Mike Fry doesn’t only live on the Wild Side of Tasmania, but also goes fishing in probably the wildest boat ever to troll for trout—certainly in Tasmania.
When your mate says ‘What are you doing tomorrow, want to come up the Gordon for the night?’ it would be pretty hard to say anything else except “you bet” and start checking out your tackle box and packing your overnight bag. But if your mate was Troy Grining and he wanted to give his new 52ft, high speed cruiser a run across Macquarie Harbour, test the new onboard dory with a chance of landing a nice Gordon River Brown you would have to feel privileged. I didn’t say anything about getting on my hands and knees and kissing his feet…just having a lend of ya’ but I did feel very appreciative.
Another cool dull overcast day had me scratching my head to where I would go for a spin session and with rain forecast I decided to fish a small tannin stream on private property around 15 kilometres from home. No sooner had I left home there was some light drizzle but no sooner had I arrived it was gone but there was still more to come from what I could see. After a brisk fifteen minutes walk I was in the stream and ready for action, well that was what I was hoping for. The first twenty meters or so were a little quiet with just the one follow from a small brown, a good sign to see a trout here for starters.
My first couple of days (3rd & 5th August) of the 2019/20 trout season started like this... With the 2019/20 Trout Season well under way I have had a couple of trips to check out a few waters around the place. I haven't really got myself fired up enough to put a lot of time into chasing the trout yet due to the very low water temps in the rivers & streams due to snow melt. I reckon it's just an age thing, being 73 years of age I don't feel the need to push myself too early in the season, besides it's too damn cold anyway. So what I've done over the past couple of days is just hop in a river & stream (that weren't running too high) here and there for twenty to forty minutes and test out my new Okuma Celilo 6'6'' & 6' ULS 1-3kg trout rods, Okuma Helios SX 20 reels and give the Platypus lines & Mepps fluo lures a short workout for when I do get serious. I'll tell you now, the Okuma gear I used is the perfect trout set up, beautifully balanced & light weight which is perfect for trout fishing, the Helios SX20 reel runs nice & smooth and is a pleasure to use. The water temp in the rivers I've had a practice sessions in has been in the 2 - 3 degree range and I can tell you now, it was bloody freezing, hence the short time I spent in them.. I did manage a couple of hook ups on a Mepps #0 Aglia fluo tiger spinner in a small creek but lost both fish. After the three month lay off each trip helps me to hone up my casting skills and gets me a little fitter after my hibernation period. I'll start to get into it over the coming weeks once the days slowly get warmer and hopefully the snow will have eased off. Last season I only had four trips to the rivers in August with just 15 trout caught & released, then in September I had five trips for 21 trout caught & released. Hopefully it won't be all that long before I have my first trout of the 2019/20 trout season in the net.
The morning was a low three degrees as I was heading to the upper reaches of the Mersey River, then I had a change of mind and decided to head to the small tannin stream I fished several days go. On my arrival I found the water level was the same as the last trip (a little on the low side) so I thought I would be in for another tough time fishing here. This trip I thought I'd start the session using a copper blade #00 Mepps Aglia Mouche Noire to see how it would go on the trout in the tannin water, not that the copper colour would be a problem as it's worked well before in tannin waters.
Another mild overcast day had me heading off to the Meander River chasing trout and if they weren't there then I'd shoot on over to Western Creek and give that a go on the way home. It wasn't an early start this morning by any means, by the time I arrived and had a 1.5 kilometre walk to the river it was just on 8:35am. As I approached the river I could see it was running nice and clear but the river bottom wasn't looking good for spin fishing, it was covered in green algae. The fishing was pretty slow going with no signs of a trout and with the little Mepps gold black fury continually becoming fouled with the algae it wasn't looking good.
I headed on back to fish the dark tannin waters of the Leven River again yesterday.. The river was at the perfect wading height & the weather was spot on, overcast & humid conditions. It was another slow start once again with just the one soft hit on the gold Mepps #1 black fury from a solid brown. It had taken close on twenty minutes when the brown followed the gold black fury from a cast and drift from the opposite side of the river.
I could see the silhouette of a large fish following closely behind the spinner as I let it drift with the flow. I gave the rod a couple of twitches to see if it would get the trout to take the lure. That didn't work until I had the lure and the trout within three meters of me when I gave the lure another light twitch then let the black fury drop which made the gold blade flutter. That did the job the trout took the lure side on, I felt weight on the line as the large brown took hold of the spinner, I quickly raised the rod to set the hooks but missed setting them. For one reason or another it hadn't taken full hold of the black fury, it must have just had the tip of the hook on it's outer lip. All that fish did was give a soft head shake and it was gone.
I headed off to the Meander River to catch trout number 500 today, something I thought would come nice and quick in the river. Thing is I was pretty slack in getting up to start with and I wasn't in the river until 9:30am after a 1.5 km walk, the sun was well up and full on the clear water. Still feeling confident that my favourite river would give up the fish required I was quick in starting the session of with a Mepps Aglia Furia in a nice free flowing medium stretch of river. Twenty minutes later I still hadn't seen a fish, no follows, just nothing, there wasn't a fish in that beautiful stretch of water. I tried a variety of spinners & even hard body lures, still nothing. I continued spin fishing my way upstream giving the Okuma Helios SX20 reel & Okuma Celilo 6'6'' ULS 1-3kg trout rod a good workout all to no avail, still no signs of any trout. It wasn't until 10:30am when I drew a nice brown out of a shaded area on the left hand side of the river, that trout was only half interested before it turned and moved off. Seeing that trout did give me some hope of catching one here today after all.
After having quite few injections in the lower back and hips this morning I was feeling quite good so decided to head back to the Leven River for another shot a picking up a few more wild brown trout in the afternoon. I had arranged to meet a friend at Gunns Plains who's just made the move from Queensland to Tasmania to start a new life here. It's been 35 years since he last had a fish for trout so today was a big day for him & one he'll remember for some time too as you'll find out when you get a little further into this report.
Calm, mild overcast conditions had me heading back to have another crack chasing trout in the rocky fast waters of the Meander River. I hit the river at 7:40 am to find it was a little lower than my last trip here, it still had plenty of water coming down. Like most of my trips of late I started off with the lure that keeps on keeping on even though it's now very much worse for wear, the copper blade Mepps #0 Aglia Mouche Noire was the lure.
I only intended to fish a five/six hundred meter stretch of river then move to another area two or so kilometres further downstream. The area I fished was perfect for the cast & drift method and it wasn't very long before I had the first trout hooked and landed. The trout were here but they weren't overly aggressive to start with, they were just nipping at the spinner. I stayed with the copper Mouche Noire lure and by the time I had reached the area I was finishing up I had caught a total of six small browns from nine hookups.
After having around 50 injections in my lower back, hips and left shoulder blade I felt good enough to hit the fast water on the Meander River. Before I left home I put several stick on heat patches on my lower back & took a couple of pain killers as well. Any way I arrived at Meander in thick fog, got the trout wading gear on and headed off to the river. When I arrived at the area I was going to fish I found the river was running a too little high and fast for my liking.
I just love this time of year with it's cool nights & mornings that slowly turn into beautiful still mild Autumn days. It's also a great time of the trout season for chasing trout in the rivers for me as well. It was another cool morning when I arrived at the Meander River for another spin session with the river still flowing at a nice wading height. I started the session off with the lure that has done well on the trout over a few trips and that was the copper Aglia Mouche Noire spinner. The water temperature has now dropped to a cool ten degrees, I'm hoping for more good results like I had in this river on my last trip when I caught & released 15 browns. I was in the river by 7:20 am and it wasn't too long before I had my first trout take the spinner which was good, it was a nice 280 gram brown.
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