It’s taken a while, but I finally managed to catch up with Christopher Bassano for the first time since I caught that monster brown with him last September. This time it was my turn to play guide. With our good friend Max, in late April we headed to the streams, starting on the King River tailwater on the edge of Victoria’s high country, then heading north.
Just prior to the trip blizzards hit the mountains causing air and water temperatures to plummet and while we were subsequently blessed with soft sunny autumn days, the early taste of winter had left its mark. Insect numbers were much reduced and in the recently iced water, the trout seemed less active than just a week earlier. Still, I had a 24 pounder to repay and Christopher graciously suggested he’d take the balance in increments. Just as well – really big fish were hard to find and even the smaller ones weren’t always cooperative.
But with persistance and regular changes in technique, we slowly accumulated a respectable total. Many of these fish fell to nymphs, although around lunchtime the swallows would begin hunting over the water for the last of summer’s mayfly and caddis, a signal to chance the dry fly. Sure enough, on two afternoons Royal Wulffs and Orange Spinners worked well and late on the third day we guessed that Christopher’s caught-and-released mix of half to 2 pound browns and rainbows would have passed 24 pounds. I was back in credit – if only by the most generous of interpretations!