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.Read more ...
It’s Christmas time again and that means dry fly fishing is well underway. There are not many fly fishers who don’t look forward to fishing the dry. Seeing the fish take the fly really starts the adrenalin flowing.
The fly this time is a very well tested emerger which I suppose is nearly a dry but does sit rather low in the water surface. The entire fly except for the tail is tied out of CDC feathers. The cul de canard, or CDC, feather comes from around the oil preen gland of the duck it is this feather fly tyers love to use.
Come in spinner that’s what all the fly fishing people are waiting for—the spinner hatches of spring time. On the rivers it will happen through October sometimes, it’s mostly dependent on the weather it’s those balmy mild spring days with little or no wind that’s required. On the highland lakes the first to be seen are normally a month later and for the past two seasons it has been so good one is not sure where to go first. So October and November are fairly well booked for me it will be mostly shore based fishing on the lowland rivers and highland lakes. Mid to late morning on the rivers and on a really good day the hatch can go on till late afternoon mind you that’s the rarity not the norm. Highland lakes spinner hatches are a little different in I like a slight breeze pushing off shore that’s to carry the spinners out onto deep water then better fish will hopefully feed. River fish will mostly work a beat. They will cover a few metres and disappear for a short time and then reappear and start the beat again. Stillwater fish will rise spasmodically so keep a sharp eye on the rise and try and judge which way the fish will head taking note where the fishes head is. This will mostly give the direction. Place the fly out in front so the fish will come upon it. My spinner patterns are fairly simple both red and black. Black Spinner Hook – Finewire size 14 12 10 Thread – Black Tail – Black cock fibres Rib – Very fine silver or copper wire Hackle – Black cock hackle Red Spinner Hook – Finewire size 12 10 Thread – Orange Tail – Black cock fibres Rib – Silverwire Head – One fine peacock herl Hackle – Red cock hackle Method for red spinner 1. Place hook in vice 2. Starting at the eye end take the thread the full length of the shank 3. Place a small bunch of cock fibres on top of rear end of shank tie down firmly and cut excess fibres away 4. Tie in rib and take thread two thirds of the way toward the eye now bring rib forward with nice even turns to where the thread is hanging cut away excess rib 5. Take one fine peacock herl and tie in cut away excess herl. Tie in hackle and wind forward toward eye making a nice tight hackle cut away any excess hackle 6. With the fine peacock herl wind it through the hackle try not to crush the hackle too much cut away excess peacock herl 7. Whip finish cut thread away and varnish The black spinner is tied the same but omit the peacock herl. Call 1300 787 060 Express
Hoppers, hoppers and more hoppers and I am not talking about grasshoppers. Jassid is the name and they are leafhoppers. On Saturday the 27th of February we had a hatch of these insects in numbers that I haven’t seen for many years. The back wall of our shed was covered with dozens of these small insects. A few days later I was at Bronte Lagoon where I had these insects landing on my shirt. On both occasions the jassids were of the brown variety. They are still very much on the trout’s diet if there is enough to get the interest going. In Tasmania’s highlands there seems to be mostly two different colours, that’s brown or red bodies. Groups of jassids cluster together to feed on the young eucalypts. These insects particularly the very young will be attended by ants which feed on the honeydew excreted by the jassid.
The week between Christmas and the New Year saw Bill and myself about as remote as one can get in Tasmania. We even visited some lakes we had not been to before. Yes, I am talking about the Western lakes.
In nearly forty years of wandering those areas we struck gold with the weather. I can not remember ever having six straight days of blue sky - the norm is two or three days. So having these superb days we covered as much water as possible. That country never gets any easier but at least one can polaroid when the blue sky is there. We found the fish in superb condition, not huge but in the one and a half to two kilogram mark, and plenty of them.
While the winter months have been ticking by I have been on a couple of northern fishing trips one catching barra, threadfin salmon, trevally along with a couple of dozen other species. Trip number two was to New Britain which is part of New Guinea, we were fishing for the hard fighting black and spot tail bass, they are a remote fish in an absolute remote area of the world. It was a great trip and really is good to broaden one's knowledge into other fish species.
It's that time of year when everybody's optimism is running very high. Most are contemplating what the new trout season will bring. One thing is for sure - it will be cold. The rivers will be brownish in colour as we have had some good recent rain which has made for some swollen streams, this is wonderful as the trout will be foraging for food washed into backwaters by the excess water and they will be in prime condition when the weather warms up.
The highland lakes are another story. Both Great Lake and Arthurs are rising with good flows of water from recent rain. As normal, this time of the year the surrounding shore lines will be icy if not iced all over. It takes a little while for the lakes to get rid of the winter blues, but the fishing can be good if you can put up with the cold. So if you are fishing in the highland areas, be prepared for extreme weather.
Nearly every fly fisher has to, at some time, use a heavy line and large sinking flies. Nobody more than I likes to fish dry fly or semi dry, but this does not always catch fish and when it's all said and done that's what we fish for-to catch fish.
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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.