Dr Hamish Wilson
In the last couple of decades, I have watched many fishermen carefully release their trout back into the river. Then they often let out a great sigh as they sit back on their haunches and breathe out for the first time in several minutes. This particular sigh sounds like ‘Phow’, an exclamation that seems to combine ‘Phew’ (a feeling of relief) and ‘Wow’ (an amazing success).
It is only in the last 20 years or so however, that I have learned how to catch and then release each trout. It was always winter when Dad took our family to the Waitahanui River near Taupo, and the trout were all rainbows. We used a sinking line to cast across and down the river, swinging a fly in front of the trout as they made their way upstream to spawn. We used a Red Setter fly exclusively, a large fluffy fly which probably imitates trout roe – or perhaps those fish just snapped at anything that moved. Once we had figured out the ‘lie’ in each pool where fish rested, we usually caught a few, and kept them to eat. My mother would bake the trout in the oven, or we smoked them to enjoy later. [Read more…] about The ‘Phow’ moment: In praise of catch and release