Fishing really is an amazing way to pass the time. In fact for many, especially myself it truly is a passion that has crossed the border of obsession. Now many anglers probably take for granted the knowledge of local waters, the appetite's of fish and various hotspots and go to places where you just know there is a chance of that magic fish. But just imagine for a moment what it would be like to travel to the other side of the world, fish for something different, in unknown waters, with no guides, but also do it in a way where you are somewhat of a novice.
Let me explain a bit more. I have fished for as long as I can remember, but grew up as a competitive coarse angler in South Africa. Yeah I fly fished, but maybe only about 10-15% of the time, and really I'm not that good at it, but I have enjoyed some nice success at the fish that have been kind enough to oblige.
Now I live in Saskatchewan, Canada, home of large pike, walleye, trout and various other species. Yeah I have caught trout, but not in a place like this before and I am truly excited to explore this beautiful province. And I have chosen to really develop my fly fishing abilities and take my fly fishing to the next level.
In order to do this I began tying at the beginning of the year and practice and tied endlessly over the winter months, I have attended classes and put in a ton of time. I have commandeered a dugout at my in-laws farm and have stocked it with trout where I now have an awesome place to practice casting with a chance to actually catch fish, and I am the only one who fishes it! I have recently acquired a 7ft pontoon boat, and I am waiting for my flippers to arrive so I can test it out properly. As luck would have it another boat fell into my lap providing me with a 12ft aluminum tub with a 7.5HP motor for some slightly larger waters. So feeling all kitted out in a remarkably lucky and bargain-bin-but-sweet-deal kinda way I was eagerly awaiting the opening of the season here.
I am a compulsive researcher and do a lot of homework in any endeavour, but the truth is, sometimes, especially in this sport of ours, nothing replaces that practical experience that is gained slapping our lines on the water. And about 4 or 5 fishless sessions in doubt creeps in somewhere. Are my flies good enough? Am I reading the water right? all the thoughts and questions and planning just oozes out as eaching passing hour yields little more than a few frustrating leader tangles.
It feels like a drought, but more than that, I am still waiting for my first fish on fly in North America. Just the first one, get it on the line, feel it tighten see the flash as it darts through the water. Restore the confidence. And still nothing. So as it got dark on Friday night and yet another tangle in the leader convinced me to call it a night I decided to come back early Saturday morning to have another crack at it, cos giving up is not an option.
So with a fresh mug of coffee I hit the water nice and early, and an hour into my session on my private dugout I spotted a bunch of the little guys ferociously attacking the surface about 35ft out. Then I spotted some little bright green bug darting around just under the surface, put 2 and 2 together, modified one of the 1st flies that I had tied and sent it to the fish. On the second cast I put it down rjust past the fish and one came up and was attacking the end of my fly line. So several quick strips brought the fly right over his nose and there it was. The line tight, the flash and fish number 1.
The smile ran deep. A broken deadlock, the sense of vindication, my first fish on fly, my first trout from my first stocked dugout, all lead me to realise that this is what fishing is about. All the effort that went into getting the little guy on the line is why we do it. It was no trophy, but was never gonna be, cos the recently stocked fish are maybe 6inches max, but it's a start. The first of many fish to be caught by my hand, here in Saskatchewan, my home.