Until this point I tried to avoid them. I knew they existed because I had seen them. Lurking in the deeper pools while I was looking for bass. Lying in wait, hoping to ambush a passing meal in the shallow faster runs. Spooking from under my feet as I waded creeks and rivers. Startling into brief displays of power and acceleration as they lunged for the nearest cover.
More often than not they cruised the pools casually, at a speed that appeared to be the minimum required to stop them from sinking. I could sense their presence and hated being in the water with them.
I never saw them feed. I wondered what they ate, and assumed from their size that it would be anything and everything. I soon realised they were, in their full grown state, lords of the water. Nothing dared challenge them. Somehow dislike peaked my interest, and led me to this point.
The pool was one of the largest in the creek, perfectly still and calm. Crouching behind Tea Tree, I watched all forms of life cleared from the behemoth’s path. Silently and effortlessly its course along the pool did not waver, cruising over the ledges of sandstone and broken boulders. Twitching as it sank, the fly landed 10ft ahead directly in the path. An instant and violent change of moods ensued. The killer instinct took control as the predator accelerated towards the obviously struggling meal. The prey twitched a couple of last times before the brutal jaws clamped down. I could see the muscles behind the head flex as the jaws crushed, one, two, three times. I lowered my hand and the line came tight. The stillness disappeared, the sky filled with noise as the water turned white. Swimming backwards, tugging inch after inch of line from my hand in a powerful tug-o-war. A sudden change of direction, followed by a determined run into the nearest rocky crevice. I had no choice but to lock up. With the rod bent to the cork the 14b tippet held. Breathe the adrenalin.