Presented from Issue 105, August 2013 Christopher Bassano fishes over 250 days a year. This interview was recorded just before he headed off to fish for Australia in the World Fly Fishing Championships in Norway 14-17 August 2013.
I live on a small stream and at the start of the season I like to go off on a bit of a discovery mission and fish the headwaters of the creeks and rivers I feel an affinity with.
These small rivers include the St Pats, Meander, Forester, Little Forester and others. The further up you go on these rivers the clearer and lower the levels. They are often less affected by the rain and runoff and you get some good opportunities. Get as close to the source as you can and you will find some good dry fly fishing. Don’t limit yourself to those I have mentioned. Most headwaters will hold trout.
The weather forecast wasn't all that flash for today with rain and gusty 30 kph NNW winds, that forecast kept me home for the most of the day, we did have a very light shower of rain and the wind was gusting at 30kph on and off throughout the day. At 4:00pm I'd had enough of sitting around the house and decided to shoot off for a quick spin session in a stretch of river I haven't fished for a very long time. By the time I put the wading gear in the car and hit the river it was 4:20pm and with daylight saving I had a good few hours up my sleeve to catch a trout or two. The river was actually running a little higher than expected but still safe enough to cross over and head to my starting point a few hundred meters downstream. The crossing of the river was a little tricky due to the rocky river bottom being very slippery, with the water being just above the knees I had to take it easy, one slip and I would have gone for a ride downstream in a hurry. When I was halfway across the river I cast directly upstream with a Stone Fly Bug spinner, on the retrieve I hooked and landed a small brown. I had a few more casts and retrieves as I slowly made my way across the river and had a couple of light hits without hooking up. Once across the river I couldn't believe how much it had changed here, the place was overgrown with willows, weeds, thistles and blackberry bushes. The ten minute walk to where I was to enter the river was going to take much longer than I had expected, in fact it took me twenty five minutes to reach it.
The reason I haven't fished this area for such a long time is due to the lack of trout in the river here, this used to be a great area to fish and catches of a dozen trout were quite common. Then for some reason the trout fishing went down hill, one or two small trout was all I could catch here, today I've returned mainly to see if the trout have returned. The water I'm fishing today are mainly fast water runs, water that used to give up quite a few nice size rainbow trout, brown trout were in good numbers here as well with some large fish in the mix. After the bush bash to reach the area I wanted to fish I had to cross it again to start the spin session, the crossing here wasn't any easier than the one I cross earlier, this one was a little tougher, the water here was were the river split into two runs, this crossing was narrow and running hard and fast. The safest way to cross here was to face upstream, making sure I had a good footing on the river bottom before stepping sideways, one slow step at a time.
I always cross a fast water facing upstream, one should never cross it by facing across the river, that's when the force of the water will catch the leg as it goes forward and spin you around, before you know it you're facing downstream lose balance, fall forward and before you know it you're in the water. Once you've gone into a fast water face down it's very hard to turn around and stand up, the best thing to do is not to panic, turn onto your back, turn yourself around so feet are facing downstream and go with the flow and keep your head raised. I know it may sound easy, it's not, so if you're not experienced in fast water fishing then never try crossing a fast water run. Lightweight waders & a good pair of spiked felt soled wading boots are essential for this type of fishing. So by facing upstream when crossing a river and if the fast water turns you to the left or right as you side step you still can keep your balance, your body weight is on the leg/foot that is turned downstream and still grips the river bottom. Now I was on the side of the river I wanted to start fishing first, I stayed with the #0 Stone Fly Bug spinner, with the amount of insect life in the area and seeing as it had already sucked one trout in I felt it was worth using here too.
The first of the water to be fished was a divided stretch of the main stream it's wide and around 80cms deep, it was flowing reasonably fast too. The first couple of casts and retrieves I had hits from small rainbow trout, the third cast with the bug spinner resulted in a small brown being caught. It wasn't until I reached the tail end of this run when I noticed a small trout jump from the river, a cast into that area the little trout took the lure only to toss it as I was about to get hold of it. From here I moved into where the divided river was one again, this area used to be one of the best rainbow waters in the North of Tasmania in my book. I have caught so many rainbow trout here in the past and all good size well conditioned fish too. After having a few casts with the stone fly bug spinner without having a touch I thought a brighter lure may work better in the deeper fast water here. I was going to change to a rainbow or brown Aglia Fluo before deciding to go with a#1 Aglia Furia. This water was ideal for casting and drifting too, something I love doing when chasing trout.
With the heavier 3.5 gram spinner I had no trouble lobbing the lure to the edge of a flat water some twenty meters away, then letting it drift with the fast flow. It was on the forth cast and drift when the Furia was taken hard and fast by a solid fish, at first I thought it may have been a large brown until I saw the fish leap from the river some fifteen meters away. It was a rainbow, and a beauty at that, this fish made the most of the fast flowing water and was putting the thin 4 lb Platypus Super 100 to the test. It was holding deep and pulling hard as it ran side on with the flow, it broke the surface several times leaping from the water at the same time giving some massive head shakes. After a couple of minutes it slowed down as it became tired and I had control of it then eased it into the net. This was the best wild rainbow trout (490gms) I've caught for many years in a river and I'll be going through my season records to see when the last decent one caught. The next cast into the same area another solid rainbow took the spinner, two rainbows in two casts, I couldn't believe my luck.
This one was a little smaller than the other one but not by a lot, the sad thing was that it had gill damage and had to be kept. Four minutes later I had my third rainbow in the net, another decent size fish it was too. From here on while using the cast and drift method in this stretch of river I went on to catch another two rainbows and two small browns from six hook ups. I was feeling on top of the world at this stage seeing that there were some nice rainbows back in the area, hopefully they're here to stay. I was about to head further upstream when I decided to have one more cast and drift in the fast water, it wasn't a good decision at all. A long cast towards the opposite side of the river was hit by a wind gust that carried the Aglia Furia into a small willow on the river bank. There was no way I could get to it due to the water being too deep and it wasn't worth risking my life to get the lure back, I had no choice but to break the line. I know exactly where it is, next trip back here when the water level is lower I will approach it from the other side of the river and retrieve it.
After setting up a new rig and replacing the old Furia with a new one it just didn't seem the same, I hooked and lost three more trout in the following stretch of water. I thought it was time to head for home as I still had to do some bush bashing to get back to the car anyway. On the way back to the car I tried one more fast water run using an Aglia four brown inline spinner and caught and released another two small browns from three hits. As it turned out the decision to head here to see if the trout had returned was a good one after all, even better was seeing some decent size rainbows back in this area, hopefully they're here to stay. The down side was the size of the brown trout, all small fish, the up side is they will grow into larger fish as the years pass by. I'll head back here for a morning spin session in a couple of days when I'll have more daylight time to fish further upstream.
Adrian Webb (meppstas)
#1 Aglia Furia gets the first of five rainbows
A beautiful 490 gram rainbow
Aglia Fluo brown spinner caught the last trout of the session
Another beautiful rainbows in the net
The fifth wild rainbow taken today
This rainbow liked the Aglia Furia
Written by Stephen Smith - Rubicon Web and Technology Training
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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.
Presented from Issue 100 Considering the world class quality of our sea trout fishery, these fish are not sought after by enough anglers. Sea runners live in the salt water and run up our estuaries and rivers from the start of August to the middle of November. At this time of the year, they are here to eat the many species of fish that are either running up the rivers to spawn or are living in and around the estuary systems. Trout, both sea run and resident (Slob Trout) feed heavily on these small fish which darken in colouration as they move further into fresh water reaches.
The majority of these predatory fish are brown trout with rainbows making up a very small percentage of the catch. They can be found all around the state but it would be fair to say that the east coast is the least prolific of all the areas. They still run up such rivers as the Georges (and many others) but their numbers along with the quality of the fishing elsewhere make it difficult to recommend the area above the larger northern, southern and western rivers.