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Days gone by

Days gone by

George Jones

George Jones in front of one of his paintings
George Jones in front of one of his paintings. Photo: Nick Drayson.

'Well I remember this particular day. The fish that I spotted just wasn't interested. I'd just moved on to the top of this area where there was a slight bend in the river, an undercut bank, and quite a deep corner. I remember just a half-hearted effort putting the fly out and up rose this giant trout, sucked the fly in; I struck, and nothing. I missed, I mistimed it completely. And I sat down and I said, "Well, what a fool I am". And quite innocently my girlfriend said "Have another try, George." I said, "You don't get a second chance with these". "Oh," she said, "I would, you know". She said, "Did you actually feel anything?" I said "No, it probably sucked it into its mouth." Well I still wasn't keen. I cast once, I cast twice, three or four times and on the last cast, out it come. Well, this time I just let it take the fly and I didn't strike until it was head-down with just its tail at the surface of the water. And of course I only had to tighten once.

'It was a huge trout, about six pound actually, and there were people on the other side and some of them were clapping because there was a fast current here and she was a good fight. After quite a few minutes at one stage I thought I was going to lose it. It was nip and tuck and I wasn't too worried if I did, but it would have been nice just to bring it up close and to see it. Anyway, I got it up close, put the net underneath it and released the hook and let it go back. You know, by the look of it I could tell it was every bit a six-pound brown. Hook jaw, big male, but I always recall that because with a big fish, that just doesn't happen. I had never done that before, and I can never recall doing it since.'

Audio and transcript

audio_w15 Listen to another one of George's fishing tales (MP3 228kb)
Duration: 57 seconds

I was with this girlfriend again who finished up to be my wife, and this is at Bonny Doon. But this is much later in the year, the water is low and there's a little creek running in on this spot and of course there's no grass, there's just the bare earth after the water has receded, and there was a little pool formed about half the size of this room and bugger me if there wasn't a trout in there, feeding, and taking gnats. As the little creek was still running it would come up and go round. Well, everything was gin-clear, and I said to her, 'Get around and don't move a muscle,' I said. 'I've got to pick me time.' It was working again in a circle and when it's turned its back I drop the nymph out. I had to be spot-on, deadly accurate, no second chances. Just drop the nymph out as it turned, as it turned to give it a twitch. I can still see those white lips. The timing had to be perfect.

I can still see its mouth closing on the nymph and just tighten. Very satisfying.