Smutting Mako's

Recently on a game fishing trip to St. Helens some friends and I had the opportunity to meet Kaj Buschor "Bushy" as he is better known amongst the fishing fraternity - you know? the guy with the big moustache and sun hat. He's normally found sitting down the back of the boat - refusing to kiss fish each week on the Rex Hunt Fishing Show.


Bushy was in Tasmania for a few days attempting to take a Mako shark on a fly rod of all things and maybe even set a world record whilst he was at it. Now the guys I have the pleasure of fishing with are characters to say the least. A plan was hatched amongst them, in my absence the evening before the big meeting, to ensure, whether the sharks were biting or not, - "Bushy" would remember his trip to Tasmania.

Sharks, once attracted to the boat using a "berley trail" can quite easily be enticed into taking large, brightly coloured wet flies. Hooking them is one thing, but landing them is a whole different ball game.

One of these characters I fish with is a chap by the name of George Beis. George hails from the town of Sorell in the south of the State and is a craftsman of a fly tier to say the least. With the aid of many suggestions from the rest of the party he set about concocting a fly so deadly that it was bound to attract interest from not only sharks, but; anything and anyone that set eyes upon it. Such is his prowess at the vice with fur and feather we felt that he had certainly succeeded.

At the appointed time the following morning we all met at the Binalong Bay boat ramp where introductions were made and the conversation was soon turned to the job at hand, catching a Mako Shark on fly. Bushy had, in fact, been out the day before with friends where they had hooked four fish, unfortunately breaking them all off.

This particular day we were not destined to even wet a line as the weather conditions had deteriorated. The next best thing was to tax Bushy's knowledge on the subject and to inquire as to what fly he had used the previous day.

Fishermen love to talk shop and he was only too keen to break out the fly box and give us a peak at his favourite Mako fly - a bright and colourful thing tied on about a size 3/0 stainless steel hook. After a short silence and with the straightest of faces the comment was made "But - that's a WET fly!!!" With a perplexed look upon his face he confirmed to we obviously simple folk that yes! it was indeed a wet fly - that's what you use when you fly fish for sharks.

Down here we take them on "DRIES" I innocently replied. "DRIES!" exclaimed Bushy incredulously as he struggled not to laugh at this preposterous statement. 'sure" I replied "haven't you ever fished for smutting Mako's before?" By this time I don't think he was able to figure out whether these Tasmanians were fair dinkum or whether they were trying to stretch one of his legs further than the other. "Don't suppose you happen to have one of these flies with you by any chance?" he inquired politely. "Certainly" I replied and went to fetch George's creation from the car.

Upon my return I whisked his masterpiece out from behind my back and presented it proudly to Bushy with a flourish. The next few moments were a worry to say the least - we weren't sure whether he was having some sort of seizure, a heart attack or simply choking to death. Anyway he eventually overcame his sudden ailment and I assume he was impressed with George's fly tying ability as he insisted on having his photo taken proudly holding onto it.

To give you some insight into my friends creative ability, this "dry fly" was concocted from an extremely large and rusty gaff hook, to which was secured one brown feather duster (for the tail), one medium sized white marker buoy in the middle (for the body), three full capes of feathers (because George likes wasting my fly tying materials), the top half of a plastic Coke bottle (George reckons things go better with Coke), and, half a can of red and half a can of yellow paint (because he thinks he is an artist). "What do you call it?" he politely inquired, "An emerging mutton bird" I stoically replied, which seemed to have the effect of bringing on a repeat attack of his previous ailment.

Weighing somewhere in the vicinity of one and a half pounds we smugly asked him to demonstrate his casting abilities and handed him the fly. Now you have to admire the man, not only did he cast it, he cast it a good twenty metres into the gulch - and then, repeated the process again to prove it wasn't a fluke. I'm sure he is looking forward to calmer weather conditions in the future so that he may return to Tasmania and come fishing with us for Smutting Mako's.

John Orchard

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