This year the opportunity to fish the rivers in the New England have been very limited, Mother Nature insists on flooding all our major waterways at every opportunity.
Our planned overnight fishing trip would coincide with the worst conditions imaginable. We would be enduring dirty water, low water temps, strong easterly winds and the high probability of rain.
Jason and I both had a mixed variety of flies equipped with heavy weedguards, which was the one thing in our favour. We expected the fishing to be slow, but after countless hours of nothing we agreed they were more likely in the positively “lock jawed” category.
After a long day on what is usually very productive water, Jason at his best, could only manage a couple of gentle nudges. I eventually hooked up to a feisty Murray Cod of 60 cm’s, just as the evening light started to fade. The fish had taken a liking to one of my prototype 6/0 Huntsman flies.
Between the mozzies and the light drizzle we soon retreated to our tents for protection and a good night sleep. We were definitely hoping for better things tomorrow.
Over breakfast we discussed a game plan, the decision was made to move further downstream. The morning sun finally broke through the low clouds, even the dreaded easterly breeze slowly faded.
Encouragingly the fish started to co operate and Jason began to draw interest from several aggressive cod. I opted to upgrade fly size, tying on a weighted 140mm pink/black Dobson fly featuring a huge Arctic fox collar. The fly change soon paid off and I landed a chunky 72cm Cod, this was from under a previously worked snag.
Excitedly, we began to take risks, casting deep under the Bottlebrush limbs. This is why we’ve now chosen to upgrade to 60lb mono for the weedguard. Jason worked the opposite bank, using his signature 4/0 Fatboy fly. At one stage, all I could hear was his load cursing with fish constantly short striking and hooks pulling. I landed another 66cm cod from under the edge of a submerged Bottlebrush, I was now convinced they were starting to hunt on the fringes of the snags.
You can sometimes forget that these rivers also hold big fish, I was soon reminded when a big fish flashed from under the rising fly. Another valuable lesson was learnt that barbless hooks can sometimes cost fish if tension isn’t maintained, note to myself “concentrate”.
By late evening we had released 4 Murray Cod, in very unfavourable weather and river conditions. We had learnt a lot over the weekend, things like fly sink rate, fly presentation and future fly developments. Nick