Presented from Issue 102, February 2013
Mudeye time is anytime
Dragon fly larva, or Mudeyes, as we all know them, comes in two forms loosely known as the couta and bug (Corduliid) mudeyes. The couta is the larger of the two and many species, in fact close to 300 species, are found all over Australia. They are found in mountain streams, inland lakes, marshes and wetlands, in general. What species dominate your local waters? I guess it is up to you to work out; during summer you will see them flying around.
Presented from Issue 102
We all love the onset of summer, don’t we? Warm weather, cold beer and of course dry fly polaroiding for trout. But it’s not only the highland polaroiding that gets me excited at this time of year, because it is also closing in on hopper time on my favourite local streams.
As you wander the edge of your secret stream hotspot take a look in the long dry grass as you go, if you are kicking out a few of the resident grasshoppers then its time for a change of fly boxes. Tuck away that nymph/dry box and bring out the one loaded with big, fat foam flies. I guess you can also have some other hopper style patterns in there as well if you wish, not every fly has to have some foam in it, does it?.
Presented from Issue 101
It’s warming at last! The weather is becoming more predictable and water temperatures have accordingly risen. Along with this comes the hatches and falls of insects which bring trout to the surface. The sinking lines can be put away for a while and the excitement of top of the water fishing can take its place. Not only does static dry fly come to the fore, but also top of the water loch style techniques particularly on rougher days.
Presented from Issue 101
That time of year has finally arrived. The rivers start to settle after a winter full of cold weather and rains. The water of the highland lakes warms. Combine this with warmer weather patterns and you little beauty it all begins to happen. What am I talking about, well I reckon you have guessed it by now, the mayflies will be starting to hatch.
The famous hatches from the slow, flat lowland rivers of Tasmania’s Northern Midlands area should be well under way and the mayfly waters of the central plateau should follow, if they haven’t already started.
Presented from Issue 99
I have something to confess, I am a tackle junkie. When it comes to fly fishing gear I try and collect whatever I can, whenever I can. Doesn’t make me very popular at times I must admit but I’m afraid that is just the way it is. My current passion is for collecting different styles of chest/vest packs but I do have a soft spot for a nice reel. A fly reel is probably more important to our kit than a pack lets be honest, you can always throw a box of flies in your pocket if needed and go fishing. But if there is no fly reel locked on to the end of your favourite rod its going to be a tough day on the water!. Over the years I have collected and gotten rid of a fair few fly reels. Some brilliant, some pretty ordinary to tell you the truth.
The Australian Fly Fishing Museum is a unique single subject museum housed at the National Trust Estate at Clarendon just south of Evandale Tasmania about 30 minutes south of Launceston and is open from 10am to 4pm Thursday to Sunday.
The museum houses a collection showing the history of Fly Fishing in Australia and has a well curated display of items which not only deal with the evolution and history, but also the art of fly fishing.
Presented from Issue 99
The early trout season is always a special time. High water levels with brown trout foraging for a meal close to the edges giving anglers a keenly awaited opportunity for sight fishing, hunting a moving quarry in the shallows as it pushes a bow wave or sends the tip of its tail through the surface as it picks up a morsel off the bottom.
There have been many developments with fly tying materials in recent years, a fly fishing shop contains more glitter and colour than a mardi gras in the fly tying section, but sometimes basic old fashioned patterns which have stood the test of time are the requirement for successful fishing. Flies that are basic in concept and design, simple but representative of life in basic dull natural colours.
by Joe Riley - Presented from Issue 91
Some time ago, in fact while I was away at the World Championships in Poland, the Editor, Mike Stevens received an email from a reader asking the following. ‘I was only just thinking today that of all the magazine’s I’ve read, I’ve never read an article on how competition anglers differ from us recreational guys. If they have three hours on a given stretch of water or lake, how do they approach it? What skills do they have that we lack? My hunch is they’re much quicker at zeroing in on what the trout are doing, where they’re feeding, what they’re feeding on etc. I suspect I try a certain fly setup or location or depth for too long.
A few years back when surfing the net I happened to come across a fishing report from renowned Tasmanian fishing guide and casting instructor Peter Hayes that mentioned that his clients were using Chernobyl Ant style flies to take a lot of fish on the Great Lake. In fact I believe the words went along the lines of ‘a pair of long nosed pliers were required to be kept in the boat to remove the big foam flies from the trouts throats because they were taking them so hard!’ The report also contained a photo of the flies. From this photograph I was able to knock up a few copies on the vice. A mixture of sheet foam, rubber legs from an occy strap and super glue was used to fashion up a couple of ‘flies’ that looked vaguely like the versions pictured.
The long and short of it
What is a rodmaker who does most of his fishing with a six and a half foot bamboo doing with an eleven foot graphite Tenkara rod? This was a question I was asking myself as I made my first cast with the no-reel, fixed line, telescopic rod on a small, Snowy Mountains stream.
When it comes to catching a fish on a fly, there is one section of the fly fishing system up which is of utmost importance. The balance needs to be right to present the fly, it needs to be fine enough not inhibit the swim of the fly and also not arouse suspicion in the trout, yet it needs to be strong enough to hold the fish once hooked and withstand fraying and ware and tear from the fish, rocks and other external influences. The leader really is the business end of a fly fishing system, and yes, it can be a complex business, yet one does not need to be a science degree to have a few set ups which will cover most fishing situations. The myriad of leader materials, diameters, breaking strains and set ups can be broken down, lakes or rivers some common principle apply and they can be used as a template to success. Traditionally leaders were made of silk and were given an X factor for the diameter of the gut. With the advent of modern materials such as nylon and tapered knotless leaders the X factor now generally refers to the diameter of the tippet of the tapered leader, or the general diameter rating of a particular material. (Although most spools now refer to diameter in decimal points of inches or millimetres). The attached table is a general guides to diameters and breaking strain. It still varies between the thousands of materials available, but works well as a general guide.
Apples and Apples
How often to you hear people make a statement like ‘this 8lb would pull a 4wd out of a bog’ when referring to their favourite leader material. The leader may be packaged as 8lb, but the diameter is really the point to consider. As you can see with both materials, there can be a large variance in diameter for a matching breaking strain. So the 8lb which ‘pulls your 4wd out of a bog’ may not be quite the product you think if it is compared to a truly comparable product of equal diameter.
Straight Leaders LAKE: On a fair day, with a nice gentle breeze at your back, a leader can be as simple as a straight piece of monofilament or fluorocarbon straight to the fly. Presentation and turnover of the fly are all but assured as the wind will aid in this and straighten out the leader for you. One of the basic principles of drift fishing in a boat is that you are always fishing down or down and slightly across the wind. Loch Style leaders are generally designed with straight monofilament or fluorocarbon for this reason. Multiple droppers, up to 6 or even 8 flies on a cast can be tied on a loch style straight leader, although a maximum of 3 flies is permitted in Tasmania. The diameter / breaking strain you select should match the size of your quarry, and the likely wear issues you will face while fishing. A simple leader for Tasmanian boat fishing is 15ft with 2 droppers no longer than 300mm and no shorter than 100mm in length. From the fly line the leader is 3ft (90cm) to the first dropper, then 5ft (1.5m) to the next and 5ft (1.5m) to the point. RIVER: Short line or Czech Nymphing at its basic form only requires a 6ft (1.8m) leader with two flies. Once again a level leader can be used, in the diameter appropriate to your quarry and conditions, and it is simply 4ft (1.2m) to the first fly and 2ft (600mm) to the point. As a short leader is being fished, turn over even with heavy nymphs is easy as they are basically lobbed with an open short cast. A three fly leader can be used for this technique by adding a third fly on a further 600mm from the point, and making a dropper where the point used to be. Droppers for these set ups should be between 100mm & 150mm long.
The tapering leader is where the world can get complicated. The mechanics of a tapered leader relate to an even transfer of power from the fly line through the leader to the fly /flies on the tippet. Of course there are so many variables and external influences in the weather and conditions we fish in that no one size ever fits all. Tapered leaders are used for delicate presentation of flies, for casting into and across wind, for presenting to spooky fish that require a long leader. Of course the level leaders I have already detailed can also have a taper added to them to assist in turn over if conditions are less than ideal, this is done by simply using a thicker butt section to commence the leader. Pascal Cognard, the French triple world champion varies his leaders according to set formulas for windy and still conditions. The digressive leader clearly has a longer, heavier butt section to aid turnover of the fly in windy conditions, while the progressive leader has a longer more even taper throughout ensuring a smooth transfer of energy when there is less resistance from the wind. Fortunately we mere mortals have factory tapered leaders available to us; the point to take is that a factory leader can be easily modified to present a similar progressive or digressive leader depending on the conditions on the day. You do not have to buy different length leaders, just a few spools of varying diameter tippet and a little thought and experimentation will see you right. If conditions are windy, modify the leader with heavier and shorter tippet sections to aid turn over, and if it is calm, finer and more even sections can be added before the tippet section is added. The important thing is to graduate down and not go from a thick butt directly to a fine tippet, a surprisingly common mistake.
Fluorocarbon and Monofilament.
There is an endless argument and everyone has their own opinion about which is best and why they should be used this way or that. I can only put my spin on this argument here and hope it helps in your own decision making. Looking at the first chart it is quickly apparent that for a given diameter copolymers are stronger in breaking strain than fluorocarbons, so at first glance it would seem a no brainer to then use copolymer for most applications. However both copolymer and fluorocarbon have their strengths and weaknesses. Copolymers are supple and strong for their diameter. I choose to use these for dry fly and for light nymphing for smaller trout where small nymphs can be presented delicately. I particularly use fine copolymers for single dry fly on rivers where a very fine tippet can be fished with a small dry fly #16 - #20. Last season I caught a brown trout in excess of 3lb on the South Esk River with 0.12 mm, 3.6lb (1.8kg) copolymer tippet on a #16 Quill Body Spinner. This fish was under willows on the far bank and caused merry hell once hooked, but side strained out from under the willows and then kept out of the weed with a high rod, the tippet was more than ample. For dry fly on lakes with multiple fly rigs, I still use copolymer, however I use a less supple brand as droppers can twist badly with a very fine/supple material when long casting. If fishing a single fly on a lake I will revert to the finer, more supple brand of copolymer. Fluorocarbon really comes into its own lake fishing with lures, and where abrasion resistance is needed. Heavy fluorocarbon .22mm (around 10lb) can be used for lure fishing even on bright days. Using bead head lures counteracts the stiffness of the material will not affect how the lures swim and the diameter does not show up to fish, lighter fluorocarbon is required for smaller wet flies such as nymphs. The general ‘toothiness’ of trout on lakes takes its toll on tippet material and a thicker diameter and general toughness of fluorocarbon which can have its benefits when sub surface fishing on lakes. Occasionally I will use fluorocarbon on rivers where there are larger fish or there are particularly abrasive rocks such as pumice, but generally I prefer copolymer due to its suppleness allowing nymphs to move more naturally and dries to be presented on finer tippets. Fluorocarbon tapered leaders are hellishly expensive and the general consensus is that fluorocarbon and monofilaments do not tie well together. Generally this is rule is right, however if you intend to join a monofilament tapered leader to fluorocarbon, do it with heavier fluorocarbon around .22mm or .25mm. At these diameters a sturdy knot can be tied, which will hold better than a lighter tippet. Whatever you decide to do with leaders and tippet materials, a few simple rules will see you be able to make good leaders which can be fished effectively in many conditions. • Don’t buy materials based on breaking strain alone; compare diameters to make sure you are comparing apples with apples. • Think about whether you want a supple (being fine diameter and soft) or stiff (being relatively strong and abrasion resistant). • Shorten overall leader length and make a ‘steeper’ taper for windy conditions. • Likewise graduate the taper for smoother, better presentations is calm weather. With a bit of thought about what you want to achieve, making a leader to suit the conditions will make bringing that awkward trout undone all the more pleasurable. Likewise keeping a leader simple and easy will also save frustration and time when all you intend to do is fish down the wind. After all it’s only a simple fish you are trying to catch! Pascal COGNARD 5.75m nymphing leader Filament Length in cm Diameter - mm digressive progressive 0.45 75 45 0.40 65 50 0.35 55 55 0.30 45 60 0.25 35 65 0.20 50 50 0.15 50 20 0.08 – 0.12 200 200 Pascal COGNARD 5.75m nymphing leader *Source Czech Nymph and other Related fly fishing methods. X rating Diameter – inches Diameter – Millimetres Breaking strain Fluorocarbon Breaking strain Stroft Copolymer 8X .003 inch .10mm 1.4lb 2.2lb 7X .004 inch .12mm 2.6lb 3.9lb 6X .005 inch .14mm 3.2lb 4.8lb 5X .006 inch .16mm 4.7lb 6.6lb 4X .007 inch .18mm 6.2lb 7.9lb 3X .008 inch .20mm 7.8lb 8.6lb 2X .009 inch .22mm 9.8lb 11.3lb 1X .010 inch .25mm 11.2lb 14.2lb 0X .011 inch .28mm 12.9lb 16.2lb Note – Fluorocarbon in particular can vary enormously for given diameters, so check your own brand against this table. Brand Breaking Strain Diameter Stroft Copolymer 7.9lb 0.18mm Maxima 8lb 0.25mm Airflo Ultra Strong 8lb 0.205mm Scientific Anglers 8.8lb 0.20mm Copolymer / Monofilament Brand Diameter Breaking Strain Fulling Mill 0.255 8lb Riverge Grand Max 0.21 9.5lb Scientific Anglers 0.20mm 8.6lb Sight Free 0.21mm 8lb Fluorocarbons
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