My son Ash and I set off for a day on a local Monaro stream. A big storm the night before had us thinking of flooded pools, muddy flows and fast runs. But as always, you never know until you get there – we were greeted by bright sun and reasonably clear water!
With those conditions, we quickly decided on a stalking and polaroiding approach. Almost straight away, we both glimpsed an impressive fish nosing a steep bank and patrolling an undercut. Ash was in position and I stayed high for spotting. The fish started to move towards him and on my call he bow-and-arrowed an unweighted Pheasant Tail Nymph into its path. The trout rushed the fly and bang, Ash was on! A series of acrobatic leaps saw the fish self release, but we were confident of finding more.
For a while it seemed the fishing gods had other ideas as the cloud rolled in and began to hamper our vision. We pushed on anyway to a deep run, where I changed to a tungsten bead-head Woolly Bugger. I dead drifted it down the current, the leader shot sideways and it was my chance. Once again however, the fight was short and hectic, with a cunning brown of around 5lb soon throwing the hook and disappearing into the depths. Bugger!
Now the weather really started to turn nasty, with rolling thunder over the Snowy Mountains to the west. Time and good conditions were running out, and we were looking at our first donut for the season. Then, a couple of pools later Ash made a final change to a mudeye and damsel nymph in tandem. Almost immediately he connected to a heavy fish that wasn’t coming to the top. These big browns fight like Mike Tyson: big hits, big thumps, big excitement – and we need a bigger net! Then at last, after a good 10 to 15 minutes of a toe to toe slugfest, we had a beauty on the bank. A great effort by Ash and just reward for persistence and confidence. We quickly admired this beast of a trout which we estimated at 7lb, then watched it swim off to regain its pride and position in the river. Well done son!