getting there and precariously balancing on an overhanging tree trunk I look for the the rising fish....... They have gone Al said.
Sods law I thought and after waiting 10 minutes for them to come back I gave up and climbed back to the bank. Fishing here is by no means easy and you have to sometimes be willing to get your self into some rather difficult places to get a fly to these fish.

With a 3k trek back to the car we headed back down the riverbank. We came across two locals who were fishing and mentioned a 5lb brownie they saw but couldn't catch in the same pool where I had lost one previously. I thought to myself quietly, I know why you couldn't catch him, because he had out smarted me an hour before and is probably sulking a little with a sore lip!!

We get to the car, ecstatic about the successful day we had against the odds and headed back. Although not as secretive as the guides, that evening one of our Swiss guests was asking about where would be good to go on his own and I gave him directions to our newly discovered river and hope he had some success there as well.

Another great day down under, no trophy fish but a few perfectly conditioned brownies were kind enough to give us some sport!!

Definitely going to make a return trip as I have a bone to pick with the one that took me into the snag and Al still has dreams bout the 6lber sipping willow grubs from the surface. Some more imitations are needed first though I think.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

A Day at Milford Sound

One of the must things to do whilst in Fiordland is to visit one of the famed Fiords which make up the west coast of Southland.
There are many Fiords however two are renowned to be the most spectacular and trips are offered to explore these untouched natural wonders. For unknown reasons to me they are named sounds, and we are to spend our day at Milford Sound.
With tickets booked we wake early and embark on a 2 hour drive to Milford, along the way driving through rainforest, mountains and farmland, the scenery here is spectacular, it is around 25 degrees C with the sun shining on the glistening snow capped mountains in the distance and herds of red deer grazing the lush grassland. The route to Milford is one that can be treacherous, the road often being closed due to landslides, on route the only way in or out to Milford is via a half mile tunnel which delves deep through the middle of the mountain, on reaching the light on the other side you are confronted with snow capped mountains which feel within touching distance and a steep meandering road down into the valley and village of Milford.

We arrived with minutes to spare and boarded the nature ferry.
Its difficult to describe Milford Sound with words as the breathtaking scenery can leave one speechless, the vast mountains towering from the deep blue ocean on all sides with vivid green rainforest clinging to the cliff side, dolphins, and seals using the sound as a play area and mesmerising waterfalls seem to be falling from the sky!
As we entered the mouth of the Sound where it meets the Tasmanian sea I caught a glimpse of something in the water in the distance. I mentioned it to Alastair and Christina who said it would probably be dolphins, we made our way to the front of the boat to get a better view. No-one had noticed it yet, we waited to catch another glimpse to see what it was. Again another fin came from the the water, but too big to be a dolphin, whale we thought? But what kind?
Then another, this time 3 jet black dorsal fins! Not sure what whales are black we kept on looking, others had spotted them now and the front of the ferry started filling up and the captain had noticed something as the sound of the engines grew louder we accelerated in that direction. With a good 5 minutes between sights these were definitely whales, but still not sure what kind the bow was full of people asking each other in all languages.
Then all three came out of the water much closer this time and the ferry seemed to gasp, everyone could see clear as day that they were Orcha's!! I must admit they have always been on my bucket list to see in the wild and it seems everyone else's as well. A mother and two calves coming up for air every few minutes. We starred  in awe armed with cameras to try and get the next shot when they came up again, another ferry had heard on the radio and came around us to get a view. The Orcha's seemed to have had enough and started to head on their way.
Back we head back into the majestic sound, past seals rock, got a soaking from one of the falls and into dock. A truly remarkable day and so lucky to see wild killer whales!!

We stopped for a sandwich and coffee at the local cafe, went through our shots on the cameras to see who had the best photography skills and headed home at only 1:00pm we still had lots to see. We decided to stop at lots of little tracks coming off the road to explore a little of the area and with rods in the car may even to a spot of fishing (for a change).

The landscape is beautiful and every river was turquoise blue water broken with splashing whitewater from the rapids. After around four stops we crossed a bridge where to the right there was a beautiful water fall beneath it a vivid blue lagoon, I turned to Al, "we have to swim in there!"

"looks quite cold" was the reply I got, after a little persuasion we were in, jumping from the rocks into this almost blue pool! Great fun, and yes it was cold! We soon realised that the source of the water was actually snow and ice melt from the mountains which gave you that head freeze that you sometimes get from eating ice cream to quickly! After about 30 minutes and lots of passers by laughing at us we decided that it would probably be best to get out before hypothermia sets in and we headed back to the car.

Another half hour driving and we reached the Eglington river, Al had fished here before with some success so we parked, set up and stalked the river. The Eglington runs down the valley covered in beautiful flowers, what look like fox gloves, with a backdrop of snowy mountains really is a special place. The strong north wind which blows straight into your face whilst trying to cast isn't quite as pretty though!!

We approached a pool where we could see some trout feeding in between the gusts which made visibility poor. Al's turn to fish so armed with his G-Loomis 10' 7# which packs a good punch in these windy conditions he ties on two nymphs, a mayfly bomb trailing a smaller PTN. He targeted one fish which seemed to be actively feeding and cast upstream to it, the first cast was slightly to the right which drifted straight past, again I said a little to the left. Second cast bang on! As the indicator and flies drifted down we saw the fish drift out and the indicator disappear with a jerk. He strikes and makes contact, the fish darts upstream before leaping out of the water and heading back down stream.
"A rainbow I said" having seen the flash of silver as it left the water"
"No, the browns here look silver..." was the reply I got.
It continued to fight well but no match for Al and we soon netted it.
A beauty, around 4lb silver looking brown trout from one of the most picturesque places I have ever had the privilege fishing. We fished on for maybe 20 minutes until returning to the car as Christina was patiently waiting for us and headed home.

Great end to a great day!!!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Washed out!

Heavy rain has meant the rivers are up and I would suggest a little unsafe to get into!!!
Starting to get withdrawal symptoms, Better get tying some flies instead!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Weekend of Adventure!!

Having been in Fiordland New Zealand for nearly 4 weeks now, I arranged to meet Charlotte, an old college friend in Queenstown this weekend. Funny how we live only 2 hours from each other in the UK and yet haven't met or spoke for 6 years, but after only a few weeks in NZ get chance to meet up.

So with 2 and a half days off work I took a bus ride to Queenstown. Anyone that has been here will know that it is a buzzing town with activities and adventure to be had everywhere.

We booked into the hotel which considering Charlotte has been living out of a tent and caravan for the past month was a novelty and caught up on the past 6 years. We booked a sky dive for the following day the 2:00pm jump as there may be a slight hangover to contend with and had a great night out in Queenstown with 48 bars and restaurants so plenty of choice.

After checking out, refuelling with some breakfast feeling what could only be described as a little bit fuzzy went for a drive around lake Waikipitu. On finding a suitable place I began setting up my rod to do a little lake fishing however before I had even got set up I noticed a French man and his two sons walking over with two fly rods and tackle which had obviously never been used and perhaps bought that day. Now Fly fishing in New Zealand I would say is not the easiest place to learn to fly fish, although there is an abundance of large trout they are weary and casts need to be accurate with delicate presentation.

He says to me, "do you fish, have you got any tips?" with a thick French accent.
"I do a bit" I said having been a ghillie in Scotland for four years, but by no means an expert especially considering the weary trout here!

Ok so he had just bought the tackle from a shop and had no idea where to start and had two young sons eager to catch fish. I love the enthusiasm of youngsters when fishing and knowing how difficult it can be here thought they are going to need all the help they can get!

So I spent the following 2 hours giving a complete lesson from tackle, knots, flies and casting to a French man and his two sons who were very appreciative and was nice to see their enthusiasm! Needless to say there were certain things lost in translation and with trying to cast straight into the wind conditions weren't ideal but we tried nonetheless. By the end of the session I had three of them casting out with lures, stripping them through the water and casting again, some tangles, flies lost and frustration but still great fun!!
I left them to keep practising with their new tackle and said what ever you do don't give up because it will get easier with time! So with a happy family my good deed was done for the day and the hangover had gone!

We head back to Queenstown for our Skydive which after checking in, find out it had been cancelled due to high winds!? Now it was around 27 degrees we both had sunburn and it didn't feel to windy at all, but safety comes first so we decided to do the bungee swing instead, which set on a ledge at the top of the small mountain with gondolas overlooking Queenstown did seem a perfect location. The guide had said that this jump has the largest back out rate of all the available jumps, simply because you are lowered a meter below the ledge and have to pull the cord to release yourself! Easy I thought to myself, that was until your there and  it all seems so intense!

So I'm hanging 70 meters above the side of this mountain strapped to what can only be described as a rather large elastic band which is attached to a ledge 60 meters in front of me overhanging the mountain side! Palms clammy, adrenalin pumping and waiting to be told to pull this red cord. With a sharp tug I plummeted 50 meters free fall leaving what felt like my stomach and all of my organs above, before getting contact with the bungee which thrusts you swinging out over the mountain side and over the town at G force speed!! Great  fun and over far too quick. After watching Charlotte Jump and getting some pictures from the shop that was the adrenalin fix for the day.

I had heard that Glenorchy was beautiful and worth seeing as being one of the Lord of The Rings filming sites, so we take the map and look for a road which will take us the furthest into the wilderness, me thinking quietly "and there is a river there!"
So we drive along side lake Wakipitu up through the old mining land where what I would call "slag heaps" which we still have in Stoke on Trent from our coal mining days are scattered everywhere, lots of random mounds now covered in grass looked un-natural compared to the surrounding landscape.
As we arrived Glenorchy we could see why it was used in LOTR,driving through forest, smothered in lichen, it had a real magical feel to it and as we entered the end of the road we met with a view of four snow capped peaks surrounding us, totally be-littleing with the river meandering down the valley.

"Perfect" we said to each other.

Now to find a place to pitch the tent, we walked a little way into the woods crossed the river in two places through some more trees until we came to an opening where the peaks felt in touching distance! A patch of soft grass a meter from the river with a gravel bed to the right perfect to light a safe fire. This whole time we both had a massive grin on our faces not believing how beautiful and how lucky we were to be here!

It truly was an amazing place although as ever the sand flies came out in force and after discovering that the repellent was not in our bag, Charlotte headed for the tent, whilst I decided that if I am fishing, still wearing only shorts, crocs and a jacket then they cant bite my legs. So in I went armed with a 9" 5# an army of flies which I tied on the last rainy day and in total awe of the surroundings! One thing I forgot to buy in Queenstown however was some more nylon as I had used the last of my 5lb fluorocarbon on a previous trip, so had to make do with 3lb which given the size of these fish isn't ideal but would have to do on this occasion.
Now the water in NZ is generally fresh however this was ice melt straight from the mountains with a frosty chill which bit deep into my legs lasted for around 5 minutes until the numbness set in.
It was around 8:00pm and with plenty of light I made my way upstream.

The first pool I fished "blind" with 2 nymphs and an indicator fished New Zealand style cast upstream along the side of the run, the usual place to find fish if none are visible. After only 5 minutes the indicator took a sharp dart up stream indicating a bite, I struck!! Making contact and quickly began to retrieve line as the fish swam towards me creating a bow in the line and finally ping!!! The fish came off!!! It didn't feel massive maybe around 3lb but a nice rainbow none the less.

Good start despite being lost the evening looked promising!!
I continued up stream fishing a run and concentrating on the edge of the flow and any back eddies around the heads of the pools. As I continued the evening was drawing in yet it was still mild and I remember thinking that it is perfect conditions for a hatch. I turned a meander in the river and was presented with a beautiful pool, with a deep hole at the top and slow glides running down to some rapids, it looked Perfect!!!

I stalked my way amongst the long grass along side the water which cut my legs in places, but it didn't matter as I could already see two fish actively feeding in the tail of the pool. I sat down and watched to decide which flies to use. Quickly rolling a cigarette of NZ Riverstone tabacco which, as the sand flies were now out in force and biting hard any bare skin they could find would keep them at bay! With the flies getting the better of me and my legs being eaten alive I saw a rainbow come up and sip at the surface!! They are on the dries and this was a substantial fish!!

I crossed the river slowly and quietly just below the feeding trout feeling that relief when the icy cold bite of the river seems to itch every sand fly bite on my feet and legs was surprisingly pleasant! I moved into place inspecting my box and trying to get a glimpse of what they were feeding on. I couldn't see an obvious hatch although there were a few mayflies which seemed to be drifting down. Smaller the better I thought and tied on a size 16 black Parachute Adams. The pool started to come to life! I can now see 3 feeding just below the surface swinging left to right sipping flies from the smooth flow of the river, I targeted the biggest which just so happened to be the closest, as he came up and sipped at the surface I landed the fly about 3 feet in front of his nose, it passed him and I watched him turn and a set of jaws break the slick  water.....Strike!!!!

Game on and this was a big rainbow! He shot up the pool before tuning down stream lept clean out of the water, on landing I saw 4 more fish scatter, from sight I guessed it was around 6lb and the 3lb nylon and 5# rod was going to make this interesting..... He continued down stream swimming side to side, I remember thinking that if he went down the rapids there would be little chance of landing it. We got to a stale mate at the lip of the pool where I gave just enough pressure to try and entice him back up stream but he wasn't going to move. After what felt like an age but in reality around 3 minutes the rainbow decided it no longer liked it in this pool and proceeded down the rapids!! I quickly jumped out of the water and was running down the riverbank rod held as high in the air as I could trying to keep the tension, still running down through brash and undergrowth scratching my now numb, bitten legs and feet. He finally made his way to the side sitting just off the current. Now it was lucky enough that it was still on but trying to beach a 6lb fish on a 5# rod with 3lb line and a 15ft leader without a net is not an easy thing; after about 3 attempts of trying to tail it and about 10 minutes I finally managed to get it in! A stunning rainbow which had taken a real silvery shine and absolutely perfect to eat whilst wild camping!

I hurried back fish in hand with a certain feeling of triumph, the freshest of fish for supper! Before lighting the fire and cooking though I wanted Charlotte to experience a hatch  so took her up to the pool. We arrived and they were still feeding just as heavily, swirls appearing all over the pool, casting to one which turned and swirled but missed it on the strike, then another that came but turned so much excitement! Another made contact and then nothing, it snapped me on taking it. I quickly tied on another fly, cast again where we had more looks and swirls, lost another as it took it was on and then off straight away, then hooked into the 3rd which made good contact and ran upstream before swinging down, a real jumpy fish of around 4lb. I waded over to Charlotte and passed her the rod so she could see what all the fuss was about. Surprised at how strong it was she played it well, then like the other it decided to go down the rapids.
So I had Charlotte running down the bank chasing a fish down the rapids for her first time with a fly rod, letting it go when it pulls and slowly reeling in when you can, after a few good runs she almost had it beached when it went for one final run and snapped the line around a rock!

Enough excitement for one day as the night drew closer and the light faded we headed back to camp in the wilderness under the stars we enjoyed smoked trout and a few cold beers in front of the roaring fire! A perfect end to a great weekend!!