Team Tuesday - Getting the Monkey Off the Back

The last couple of months have put a lot of things into perspective for a great many people. Whether it’s discovering new things in your own backyard, having the time to learn something new or even just appreciating the things we sometimes take for granted, silver linings have been everywhere if you look hard enough.

For Megan and myself, a connection with nature and all her wonders is vital to keeping a level mental state. We were both fortunate enough to be in a position to leave Auckland once the Level 3 restrictions came to an end, so we loaded up the van and headed for the Central Plateau for a weekend of fishing, hiking and relaxing.

Megan is a born and bred ski girl form the Northwestern US, and has recently started fly fishing as another means of connecting with nature when there’s not all that much snow around. She’s quickly getting pretty good at it too – as a qualified ski instructor she has an ability to break down a skill and simplify the learning process in a way that makes sense to her. After some initial frustrations, she’s now able to cast somewhat effortlessly, meaning she can now put more focus on the fishing part of the equation.

After hooking and losing some feisty rainbows in the 4lb plus range on a deep nymph and indicator rig, Megan noticed a couple of fish start to rise in small shallow riffle of the edge of the main current. Without any discussion, Megan removed her heavy nymphs and indicator and tied on a far more subtle dry dropper rig. A short while later she had landed her first New Zealand trout, with a second following soon after. I had to remove the hook, as Megan’s hands were shaking so much from excitement that she was struggling to do it herself! She had cracked the code, and had done it completely on her own. There is much in fly fishing that cannot be taught, but rather needs to be felt or experienced. With this comes understanding, which is the key to learning to any new skill.

Sharing a beer with Megan on the way back to the car that day, I was overcome with a sense of calm, a sense that this is how things are meant to be. Spending time in beautiful places with the people you love is nothing new to humanity, we just sometimes need wake up calls and reality checks to remind us of the things that are truly important in life.

Now I’m going to have to learn how to ski…