At the head of Cook’s Pool, lies an obscure and seemingly unimportant confluence. That is where the Lafula enters, somewhat languidly and it could be said, unenthusiastically. I mean, it doesn’t gush, or gurgle, or drop cooler water into the main river. At most it seems to ooze in. Perhaps my perception is borne out of the fact that I have never seen that little stream in spate after a big storm. What I can tell you is that after a big storm it would be filthy dirty. I can say that, because in my experience it is dirty after even a mild rain event.
And herein lies the secret.
Following an experience a few summers back, where I managed to coach an 18-inch Brown out of there, that confluence has my attention.
On the occasion of that decent Trout, I had nipped down to the river after a meeting in the valley. I was less than enthusiastic. The river was very full, and the flow stronger than I would have wanted. The weather was hot and sticky, and the bankside growth was rank. The main river was a little murky, but the Lafula was downright unappealing. I had seriously contemplated just driving back home, but then I reasoned that I had come all this way, I had the time, and that it would be foolish not to capitalise on the opportunity, no matter the conditions. The flow was in fact at a level that made me think twice about wading out into the fast water to fish the confluence properly. So I just stood in the long grass, and threw a fly right across the current with a long cast. It was one of those stupid casts. I knew full well that the moment the fly hit the water, it would drag hopelessly across the spot I was targeting: The spot where the dirty water met the cleaner flow. I tied on a small Woolly Bugger, on the basis that a streamer is meant to swing, meaning that my fear of the wading could be neatly concealed with a textbook tactic.
Why do I do that? I mean, it’s not like anyone was watching!
Anyway…I put a long and satisfying cast right up the snout of the Lafula, and then stripped the fly down and out of the little mouth into the main flow. As the fly dragged out of the heavily coloured water, the Trout smoked it!
I remember that I was using a little stream net, made for me by Shaun Futter, and that the fish went in headfirst, leaving its tail protruding somewhat comically as I lifted it from the water.
Last week, the river was at much more manageable levels (It was just before this deluge we have had). But there had been some rain around, and the Lafula was sporting its colour. When I arrived, my companions had already fished the spot at the head of the pool. There was a trampled spot in the grass where each of them had stood in turn to fish. They had fished as one should: drag free drifts down the riffles into the deeper water below. Textbook stuff deserving of a Trout. But I guessed that they might not have lowered themselves to the uncouth, and dragged a fly out of the dirty water into the main stream.
I had on a small nymph, but given that my chances were low on account of me being the third fisherman there in 15 minutes, I didn’t bother to change to the streamer. I merely lengthened line and put a long cast up the Lafula and did what I had done several seasons prior. First cast. Bang! Second cast. Bang!
Doing everything wrong to reach the right place. Lazy fishing. No glory. Two Trout.
A lucky break at the Lafula!