After who knows how many thousands of kilometres of fishing trips (many with me in the passenger seat) Max’s trusty Range Rover was retired last week. From cruising country freeways, to crawling up and down goat tracks in the Snowy Mountains and Victorian Alps, she never missed a beat – not in my company anyway.
So this latest trip was Max-mobile MKII’s first, and she had a lot to live up to. First stop was the Buffalo River, which was flowing clear and with just enough current to push a moving bubble-line through the largest pools. The afternoon was warm and humid, however at this point of the season the shadows grow long early and the river was a cool 17C. I haven’t fished the Buffalo this year so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. However, three fat little rainbows from the first pool suggested it was in as good a shape as most north-east streams in 2016/17.
A couple of hours later, I’d added several more trout, almost 50/50 on the Royal Wulff and the Hares Ear Nymph dropper, including a couple of nice ones. Max had similar success, so we concluded that the new wheels seemed likely to carry on the tradition of great trips. True, there was one very big brown that refused Max’s Stimulator at the last moment, but we agreed you couldn’t really blame that on a car!
The next day, the Ovens between Bright and Harrietville was a delight. Once again, flows were good but not excessive, the water clear and the fish reasonably cooperative if you fished to cover and got the drift right. Given the continuation of humid, ‘buggy’ conditions, it was surprising that the dry was mostly ignored (we tried several patterns) in favour of small, dark nymphs. However, it was the Royal Wulff that fooled what turned out to be the best fish of the trip (a cracking rainbow) thereby proving its value as something more than just an indicator.
Today felt more autumnal after a stormy change last night and we headed to the Kiewa. Yet again, water conditions were just about perfect, with perhaps a tinge of colour from the storms. There were plenty of fish around, though the fishing was demanding. Sippers in the flat pools provided exacting, absorbing fishing. Max eventually fooled one of nearly 2lb on an Orange Spinner. I managed to nymph up a couple in the fast water, but it’s the sipper fishing I always enjoy most on this river in autumn.
Between trout, we managed a few sessions on the cod. Mostly, these resulted in hits and misses (unusually), but then on the way home today, I watched a nice one swim out of a sunlit Ovens River snag, hesitate behind my fly swinging in the current, then eat it on the twitch. Magic!
Max’s latest car is off to a good start.