Cale and I started the day discussing whether 32 degrees was too hot to be on the streams? Maybe a day in the surf would be more suitable. Eventually, we decided the 45-minute drive from Lorne was worth a try for a quick flick. So, iced coffees in hand, we snaked our way around the Great Ocean Road to our spot.
We didn’t expect much action with the sun beaming down, and patience as thin as you would expect on such a hot day. The water was very low, but we had also never seen it so clear before. Within the first five casts we spooked a fish bigger than either of us had seen at this spot… we were amazed and slightly disgruntled, but persevered.
I took a moment to drift off and take in the beautiful valley we were surrounded by as Cale kept casting. A few seconds into my indulgent daydreaming, I heard a loud ‘Yep!’. I turned to see a tight line, an excited Cale and a tail flipping out of the water. I grabbed the net and scooped the fish up. A beautiful brown, with bright yellow and red spots. I looked at the stunning trout and thought, my turn!
We moved into a more forested area; much trickier for casting but at least we had some partial shade. Now, I’m relatively new to flyfishing. I’ve spent the last year learning the ropes, casting double nymphs, untangling them – and throwing, waiting and stripping on lakes. But dry fly fishing isn’t something I’d really experienced. So, the following events were completely new, and now I really get what all the fuss is about.
As we turned a bend, Cale put his arm up, signaling to me to move very slowly. Half in shadows and half in the sun, sat a big dark smudge, swaying slowly from side to side. I got my line ready and checked behind me. There was about a two-metre sweet spot between the trees for my back cast. I nervously made my first cast; it was about a forearm’s length off the mark. So, I carefully picked up my line, one back cast, and laid it down. I saw the trout turn its head and swim to the fly. I imagined its mouth opening and chomping down. I lifted the rod, and it was on. The fight was over quite quickly and Cale had the fish in the net. After a few quick photos, we set the brownie on its way.
Cale’s turn… Just up the river we came across our next trout. This was the tightest spot, no room behind, or to the left or the right. But, after half a dozen bow-and-arrow casts and a quick fly change, he was hooked up.
My turn… again.
We came up to a really wide stretch of water. It was perfect. We stopped for a minute and just watched, hoping something would catch our eye. And it did. We watched a small black shadow move around in the centre of the river, in glaring sun, doing circles. We then watched on as another trout came onto the scene… they chased each other and disappeared. Not discouraged, I laid a few casts where the fish had been. On the third or fourth cast Cale told me not to move a muscle, it was coming back. And it did, a grayling around 20cm long. Not long ago I caught a grayling just a bit bigger in a nearby river. They are a beautiful and interesting fish with their gold sheen and delicate features.
We decided at that point, with sunburnt shoulders and two fish each, to call it a day. We walked back to the car and drove a short distance to take a dip in the pristine, crystal blue waters which can only be likened to Hawaii, with perfect rolling waves and turquoise hues.
It was a day we won’t forget and we can only hope we get a few more like it in our fishing lives.