Quenton HiggsIt doesn't happen a lot, but occasionally I encounter someone on the track and you get the remark "gee, you're carrying a big heavy pack there". I guess this can be interpreted as one of two things:
The end of April has traditionally brought about the conclusion of the trout fishing season for three months. More recently, things have changed and a few waters remain open year round. Amongst fly fishermen however, there is a perception that mid to late March coincides with the last of the "worth while" fishing. In reality, I believe the back end of any season can produce memorable fishing and after one as productive as this, those willing to brave the impending cold are likely to be well rewarded.
Can I please make it seven ed.?
World Fly Fishing Championship angler Joe Riley takes a look at limiting his fly box to just six flies. Beginning and experienced anglers alike will find this a very useful study.
Steve Hambleton and I have been fly-fishing mako and blue whaler sharks for the last eight years. In those early years we lost quite a few sharks while attempting to make an Australian salt-water fly-fishing record on 10 kg line class.
As you read this issue of Fishing and Boating News the mayflies of our Tasmanian waters are already listed in the specials on the menu board for our brown and rainbow trout. On clam afternoons the lowland rivers and lakes are already abuzz with red and black spinners, and the mayfly duns float adrift as the intermediate stage of this amazing insect makes its journey from nymph to spinner.
Muz Wilson is perhaps Australia's best know fly tier and more importantly he is one of the most innovative fly designers on the planet.
Recently while Muz was visiting Tasmania and participating at a fly fishing workshop at our Cressy facility Mike Stevens was able to identify the importance of this man and his contribution to fly fishing. Mike has asked me to pen a few words about this remarkable individual.
It's amazing how close to home good dry fly fishing can be found. As summer comes along the lowland rivers start to offer some exhilarating, and often challenging dry fly fishing. From trout cruising the slow moving glides or pools sipping minuscule offerings out of the surface film, to excited brown trout freely leaping from the water to catch mayfly and damselfly on the wing. These fish are catchable. With a little patience, intelligent fly choice, a good leader setup and accurate casting they can be brought undone, and once two or three of these fish come to the net you can really feel a sense of satisfaction about achieving a challenging task.
Anyone who has picked up an English fly fishing magazine will have read about the virtues of the Booby. This bizarre looking fly has been around the lake fly fishing scene in England for close on twenty years. In this time it has become one of the "must have" patterns in fly boxes for everyone from rank beginners to the top competition anglers. The Booby is a fly that can be fished on every line from a super fast sinker to a floating line, it can be used for very specific purposes as a sacrificial fly, but will catch plenty of brown and rainbow trout in its own right.
You would think that a fly with such abilities would be well recognised here in Tassie, however if you asked ten fly fisherman about the Booby, I reckon about 8 or 9 of them would be thinking lingerie not fishing.
"Give the fish a chance, put the fly on, or in the water"
Fly fishing, by definition, must involve a genuine attempt to capture fish. Armed with a balanced outfit and adequate casting skills the final element, fishing the water, is still not without it's challenges. This is particularly so for our ever increasing, urban based, aspiring fly fishers who, more than others need this type of outdoor activity, but have little experience to draw on to understand the aquatic and marine environment of the fishes. It is most likely unfamiliar and the mirror like surface of the water, denies vision of the fish habitat and behaviour below.
The Hedged Bet
Fishing two flies is often referred to as hedging your bets - typically the leader will consist of a buoyant dry fly such as Royal Wulff tied on the end of the tippet, and tied between 30 and 60 centimeters off its hook bend will be a nymph such as a Pheasant Tail nymph. If the fish are feeding off the of surface, then the fish may take the dry, however, if the fish is feeding below the surface, such as trout feeding on nymphs, the fish will probably take the nymph trailing below the Wulff, hence the reference to a hedged bet.
"Why do we buy the rod first and flies last?"
As a fly fishing instructor and trout guide I have had the benefit of teaching and guiding a considerable number of fly fishers. This exposes me to a significant range of fly fishing equipment, all manner of casting techniques and the ever-changing challenges of weather and water. We must get the best out of these circumstances and can only do so by focusing on the critical elements of fly fishing
I was recently asked to do an eight weight Fly Rod review and a recent trip to Weipa provided the ideal testing ground. Eight weights are perhaps the most common salt water weight used in this country and certainly in my experience in the Kimberly, the Northern Territory and now in Weipa I would suggest it is the single most appropriate rod weight for the job. If you are going to buy just one rod for salt water work - make it an eight weight.
Mark Simpson with a nice Australian salmon taken from the Cremorne Channel. This is an easily accessed southern Tasmanian water that can be very productive. Mark explains his methods.
Andrew Pender looks at what is one of the most easily found fly tying materials - possum fur.
Brush tail possum fur certainly seems to have come into vogue as a fly material over the past few years. I had heard about the potential of possum fur plenty of times, but always dismissed it as just the same as any other fur. That was until a friend gave me some to try out.
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