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Thread: when the tale becomes taller than the fish

  1. #1
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    Default when the tale becomes taller than the fish

    My first trip to a very exclusive little brown trout stream with an old mate of mine was with much excitement and expectation. On our way Tony dampened my spirits a bit but strengthened my resolve by saying "Chris, if you get one brown today, you can pat yourself on the back!"

    Trundling along in Tony's kombi, which was spitting and farting up the passes with it's noisy exhaust, he told me some great stories of the huge fish he had caught in the stream and my spirits started to lift again.

    We arrived to a sparkling little gem of a stream. It looked like a crystal necklace to me.....and I started to tremble with anticipation.

    That morning I helped him with a few chores around the cottage and come siesta time, the magical words came, "well off you go Chris, good luck!"
    "Aren't you coming with?" I asked, but Tony insisted again that I go off and enjoy myself. He was going to have a lie down.

    The stream was flowing beautifully, not too strong, just right! It was cool and crystal clear. Green tufts of grass waved and dancing from their rocky pedestals in the current. I was in heaven, a prettier stream you could not hope to find, and.......it had brown trout in it!!

    I fished as carefully as I was used to fishing, short casts, one or two drifts and move on to the next pocket kind of thing. After two hundred metres or so, a fish dashed out from the side of the bank. "Sh*t!!" I vocalised silently. Now I was starting to get a bit concerned, I had been fishing for an hour and hadn't raised or even seen a fish for that matter, and here was possibly my only chance, and I spooked the fish!
    "What am i going to say to Tony?" I thought. " Thank *** he isn't with me!" came my next thought.
    The spooked fish taught me something though, go slower, fish the undercuts more carefully.
    Upto that stage I was trying to sight fish, as I was so accustomed to doing on rainbow streams, picking out the pockets carefully. These browns were a different kettle of fish all together though, sneaky little buggers in fact. They were not showing themselves at all.

    With anxiety still upon me, I carried on, this time presenting my dry as close to the fringes as I could. Apart from following my fly on the surface, I was to all intents and purposes fishing blind.
    Another two hundred metres and another hour had gone by and I was still fishless. "Damn, if only I hadn't seen that fish" I thought, "then I could go back to Tony and announce that there are no fish in the homestead stretch at the moment"

    Negotiating my way over a fallen tree that was straddling the stream, I spooked yet another fish. "Oh for fcuuuuk sake!" I blurted out.
    Now I was seriously starting to get worried! Slowing down a tad more, in crouched position most of the time I proceeded to fish like I had never fished before........really delicate little casts, inching my way upstream. I approached a slight kink that was flanked by a flat rock which overhung the stream. "The perfect lie for a brown", I thought. Taking a few minutes to watch and observe, I became aware that my hands were trembling slightly, I was that tense! "I need to relax" came my next thought. I lit a smoke and took a couple of deep puffs. After a few minutes, still no fish showed itself. I was not convinced though as years of experience on the streams has given me a level of sixth sense about these things......there just had to be a fish under there!

    Inching my way forward into position, I took a moment to study the flow, conscious of the fact that the only thing that could possibly work against me here was drag.
    It was a textbook cast, my tiny para Adams alighting on the surface like thistle-down. The fly was nearing the end of what I determined to be the target zone when up she came, out of apparently nowhere, a beautiful brown of 13". She was not as strong as I thought a fish of that size should be, but I played her gently nevertheless. I have never been as chuffed with myself as I felt at that moment. She was like a rare precious gemstone in my hands and I could not stop admiring her beauty. I released her and bashed my way out of the stream. I was a satisfied and content man and I walked back to the cottage with a song in my heart.

    I told Tony about the sequence of events that unfolded that afternoon and how much I had learned. My excitement as I recounted the story of the fish I had landed was difficult to contain and I am sure I must have sounded like a kid who had just found the largest Easter egg imaginable. Looking at me, he smiled in a knowing way and said "You know Chris, I believe you. I told you, if you get one fish, you can pat yourself on the back. You did well my boy. I once had 'D..............n' here, and like you, I also let him go and fish alone. When he got back he didn't look all that excited at all. Asking him how it went, he said that it was too easy, and decided to call it a day after 25 fish!"

    The next day I went on the stream with Tony. It was magical and scary all at the same time, being with the master, but at the end of the day I felt good. I caught 4 browns, one of which was a 18 incher.....and Tony never shouted at me once, as he has been known to do. I must have done something right!

    Now, to get back to those 25 fish caught by another 'self professed' master, what do you guys think?
    Last edited by Chris Shelton; 20-10-06 at 11:04 AM.

  2. #2
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    As I said when you first told me the story- you're just a jealous bugger!

  3. #3
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    Great article by the way.

  4. #4
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    Great read Chris
    The closer one gets to realizing his destiny, the more that destiny becomes his true reason for being! Paulo Coelho

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Cox View Post
    As I said when you first told me the story- you're just a jealous bugger!
    If I saw it with my own eyes, I would be, believe me! I would probably never fish again though

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Shelton View Post
    If I saw it with my own eyes, I would be, believe me! I would probably never fish again though
    25 browns on a Cape stream? Yip, its do-able, in about 5 good seasons...

  7. #7
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    In conclusion to the above, I was invited back many times. D...........n was never invited again. Perhaps Tony felt I needed the practice!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Shelton View Post
    In conclusion to the above, I was invited back many times. D...........n was never invited again. Perhaps Tony felt I needed the practice!
    Name looks familiar. Any clues ?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShaunF View Post
    Name looks familiar. Any clues ?
    I never mention names....

  10. #10
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    he is certainly very well known though....in fact, almost a household name in flyfishing circles by now

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