We call them blank days, but are they really? I suppose it’s intended to mean we had no luck, didn’t catch any fish, nothing, zilch, zip, zero. I have had many, but never quite blank …… I say that because any day on a stream, fish or no fish, it is never a blank. If I’m lucky enough and they are obliging to give themselves up, it’s the icing on the cake, if not, I’m seldom disappointed.
Last weekend I was invited to join the Underberg Himeville Trout Fishing Club as the guest speaker at their AGM and annual dinner. I was also allocated a beat on the lower section of the small Umzimkulwana stream, a tributary of the Umzimkulu River, as part of the club’s weekend festivities – I’d had never fished this water before.
The most promising of all the runs, but not a fish in sight.
My first impression – not my usual freestone stream – rather a meadow stream with long slow runs between high grassy banks and just the occasional cascade and riffle. To make matters worse with little or no spring rain the water level was very low, marginal flow, high temperatures and slippery silt laden rocks – never the master at ice skating! But, I tried hard, searching for movement, shadows on the streambed, I stalked and crept at the pace of a snail – nothing. Two hours of it and nothing – if the trout were there, I couldn’t find them, they weren’t answering the door – hiding perhaps, stressed because of conditions, struggling for oxygen and keeping out of sight of anything strange – I gave it best. With one eye on the water, I sat for a while, enjoyed the solitude, the sights and sounds, took in the birdlife, cattle grazing nearby, the baboons in the rock bands above me and did a little photography – all before a wind came out of nowhere and threatened to shift the mountains .
Fishing over I made my way home – I caught no fish, but it wasn’t a blank day.
All images and copy in this post are copyright Peter Brigg Photography © 2015. All rights reserved