The sky was pitch black. The birds fast asleep in their grass coves. The thunder of silence deafening. I had slept like a baby anticipating what the next couple days would hold in store for me. The evening before had been spent in my study replenishing my fly boxes with new flies and cleaning my gear. I had drifted off to sleep listening to Tom Rosenbauer pod-cast on ‘Upstream vs Downstream’ fly presentations.
I lept out of bed like a soldier as my alarm went off at 5:00am. A quick shower later, I was sipping into a delicious cup of ‘Kericho Gold’ tea – in my opinion Kenya’s second finest tea, dusted lightly with Tropical Heat tea masala. Second only to Rukuriri tea – which comes from my mum’s ancestral home. A story for another day.
My phone rang. It was Andy. He was held up on traffic on Ngong road. I poured myself another cup and walked to my balcony. A cigarette in hand I mused over my strategies for the mighty Mathioya. The sky was overcast and gray, Would the Southern be the same?
Andy made it to my pickup location and we were on our way to the Southern camp of the Kenya Fly Fisher’s Club. A bumpy two and a half hours later we strolled into the luscious greens of the club. The air was clean and crisp. It was overcast with a light drizzle. Before I could unpack my sleeping gear, I had rigged on my 5/6WT Stealth rod with a floating line and 9 ft leader with 1m 5x tippet. I tied on a tiny Black Spider on my dropper and Size 12 Brown Hares Ear Nymph on the tail.
I trotted off to Beat 4 just below the main Camp near where a little stream joined the Mathioya. There were lots of small fish rising on the opposite bank. They were taking some food forms off the surface, which was unusual for Mathioya trout. I cast about 10feet slightly upstream and mended my line to allow a natural drift as is possible. The first three drifts didn’t manage to land fish, but I saw the trout rising towards the fly. I knew I was onto something and cast a fourth time.
As I swung my fly round to retrieve back after it had drifted across the feeding fish, I felt it tighten and saw the characteristic bend. I applied slight pressure on the fish to ensure the hook held. I only use barbless hooks so one needs to keep pressure on the fish. My heart raced as I tried to keep calm and land the ‘leviathan’. It gave quite a tug on the line. I ensured I put side pressure on the fish and brought it to my bank slowly. Landing net in my free hand, I swung the fish into it with grace. A smile broke through my face.
She was a dandy, ½ pound rainbow trout. The sun glistened across her side with hints of deep purple speckled across her scales. She had taken the Hares Ear Nymph on the side of the mouth… perfect. The hook slid off with a light pull. I quickly released her and she swam off speedily, no worse for wear.
First catch of the trip and what a fine specimen she was. I lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply. Happy I had caught a fish and grateful to be in such an amazing location.