I’m in awe of the majestic beast who towed my packraft from pool to pool for several minutes before I was finally able to land her.
I was on a family camping trip and with young kids, fishing windows were short, up before dawn 2 days in a row, and back to the tent by 7 or 8am.
Not a hit the first morning, then I convinced my wife and kids to come out paddling and trolling in the packrafts for an hour or so during the day, hoping to get my son onto something, but still no interest.
The 2nd day I decided I needed to hike further to find less pressured water, so I set off in the cold, well before dawn, hiking, paddling, wading and general boulder scrambling, stopping briefly to cast surface lures along the way. I found some nice water but I still wasn’t confident it had enough depth for natives to hold up during the day so I continued on.
I covered a fair bit of ground and after a long shallow stretch and a more major rapid, experience told me a deeper pool wouldn’t be too far away.
A bit further and there it was, I decided I shouldn’t waste the premium bite period on surface lures, given my limited time and no interest the day before, so I opted for a sub surface offering, Into the raft and after about 5 casts I was thinking how good the water looked and it was only a matter of time, but there was still doubt in the back of my mind.
I saw a big tree right on the edge of the river with some rock at the base and possible undercut bank so I cast at it, 2nd cast having just clicked the reel into gear I got hit on the drop and all hell broke loose, the fish immediately took off across the pool and came to the surface with an enormous boil and tail slap that had me thinking oh F$#% this is the one!
Over the next several minutes I was towed through 3 pools and the narrow channel connecting them, doing my best to cushion the lunges and powerful runs as she pulled line with ease. She was in control, I was just along for the ride!
I was just hoping everything would hold and she wouldn’t find any timber, at one stage the line made a guitar string like sound, but I had her on a short leash and was able to apply some pressure and she swam clear.
I spotted a sandy beach and did my best to slowly paddle towards it one handed whilst maintaining pressure.
Eventually making it to the beach I jumped out and started to get things ready, but she wasn’t quite done, I maintained patience and didn’t rush, it was a massive relief to finally get the lip grips in and I had quick celebration.
Careful handling, a few quick pics and holding in the water as much as possible in between and she swam off strong!
A memorable encounter I won’t be forgetting!