A breath of fresh air for Lofty

with Greg "Lofty" Hynes

Early December 2008 my son arrived back in Australia fresh from a pretty hectic time in Afghanistan with the 4 RAR commandos. He called me and said "dad I want to go back to Tassie fishing'. It had been over four years since we had been fishing together and over three years since I left Tasmania to live on the Gold Coast in Qeensland.

I quickly decided to make some phone calls to some old connections to secure a boat and vehicle and we were all set up to arrive in Launceston on the 18th of Dec
Our flights coincided within 30 minutes of each other. From there it was only a short walk over to Europcar where we picked up our vehicle and the boat, which they hire to approved customers.
My first impressions of the 4.3 metre tinny was, "shit, this is a fly fishing boat" and I only wanted to troll. It was set up with a 40 hp E-tec Evinrude and I did not think it would troll down slow enough, but hey we would compromise if we had to. It also was rigged with an electric motor. Our plan was to head for Woods Lake as I had received stories of it fishing well last season and there were some good fish coming from it.
At 5 am Friday 19th December we head up Poatina. At the top of the mountain the weather looked absolutely deplorable. The wind was blowing 20 knots from the southwest and there was snow on the higher peaks. I had just left 30 degrees 24 hours prior and the outside temp gauge in the car was showing zero. What had I had I let myself in for.
We arrived at Woods lake at about 7 am and this was the first time I had laid eyes on it. Two foot waves breaking on the boat ramp and I was having suspicions whether this fly skiff would make it over to calm lee shore. Fortunately it did so with flying colours and I was very impressed with the way it sat on top of the waves and sliced through them. The power tilt and trim was invaluable getting out into deep water. Remember this thing was all tiller control I was really going back to my grass roots days of fishing. Getting to the calm shore turned out to be a breeze and there was another boat trolling close by, so we decided to give it a go in the same area.
This skiff came with three rod holders and a fish finder, which we mainly needed for depth and to see what structures were under us. This little boat had everything and next surprise it trolled into the wind at a perfect speed and we used a bucket as a sea anchor to slow us downwind.
My first fish was hooked in no more than one minute of commencing to troll. My son Clint is still stirring me. As he was setting up his rod I flicked a Loftys red nosed brown bomber No 48 out only 25 metres. No sooner had the lure started its action than the fish hit it. It was a lovely doe fish of about 3 lb. Great, I thought I am back.
We had both purchased two rod licences, which I think is a geat idea because it gives you the opportunity to set a spread of four different colours of lures with different drop back and line dimensions and assess which colour produces the best.
Clint put on his favourite Loftys #18 and also a #71. Wwe also ran a #48 - red nosed brown bomber and a #70 frog pattern. It was not long, proberly about 10 minutes when the #18 struck this also produced a nice trout of about 2 lb.
Something about this lake became obvious to me after trolling for about 2 hours. It was, in many ways, similar to Lake Sorrell where I had been very successfull when I first started manufacturing Loftys Lures in 1990. The depth is very stable once you are around 100 metres from the shore-most of the bottom it is flat as a pancake at a depth of 4 metres with healthy weed beds growing in depths of 3 metres and under. This makes for a perfect flatline trolling lake. There is no need for lead line or deep diving lures, just line diameter, correct drop back and trolling speed. I soon realized that water clarity was also an issue by being slightly milky and it would not make any difference if it was bright or overcast.
Lure selection was also critical although we would bag out every day we fished this magnificent water, most fish caught was on green and gold-predominately Loftys #18 green and gold. Also, I asked Wayne Chellis of Perth (Tas), whom I class as one of the best trolling fisherman in the state, what  his most productive lure was. He swears by the #18 Loftys-it catches 60% of his fish, no matter what lake he is fishing.
There seems to be certain areas of this lake where the stick caddis are vey prominent and also small snails, every fish we caught were full of them. I believe the bag limit of five fish in this fantastic water is great. The fish are excellent to eat and five each was plenty for a great day.
We were on the lake each morning by 8 am and off by 4 pm-almost gentlemans hours by some standards. Most of the fish we caught were approximately 3lb with a couple of 4 lb. These are great fish to catch.
I also put into Arthurs Lake on the first day on the way home as the water level had been dropped very low we trolled  the morass for about 1 hour and caught three nice two pound  browns. These fish fought harder than the Woods Lake trout and it was at a perfect depth for flat line trolling, depth was smack on 4 metres. Be wary of snags though.
After living on the Gold Coast for three years where the fishing is hopeless, and there are more boats than fish, coming home to Tasmanias Central Highlands to fish was like a breath of fresh air. It brought home to me how spectacular the scenery is, how fresh the air is and how seasonal the weather is and how much I took it for granted when I lived here.
It is fantastic to be reminded how good the fishing is and how accessable everything is within two to three hours in any direction. Fishing Tasmania is the only way to go, this trip was just what my son needed to come back to normality and I also did not realize how much I had missed home.
I will be coming back on a more regular basis.

Greg "LOFTY" Hynes, formerly of Loftys Lures.

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