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.
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Well wasn't I a fool today as I forgot it was a holiday weekend here when I headed off this afternoon for a session on the Mersey River in what were perfect conditions for trout fishing. It was a very dull humid overcast day, conditions that I love to trout fish in. My first stop was at Kimberley just ten minutes from Sheffield. Once there I saw there were campers set up next to the river, that's when it hit me..''HOLIDAY WEEKEND.'" that meant most access areas are going to be busy for the next three days and won't be worth fishing at all. So I headed on up to Weegena only to find both access areas had cars parked there as well.. I knew of one more spot that may be okay so off I went once more in the hope of finding a spot to fish.
Well at last I had a day when I managed to be on the water by 9.00am in what was absolutely beautiful conditions. The Mersey River was much lower up at Weegena than my last trip four days ago, it was also crystal clear. There were quite a few large browns surface feeding in several slow flowing sections of the river too. These fish were all in the 1.5kg – 2.5kg range which was nice to see as there's been plenty of little browns around of late. I started of flicking the black fury (1.5gm) into the shaded areas along the opposite river bank and managed to get a few follows from some decent sized browns, but not one hit to go with it. It's always going to be tough getting into a few browns when you see others surface feeding, this is when I will often pick them up in the fast water runs.
I left home at 12.30pm in overcast and coolish conditions in what I thought were perfect for being in a river today. I was on my way to fish the Mersey River on a friends property and now with the river being lower it was going to be wade-able in every stretch of river. Well, once there the clouds had all but disappeared and it was nice and bright. Not what I was hoping for at all. Any way it was on with the gear and off on a two kilometre walk to where I'll start fishing. The river was now in full sun which was going to make the fishing interesting today that's for sure, especially in low clear water. I could see that the rocky river bottom was covered in a brown algae and that's going to make wading very tough too. Fishing the Mersey River is always hard on the body, the algae covered rocks just makes it that much harder. With the river being low and clear means I'll be starting the session off with the little black fury (black blade) again today.
I headed on over to Mersylea this afternoon in what was beautiful weather conditions with just a light breeze and clear skies. I didn't arrive there until 3.00pm and then had a chat with a couple of young fella's having a spin from the river bank. They hadn't caught anything up to then, but had managed a couple of follows for the time they'd been there spinning. The river was clear and much lower today and was also in full sun. I recommended that they spin the shaded areas as that's more than likely the best place to pick up a trout in the bright conditions. I had to use my old Horne waist waders today as my breathables are down in Hobart at Fly & Dry having new stocking feet put on them as I've worn the other's out. Still they've lasted just over three years of some pretty heavy fishing days and months of continual river fishing. So today it was back to the old way of how I waded the rivers and fished for trout for quite a lot of years in the heavy rubber waders and boots.
Another top day weather wise today had me heading on up to Weegena to give the Mersey River a fish. The wind was switching from the Sth.West to the Nth West and back again so this wasn't going to be a problem either as where I was fishing it's reasonably sheltered in most places on the river. The area I'm fishing is on private property and there's a 2.0km walk before I get to my starting point in the river, but it's always worth the walk. The fishing here is normally quite good most times and there's rarely a trip here that I don't miss on catching a few browns & rainbows.
With overcast and pretty cool weather this afternoon I headed on over to the small township of Kimberley to give the Mersey River a fish from below the main road bridge. I haven't fished this area since we started holidaying over here from Sth Aust while visiting the daughter and family some 18 years ago. There was a cold wind blowing straight down the river which meant I would be working my way upstream against it, something I'm never happy with any time. But I'm here now so might as well push on. With the river being much wider with a little more depth to it I decided to fish with hard body lures today. Plus they're a little heavier and will cast better into the wind than the little #00 mepps black fury, I could have gone up a size with the black fury's but decided not to. Besides I have a few hard body lures that I still have to test out for an overseas company that I promised to do. Before I tried their lure I started off with a rainbow rapala and worked my way up and along the river without a sign of a fish. I'm thinking have I picked another poor section of river to fish, or is it just going to be one of those very slow days again with the trout few and far between. I seem to be having a few of these over the past couple of weeks of just catching one or two fish each trip to the Mersey. Any way I stuck with the rapala for another ten minutes before I changed over to a test lure that was much heavier than I normally use in the rivers. I thought I would work this lure in a deep water run just ahead of me to see how it goes.
With a change forecast for later on tonight I thought I would get a spin session in this afternoon at Merseylea once again. I headed to the middle bridge this time and walked on down through the paddocks to the river. It was still running at a medium to high level but still just wade-able in most sections. I kept with the little black bladed black fury from the other day to see how it would go in today's dull conditions. The first couple of runs didn't give up a fish bit the next run was much better. After flicking the spinner up into the headwater several times and letting it drift into a large eddy it was finally taken by a nice 430gm brown. I fished several more runs some of which I changed over to the hard body lure as they were much deeper runs. Nothing at all was taken over the next two stretches of river where I decided to cross the river to a backwater run.
Another ripper of a day much the same as yesterday so I was off to Merseylea once again, this time I left at 1.00pm and went too the lower bridge. Being a Monday I was hoping that no one would be there, but when I arrived there was a 4wd parked some 200 meters on a track below the bridge. This was good as it meant he had headed downstream or was sitting in the bush bait fishing. I was heading upstream to fish any way so there's not a problem. I only had a short walk through the paddocks to where I could cross over to get a backwater that I like to fish. It wasn't long before I was there flicking the same hard body lure that I used yesterday. This backwater didn't give a yelp again this trip either. That's two trips here without it giving up a fish, I have no idea why it didn't because it normally gives up a few trout.
I left home just on 1.30pm in beautiful weather conditions and headed on over to the Mersey River at Merseylea. I went to my usual spot only to find a couple of cars parked there and being a Sunday with such great weather I don't blame them for having an outing on the river.
I did bother seeing if they were bait fishing or if they had headed off for a session in the river with lures or the fly. I drove on up to the top bridge and found it clear of vehicles which was unusual as this area is normally busy. Parked the car, on with the waders etc and I was soon in the river working my way upstream.
The river was still a little higher than I would have liked but it was wade-able and that's all that mattered to me. I was using the same rainbow pattern slim 6 cm Muzza's hard body lure that worked for me on the last trip to the Mersey River. The river bottom was like an ice skating rink here as it well and boy it's tough going and even more so in waist high water.
Finally after not having any rain for four days the Mersey River was just low enough for me to get in and have a spin session. Not that it was real low, but it was just low enough for fishing if one took care in doing so. There was still plenty of water coming down and with the river bottom being so slippery it was a matter of knowing the river and where it was safe enough to fish without being swept away. In saying that, I did have a one moment when I thought I may have been body surfing the fast water in the spot where I chose to cross over to get to a backwater run. It was well above my knees and with the rocky bottom being slimy it was hard trying to get a good footing even with spiked felt sole wading boots on. Any way I did make it across to the backwater in the end without taking a plunge.
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Hello everyone, I thought it would be a good time to introduce myself.
My name is Stephen Smith and I have been managing the website tasfish.com since May 2009.
It has been an epic journey of learning and discovery and I am indebted to Mike Stevens for his help, support and patience.
I am developing a new venture Rubicon Web and Technology Training ( www.rwtt.com.au ). The focus is two part, to develop websites for individuals and small business and to train people to effectively use technology in their everyday lives.
Please contact me via www.rwtt.com.au/contact-me/ for further information - Stephen Smith.
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Sea-run trout fishing this year got off to a cracking start in most areas, with the majority of anglers employing nearly every trout fishing technique to secure fish in local estuaries statewide.
Even those anglers fishing the "off-season" lower down in our estuaries for sea-trout commented on the number of fish moving in early August.