It's that time of year again… 6 a.m in the morning and you're carrying a 20 kilo 12-volt deep cycle battery in below zero temps to a cramped little inflatable boat, so you can drift down a vast river system that visually seems to have little to no life in it, hoping to catch a particular species of fish that appear to exist only in WhatsApp messages and facebook posts.
At around 10 a.m you are already 800 casts in, eight cups of coffee down and not so much as a bump. I mean okes were slaying the smallies in the summer season, the river is looking good, surely the bigger cousin must be around? Then you remember a cold front passing through just the other day… Largies don't dig that sh@t, the barometer was all over the place, must be why nothing's happening right now.
Lunch time you drop your 5kg dumbbell on a drop-off where you've had some success in the past, last season you had three takes and one on for almost 5 seconds, this is definitely the spot. You smash a quick ham and cheese while figuring out your approach. Black Muishond with a slow steady strip on an intermediate line, that should do the trick. You give the area a thorough working but alas the only action was a barble coming up for air right next to the boat, for a moment you thought about slapping your fly on the surface to see if the whiskered salmon would have a go but remembered that you're here on a mission.
Late afternoon you are well over a thousand casts and in the final innings with nothing on the board. You spot a solid piece of timber jammed up against the bank with good depth below it and a steady flow pushing through. Ring ring, Largie residence hello… You think to yourself, I'm gonna bomb this Muishond right into that Largies eyeball, there is no way he can refuse it this time. Half way through the cast your mind starts wandering, will there be dinner when I get home or should I stop in Parys for a mince vetkoek? Hey, solid cast! You quickly check your feet to make sure there is no line under it, just in case a beast wants to tango. In a split second a meter of line shoots right out of your hand and straight upstream. You start grabbing at thin air and eventually manage to gather the line but by that time the show is over. Whack, twenty grand's worth of Shilton and Sage lay flat on the deck of your ark.
Your head in your hands only intensifies the sadness as there is a distinct lack of the smell of fish. On your way back to the car you quickly check facebook to see if you missed out on anything while you were out on the water? You spot a post from your mate, his smile as big as the battery you are now lugging back up the hill as he's gripping a 15lber taken earlier that day on an olive MSP…...