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  • Lucas Young

Improbable Creek

It was the type of place you don’t typically stumble onto of your own accord. It’s rather scant and underwhelming, rather lacking in “curb appeal” at first glance, which is why most people likely never give it a second thought, assuming it warranted even a first thought. Those types of places are the ones where, if you’re lucky, you’re told about in hushed tones and sworn majority of browns in New Zealand won’t consider much less than a picture-perfect presentation, and if you mess that up, you’re don ever to speak about on promise of a gruesome and well-deserved death. It was that type of place: unassuming and overlooked to all but the knowledgeable few, and they’re not talking. Both opinions of the place are well-deserved. 


It’s the type of place where “smallish” but chunky brown trout are happy to eat a reasonably well-presented dry fly, most of the time. The ezo, buddy, time to move on. It’s the type of place where even a poorly presented fly that drags across the pool might get chased down by a hapless fish, not knowing that it’s breaking decorum. That’s how overlooked this place is: the fish haven’t seen any pressure to know better when your terrible cast indicates a fraudulent meal.


It’s the type of place where the riparian vegetation has it out for you at every single turn. Where the banks were open and we could get out of the water - there was watercress choking out all but the main flow in the middle of the channel. Half of the time we had to roll up our sleeves and grope through bankside weeds up to our shoulders to dig the fish out before they snapped us off, never to be seen again. The rest of it was flanked by tussock grass and flax so thick we could barely proceed upstream in spots, let alone step out of the water onto a piece of dry land. It’s the type of place where we pulled fish out of places so thick with sticks and brush that we didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of landing them, yet we managed to finagle them back to the net. In some places we were blind casting over grass taller than us, relying on our partner’s keen eyes for the cue to set the hook as our own sight was blind to the water before us.


It’s the type of place where the fishing shouldn’t have been as good as it was, but it was. It’s the type of place where we shouldn’t have pulled fish out of some of the spots we managed to, but we did. It’s the type of place where the odds were stacked against us in almost every scenario, yet we prevailed. The fun was in the challenge, and the fact that despite the challenges, the fish were easy. It’s for all of these reasons that phenomenal little piece of water will forever be known to us as Improbable Creek. It’s that type of place. 

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