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Tiny creeks and sea run trout - Christopher Bassano

Presented from Issue 105, August 2013
Christopher Bassano fishes over 250 days a year. This interview was recorded just before he headed off to fish for Australia in the World Fly Fishing Championships in Norway 14-17 August 2013.

I live on a small stream and at the start of the season I like to go off on a bit of a discovery mission and fish the headwaters of the creeks and rivers I feel an affinity with.

These small rivers include the St Pats, Meander, Forester, Little Forester and others. The further up you go on these rivers the clearer and lower the levels. They are often less affected by the rain and runoff and you get some good opportunities. Get as close to the source as you can and you will find some good dry fly fishing. Don’t limit yourself to those I have mentioned. Most headwaters will hold trout.

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Australians practise well for World Championships

The weather continues to improve in Poland revealing a rich tapestry of greens everywhere we look This land that has been shredded by invading hordes over centuries has the greatest proportion of land reserved for forest in Europe  Valleys merge into distant faded horizons now all bathed in welcome sunshine. The rivers are turning to bubbly streams with improved clarity gone are the “latte” colors of the sodden days.

Each day as we travel to the venues we are struck by visions of the locals in their roadside garden strips toiling the soil  to prepare for the summer vegetables. The lands are designated to families and ownership dates back to 1700’s when Poland was under Austrian Law. The  families remain the custodians but over the centuries these lands have  been  dived within the family such that each family now tills areas often  the size of croquet greens but with obvious diligence and care to ensure a prolific harvest.  Interestingly in contrast to the Czech republic where communal ownership destroyed boundaries and leveled everything to the ground the land rights and structure were maintained in Communist Poland.
The last 2 days has seen the team fishing in two very different venues with quite challenging and different results. Each day the team cast their flies on Myczkowce Reservoir or on the No Kill section of the San just below the outflow wall of the dam.
The section of Myczkowce Reservoir is from village Andrzejówka to the dam wall and  is upstream of the San beats but down stream of the 2 lake sectors. This practice sector of the lake is generally considered atypical to the other areas reserved for the 2 lake sessions of the competition. It would be an overstatement to say the fishing of the practice water on the reservoir has been prolific. Fish have been raised but our quarry the Brown trout have been mixed with pike and alternate species. We have watched the English Czechs USA struggle to come to grips with the pondage conditions as the water level rises over 6 feet in an hour. Our experience on Eildon Dartmouth and Eucumbene will be important once the comp starts. We have trialled many of the flies familiar to our domestic waters as after all “Brown trout “ are brown trout with subtle variations of behaviour across latitude and longditude!
The other half meanwhile fish with fantastic success a tributary of the San which for the past for 4 decades has been reserved for spawning trout …this area has just opened  and for 2 days the Australian team have been the  first to fish it. About midmorning other teams arrive and it has been an absolute delight to watch and hear stories of our “team” going through a section after it has just been fished by other teams notably English and Czech and still the Aussies pick up fish consistently with refined techniques and flies. Flies very different from home as week seek the “Holy Grayling.” However If I look ahead to next season I am sure we will see Polish championship refinements in flies fished in our home waters.
Jeremy our much taunted and respected guide in his daily summary has a strong piece of advice to all who travel to championships such as these. YOUR CASTING MUST BE FIRST RATE. If you are to catch fish consistently and be competitive a successful angler must have the skill level to lay the flies out at full line length! If you can’t your boat competitor will and therefore have first option at the fish.
Having had the opportunity to observe over 4 years there is no doubt that the  skill level in casting particularly from boats has improved dramatically in all international teams. To remain competitive we must raise the bar domestically and accept the challenge of becoming expert casters. Casters who can piff double tungsten without rocking boat and splashing the water will be champions False casters who cause vibrations push the trout further away from the you the angler will be Ok at home and not achieve success internationally!  (Please read Chris Dawson’s article in casting in Ozfly!
We are grateful for all the good wishes sent to the team and a strong bond of mateship is now well established; only to be severely tested over the evening table soccer where fortunes are won and lost…well not really just bruised pride.
Regards, Peter Dixon, Team Captain - Australian Fly Team.

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