Guido Richard: Memories come alive again in the distance (3)

Guido Richard: In der Ferne werden Erinnerungen wieder lebendig (3)

January 2024, West Coast, New Zealand:

This area can receive up to 6 metres of rain per year, the average for almost 250 days of rain. A fantastic area for fly fishing, but one that can very quickly become completely uncomfortable for the angler. Especially if, after a long day in the pouring rain, you only have your small hiking tent as shelter and can barely manage to keep a fire going thanks to soaking wet wood. Add to that the huge numbers of blood-hungry sand flies and you can imagine that it can quickly become quite uncomfortable. Today, however, I had the absolute exception and was able to catch a few fish on cicada patterns on a beautiful day under blue skies. There is probably nothing better than watching a large trout slowly rise to the surface in crystal clear water, open its mouth and grab your fly. The ensuing fight is incomparable anyway: upstream, downstream, around every stone, under every bank, until you manage to skim the fish off at the first sign of exhaustion. 

By the fire, under a bombastic starry sky - and above all in the dryness - I let the day end in peace.
2022, at home: Ever since the evening when I caught the big mirror a second time with Raph, I couldn't get it out of my head. The plan was now set: I wanted to have the giant on the mat in November.
I deliberately didn't fish the water all year round, as there was too great a risk that it would come across my food again and I could catch it with less weight in the summer or autumn. So I planned to start feeding three weeks before the November new moon and then fish it again at exactly the same phase of the moon. The bait was to be the same, simple fishmeal boilie that Alex unrolls and passes on to me, as this had already produced the last two catches. I wanted to feed around 2.5kg of this every other day. The choice of spot was also similar to the last few times, with a relatively weed-free area where I could comfortably feed the foot of the stone pack with the casting shovel. The only difference I made was that this time the dense weed virtually encircled the area. The idea behind this was that the fish would find shelter and food in the weed as the water got colder.
At the beginning of October, I went fly fishing with Alex for a week in Slovenia and then straight afterwards to the trade fair in Wallau to help out on the Hammer Tackle stand. As already mentioned, I actually wanted to go fishing in November for the new moon. However, it wasn't until the end of the month and there was a big risk that the weather would be too bad and the water too cold. So I set my date for the end of October - but as usual, two nights after the new moon. Luckily, a friend went to feed me while I was in Slovenia to make sure I had enough food rations and I was able to continue the two-day rhythm until the day before the big attack.
I didn't head to the water until the late afternoon. The weather was still very warm for the end of October, so it was a case of straightening rods in a T-shirt. I caught six fish by 2 a.m., including a nice koi and a cool 23kg scaly carp - but the big mirror did not turn up.

I scheduled the next attempt for the full moon at the beginning of November, for which I retained my feeding strategy. In the first week of November, the weather changed: constant, mild southerly winds, low pressure and rain. The evening after the full moon, I stood on the bank again full of hope, but nothing happened until midnight. Only when I let a small mirror fish swim again did the second rod fire. During the fight, I thought it was an average fish, but when it came to the surface for the first time at the stone pack, I saw large, round fish and ... a mirror. A few minutes later in the landing net I was certain: it was him - my plan had worked. About a year had passed and now it was in front of me again, caught not under a new moon but a full moon. And: at 30.5 kg, my dream had come true!

Despite the late hour, my friend Antoine came round to take a photo of the fish and then let it swim again in perfect condition. That night I fell asleep with the feeling that I had thought and done everything right to have luck on my side.
See you soon - tomorrow we're off again for New Zealand trout.

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