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.
Presented from Issue 101
Fishing with other people is an interesting experience. Fishing with someone new can be like going on a first date, while a day out with a long time mate is more like putting on a comfortable pair of old shoes. A good thing about fishing with someone else is that you get to learn by watching, which can open your mind up to new ideas and techniques.
Something else that shows through is that how personality and character can influence flyfishing style. Do you know any two people who are exactly the same? You know what it’s like. Among your friends, you might have the energetic, extroverted type, who fills in all the awkward silences, the jester, or the quiet reserved one, who doesn’t say a lot, but when they do, everyone listens (or at least should).
My own circle of fishing buddies is a diverse bunch. We do share set of values and interests - otherwise we wouldn’t be friends I guess. A common love of rivers and streams, wild trout, dry flies, and of course, total catch and release binds us. There are some basics that we all adhere to in terms of technique, but there is a lot of variation in other than key areas. We all catch our share of fish, but don’t count them, certainly not in a “I got five, he got three” type of competitive way.
Here is an insight into my fishing mates, what I’ve learnt from them, and proof that there’s more than one way to skin a trout (so to speak)!
Presented from Issue 100
Shore based angling
Over 20 years ago I was lucky enough to be taught to fish lakes like Arthurs by the great angler Shayne Murphy. One of the great lessons that I learnt from Murf was that in many cases you should simply use your boat to get to the best shore fishing locations quickly and efficiently. In those days we would pick the eyes out of the best locations then quickly move on to fresh and similar waters.
A few years later I started my guiding career and I bought a beautiful tri hull boat. For many years, just like Murf had taught me, I used this boat for transporting my clients to the best shore fishing locations for the weather and wind conditions. I well remember many times when my wading clients were ‘catching the clappers out of them’ as other anglers and guides drifted by flogging the water for little obvious results.
Presented from Issue 99
Early season fishing can be very challenging. Too challenging for this mere mortal of a fishing guide so I don’t like to guide before October. You see, I have a problem taking money from clients for what I consider mostly to be sub-standard (read sub- surface) fishing.
My clients love sight fishing on warm balmy days. Whilst early season shallow water tailers can offer great sport on lake margins and flooded river edges the weather is anything but balmy and the sport is particularly unreliable.
If you are Johnny on the spot, you have good local knowledge of water levels and conditions and you are not scared of frosty, foggy early mornings, then by all means be my guest. You may just find some of the best fishing of the season.
Presented from Issue 99
Peter Broomhall’s tips for trout season opening day success on a few of my favourite fisheries
For Tasmanian trout anglers the first Saturday in August is the culmination of a gradual build up in anticipation that started a few weeks beforehand. During this time rods have been checked, reels oiled, lines renewed, leaders retied, hooks sharpened, waders checked for leaks and tackle and fly boxes restocked. In some extreme cases this has been repeated many times over...
Presented from Issue 97
Before you charge into this article expecting to read about the best trout in Tasmania I should warn you that it relates to the highest ones not the fattest.
It is also fraught with danger to write about something that may not be totally correct as there are still a few remote tarns that I haven’t got to yet and probably never will. There are also some higher places I have found to be devoid of trout that some sneaky specimens may now have swam up into.
Having said all this it is my belief that the highest water in Tasmania to contain brown trout is an unnamed water at around 1290m south west of Turrana Heights. We have named it Lake Australia. It is a headwater tarn on one of several streams that flow into the western side of Pillans Lake. So drag out the Pillans 1:25000 map and follow the stream that runs up through Pencil Pine Tarn to a water roughly shaped like Australia. Now read on about how to get there and what to expect on the way. Maybe it is not for this season, but why not put it on the list for later in the year.
Presented from Issue 96
Traditionally the age old art of fish taxidermy has involved the preserving, mounting and painting of the fishes skin and head to craft a life like trophy. In more recent times fibreglass fish reproductions or ‘repro’s’ have become available, offering the trophy hunter a viable alternative. Indeed, a well crafted repro can look as good and natural as a well made skin mount.
I was inspired to touch on this subject after hearing secondhand comments that ‘skin mounts don’t last!’ That’s true if the mount wasn’t made correctly in the first place. We’ve all seen the withered and colourless mounts hanging on pub and tackle shop walls, of hardly recognisable specimens caught 20 or 30 yrs ago, and in some cases not that long ago. Well, fish taxidermy has come a long way since those days, with modern techniques and products developed specifically for the industry there is no reason why a properly crafted skin mount should not last a lifetime.
Presented from Issue 96
Late summer brings to the fore the best of fly fishing in Tasmania, the regularity of hatches and falls of terrestrial insects makes dry fly fishing at times spectacular. These days are highlights and can be predicted with some regularity, however along with the highs you also get the lows, those ‘dog days’ where the trout simply don’t want to play. It could be they are too well fed or more sensitive to changes in the weather, or in fact simply will not feed until the hatch they can predict better than us arrives.
How to predict where the fishing will be good is a key to success at this time of year particularly if you want the fish a particular style of fly fishing. When fish do start to feed make the most of the opportunities as in high summer with warm water these ‘hot bites’ may well only last a short time.
Presented from Issue 95
The tip of dorsal fin momentarily cut the glassy surface of the lagoon followed by a slight swirl over the iseotes weed mound. This was the signal I had been waiting for, he was back. An accurate long cast placed the little Montana Nymph a few feet ahead of the slight ripple caused by this activity. This was met by a huge bow wave and swirl in the vicinity of the fly.
Presented from Issue 95
I am lucky enough at the moment to be working a two weeks on, one week off roster. When I switched over to this roster I decided it was time for some midweek trips to places I have not fished a lot in the last few years.
A couple of years back whilst involved in the making of the fly fishing movie The Source Tasmania I had the opportunity to meet some champion blokes. Chris Reygaert flew over from Western Australia to help his brother, film maker Nick and he stayed at my house for a week or so. He ended up moving back to Tasmania to live a short time later, and we have become good mates. I love nothing more than spending a day on the water with Chris. He is a very accomplished fly angler and has a brilliant eye for a great photo, which is something I am becoming more passionate about with every fishing trip.
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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.