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Sea run trout tactics – Craig Vertigan

Sea run trout tactics – Craig Vertigan

During the trout off-season I tend to spend a bit of time chasing bream, to continue getting a fishing fix, and spend time tying flies and dreaming about the trout season to come. It’s a time to spend doing tackle maintenance, stocking up on lures and dreaming up new challenges and goals for the trout season ahead. When the new season comes around I usually spend the first few months targeting sea runners. Sea run trout are simply brown trout that spend much of there lives out to sea and come in to the estuaries for spawning and to feed on whitebait and the other small endemic fishes that spawn in late winter through spring. Mixed in with the silvery sea runners you can also expect to catch resident fish that have the typical dark colours of a normal brown trout as well as atlantic salmon in some of our estuaries that are located near salmon farm pens. Living in Hobart it is quick and easy to do a trip on the Huon or Derwent and is a more comfortable proposition compared to a trip up to the highlands with snow and freezing winds to contend with.

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Easy Day On The water

Jim Schofield, Steven Hambleton and I had made an early start to the day with a dawn run on the wind lane feeders on Great Lake. As the morning progressed and the midge feeders disappeared we moved onto some boat polaroiding. There was a northeasterly wind blowing as we punched our way into chop from Swan Bay towards the southern side of Howells Neck Island. The water level of Great Lake had dropped so much that Howells Neck Island was no longer an island and was more like an extension of Elizabeth Bay. As we moved into the shallows, fish were spotted almost immediately. Big buggy Chernobyl Ants, Red Tags and stick caddis all took fish. Further along the shore the wind was blowing into the shoreline stirring up the water along its edge. A closer look saw fish appear and then disappear in amongst this band of discoloured water. The fish were also patrolling the clearer less turbulent water. A single hookup quickly turned into a double hook up, then a triple hookup as all three of us made the most of a steady run of fish as the boat continued to drift down this productive shore. Fish numbers started to drop off, as the features of the lake started to change. In an attempt to seek out similar water we crossed over to the western side of the lake into Canal Bay. With the wind and sun at our back we drifted in and along the southern shore. Conditions were perfect, with blue skies and a light wind to conceal our presence, we had fish swimming right up to within a couple of metres of the boat before they would spook. It was just one of those days when everything came together. We stayed for the evening rise in Swan Bay as usual, before finally calling it a day. We had fished from dawn to dusk and had done it all from the comfort of Jim’s mobile viewing platform. Far too civilized for me, now where are those walking boots!

Craig Rist

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