Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A perfect morning

The weather was still pleasant and calm the morning after my night fish.

I decided to ignore my usual spot and ride up the Wairau looking for new fishing spots and not set up my rod until I saw a fish.

It was windier than I expected in the first spot where I looked for fish. I didn't see any, but the wind ripples weren't helping.

Riding further upstream, I came to a place that looked good. I pulled the bike over and got off for a look between the trees. I saw a trout feeding in the current and made my way down the short bank to the water's edge.

I don't normally use a bubble with my spin setup, but this seemed an ideal situation. There was a nice current coming in close to me with a few natural bubbles on the surface, and my bubble and fly should get taken straight to the feeding fish.

After trying a fly that I'm not sure of the name of, I put on a green beetle. On the third cast, as it was drifting down the current, it disappeared under the water. It took me a second to realise I should do something, but the bubble popped back up again by the time I'd tightened my line. The trout had realised his mistake and spat it out. I'd realised my mistake, too.

I'm used to spin fishing, so forgot to be alert for the bubble indicating a take. When retrieving a lure normally with a spin setup, you probably set the hook half the time without even realising a trout had taken it - the retrieve is already pulling away from the trout.

I turned upstream ready to cast again, and saw a trout just up from me. I aimed my cast above him and get a curious look for my efforts. I change from the bubble/fly setup to a lure I often use, and ended up with that trout and a bigger one following it.

No luck in the end.

Another mission ends up without a trout, but it was a perfect morning - I got to be alone on the river, ride my motorbike, find a new fishing spot, see some trout; and got taught a lesson the hard way. Next time I use a bubble, I'll be watching for that bubble to disappear...

Monday, 17 February 2014

Another Fish at Night

I first heard cicadas from my house just before the official start of summer - 23rd November, then again the next day up the river. They've been a bit scarce ever since, though, until the last couple of weeks. Now they're loud whenever you're near trees in Marlborough. Cicadas are great, but there's something about the call of a cricket...

Last night I went out for a night fish just before sunset - I've been meaning to since making my 2014 plans at the start of the year, but I didn't even get out for a fish at all in January, which is shameful (definitely not helping with the 'Fish More' plan).

The cicadas were just starting to quieten down and the crickets were taking over as I arrived at the water's edge. The sun was slipping behind the hill. My first stop was a part where the road runs right beside the river - it's hard not to stop here for a look. I had a few casts, but as I was setting up, a couple of guys arrived downstream on the other side of the river and threw stones into the river and tried to coax their dogs in. Possibly not interfering with the fishing, but they were interfering with the solitude.

Packing up and continuing to my usual spot further upstream, I decided to have a cup of tea from my thermos while waiting for it to get darker. The moon was about to rise, and I felt that might help.

It was quiet. The water chattering past; birds sending out their last calls. The birds must have still been active in the vineyards to the south, as I heard a few booms from the bird-scarers.

After wandering downstream beside the Wairau to explore an area I haven't bothered with for a while (high overgrown bank), I walked upstream next to my usual stillwater creekfed patch that gets some fish and food traffic from the Wairau.

The water was quieter, but you could hear the low rumble from the Wairau's riffles a few stone's-throws away.

Standing on the edge, I heard the unmistakable plop of a feeding fish below me. I walked a few metres downstream and heard a loud splash from a trout. Time to fish.

It was dark, but still light enough to get around without my light due to the full moon (98% full and waning, apparently). After a few casts I heard another big splash - on the other side of the stream this time.

Nothing took my lure, though.

I wandered back down to where I've previously caught trout at night. I killed some more time by taking some long exposure photos, then tried casting there. I had been hesitant to start fishing in that spot until dark, as it felt like playing my trump card too early. No luck, anyway.

I had a few more casts in the area, then called it a night.