From the Archives ...

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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Bushy's Bream Techniques

Georges Bay Bream.

It was Friday 9th March, the day before the start of the St Helens Classic game fishing competition, and those of us with fish fever were in the town early preparing for the big day.
I went around to Rocky and Angela Carosi's place to see who had been catching what -and hopefully where, only to find Kaj Busch (or Bushy as he is better known) hanging over Rocky's gate contemplating the view over the bay, "come back to Tassie to chase a few smutting mako's eh Bushy?', I politely enquired referring to last year when we presented him with a 2 kilo fly we fondly called "the emerging muttonbird'.

After a laugh and catch up chat he told me he had some new methods of taking bream and was keen to see if they worked as well in Tasmanian waters as they do on the mainland. He asked if there were any bream in Georges Bay.

There was only one way to find out - con Mike Stevens, who had just pulled up with his boat on behind, to take us out for an hour or two and put Bushy's ideas to the test.
We toured around a lot of the oyster racks both in the bay and in the channel leading to the infamous St. Helens barway, all to no avail.

It wasn't until we investigated the shallow banks on the Akaroa side, where the channel enters the bay proper, that success came to lift our enthusiasm to new heights - a beautifully conditioned bream working the shallow edges, a small ripple as it turned the only tell tale sign that these tenacious fighters did indeed inhabit the area. Now all we had to do was catch it.

We both grabbed for our gear, I had selected a wonderful bibbed imitation of a prawn that was sure to be the fish's demise. Bushy rummaged through Mike's tackle box and selected a small brightly coloured bibbed lure that looked more like it belonged on a Christmas tree than a delicate morsel that bream would die for. He flipped it into the shallows some fifteen metres away and commenced a wind - stop - wind - stop action that saw the lure charge down to the bottom then float back to the top, only to charge back down and then float up again. It was a technique Bushy had been working on for some time. This erratic behaviour was too much for the bream who hit the lure like there was no tomorrow as it was floating back toward the surface.
Five minutes later it came to the net with a totally different view on Christmas decorations - all one and a half kilos of him (or her).

Meanwhile I was quietly raiding Mike's tackle box. He was controlling the boat - moving us around some likely spots with the electric bow mount motor. A fair deal I thought - it was his boat and we did want to fish.

Although fishing for bream on lures isn't new here in Tassie, what was interesting was the methods and equipment Bushy employed and which have brought him huge success elsewhere in Australia when targeting these fish.

Firstly, he prefers to use 10lb, smoke gray, Berkley FireLine, which has no stretch in it. Bushy claims it casts better, and if there is any breeze about the "wind belly" in the line is reduced. This gives greater control over the lure and the added sensitivity of braid allows you to feel every little bump on the lure, whether it be the bottom or a fish, something that is virtually impossible with mono lines.

This method works a treat in areas renowned for snags, allowing you to keep floating the lure up and away from potential snags every time you feel the lure "bump" the bottom
Secondly, he has found that many bream will just follow the lure preferring only to strike as the lure stops and commences floating toward the surface, hence the stop start - stop start retrieve that he employs. He believes these two things have increased his catch rate dramatically.
He also suggests that if you get the opportunity to polaroid some clear water where bream are known to frequent, give it a try both ways and see the difference for yourself, watch them follow the lure and if they don't "take" try stopping your retrieve and see what happens.
The second method of fishing for them that he employed was using a soft plastic bait of all things! This is his favorite method when fishing around oyster racks in particular.
He is very fussy in his requirements. Chartreuse double tails are his favourites, but they need modifying by sitting them in the sun on the window ledge until they have faded to very pale, almost clear colour. Using a reasonable large hook to give it some casting weight, a 4/0 suicide seemed about right, he threads the double tail on as shown in the diagram.

Flip the lure down along the side of oyster racks and retrieve it at a speed that causes the double tail to travel along the surface, tails fluttering on the water creating lots of disturbance. It is the greatest imitation of a panicking prawn trying to escape that I have seen - and it works! A seven foot rod is handy here as it is easier to keep the lure "on top'.

Contrary to the bibbed lure retrieve, where the strike happens as the lure starts to float up, this one is the opposite with the fish following the lure until it stops and begins to sink before hitting it.

We employed both methods in the shallows off the Georges Bay channel and both methods worked, and worked well. We ended up taking some nice fish that day, two of which were in excess of a kilo each and I can't wait to give these methods a whirl closer to home in places like the Derwent River.

Thanks for the tips Bushy, sorry about revealing your secrets, but I did wait until you were gone.
P.S. Bushy will reveal all in an in depth article on bream tips in a comprehensive article in the future.

John Orchard

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