Eureka, it is said was shouted by Archimedes as he ran down the street naked after realizing that his weight was equal to his displacement. A light bulb moment. The moment you solve that math problem. We have all had them and more often than not they are the moments that reinforce our love of something and set us on a long term path. In our careers, our marriages our friendship. And when we don’t have a light bulb moment we trudge on knowing we love what we do but not knowing why.
It is late May, my mentor and friend Rory suggests a last season trip into the Drakensberg to fish the Bushman’s River. I agree – eager to learn, happy to be in the Berg, content to fish and catch nothing. On Rory’s advice I buy flies – RAB, Stimulator and River Trout collection from SciFlies.
The journey’s conversation is all about genetics, fish genetics (endemic Yellowfish populations and the speciation that must have given rise to them), coffee and the importance of varietals and the wild trout populations found in South African rivers. Giants Castle is always a welcome sight. We scout the river late Friday evening, there is snow on the Berg. Six o’clock the next morning we get an introduction to cold. Ice blocks the eyelets, cramps and burns our fingers and noses. I cast and cast, nothing. No sweat, the mountains are pretty and I am where I want to be. Rory fishes a rise with an RAB and lands a respectable Brown. Breakfast and coffee can’t come too soon. Breakfast is accompanied with a Trout dissection and evaluation of current diet – crab, caddis, nymphs – all the usual suspects.10am back to the river, cast 3 riffles, nothing. No sweat, the river is pretty and I am where I want to be. Rory says it’s time to change. He recommends a Dry-Dropper set up Stimulator and GRHE and patiently explains the theory. We cast, leapfrogging each other as we work our way upstream. Curious baboons troupe behind us. I cast a pond just outside the main stream, the Stimulator drifts and bobs then goes down. A delicate strike and the reciprocal tug is distinctive. A simple affair to retrieve a small brown!! The most beautiful fish I have ever seen!! The barbless hook ensures an easy release and the darting fish indicates a healthy return to habitat.
I cast for another 5 minutes here and there and another Brown takes but slips away before landing. No sweat, the fish are pretty and I am where I want to be. Rory moves us further down stream and we end the day with 5 pretty Browns. Five times more than my previous best if measured in fish, a thousand times more if measured in knowledge, understanding and experience. Whereas I was just flogging the water, now there is direction, strategy and appreciation. Eureka!! A light bulb moment, reward. Love restored.
The tech-bits shared:
I was fishing with:
Rod and reel: Stealth 8″6′ 4/5WT holding the line was a Stealth AFS reel.
Line, leader and tippet: Scientific Anglers WF-4WT floating line followed by a 5′ furled silk leader followed by a 4″ section of TroutHunter 6X Fluorocarbon tippet.
Flies: Stimulator (size 12) as dry fly tied via 1″ tippet to a GRHE (size 14) nymph as dropper.