Presented from Issue 107, December 2013
If someone had suggested to me 10 years ago that we would experience ‘whiting fever’ and see anglers catching King George whiting up to 60cm long in Tasmania I would have put it down as a bit of wishful thinking — I guess things change.
Here is a typical scenario in my shop as November approaches. I am in my Tackle Shop working as usual when the phone rings.
Me: Good morning this is St Helens Bait and Tackle.
Caller: Hi, me and a few buddies are heading down on the weekend and wondering if the KG whiting are running?
I don’t get ‘do you ever catch any?’ or ‘are there whiting in the bay?’ Now there is the expectation of a whiting season every year and I am receiving call, after call, after call.Read more ...
With nothing on this morning and being Christmas Day I new where ever I fished I'd more than likely have the rivers all to myself. So I headed off to the Mersey River for a spin session in what was beautiful calm conditions and with the sun already well up I didn't hit the river until 7:15 am. The river was like a sheet of glass and there were quite a few trout already on the rise surface feeding on midges. Seeing the trout surface feeding I knew I was in for another tough few hours chasing the brown trout this morning.
I left home just after 5:30 am this morning and headed to the upper reaches of the Mersey River for an early spin session in what was a reasonably cool morning with the lightest of breeze. As soon as I arrived it was on with the wading gear and off for a forty minute walk to where I would start the spin session. I was trying a new stretch of river (that I checked out on Google Earth) for the first time this trip so I didn't know what to expect.
I was originally going to head to the upper Mersey River at Liena at 4:30 am this morning when I woke up but after laying there for a while I decided not to. As much as I wanted to get up I just couldn't be bothered because of a couple of sleepless nights. As the day went on and there was some good cloud cover around I then decided to head up there around 2:10 PM.
With the Australian National Fly Fishing Championships on over the next three days I decided to give the upper reaches a fish. I arrived just after 7:00 am in what was overcast conditions, no wind and it was quite mild, really good fishing conditions. I did have a tough 1.5 km walk ahead of me to reach my starting point which I reached just after 7:30 am. With the river running very clear I was in two minds whether to go for the hard body lure or my ever reliable little Mepps spinners. I decided to go with the Mepps, now would be a black or gold blade spinner to start with. I went for the #00 (1.5g) gold blade Aglia for starters to see how that would go, if it didn't then I'd change to the black one.
Another warm day was forecast with gusty Nth Easterlies again with a late change and a chance of rain and thunderstorms had me in two minds if I should go fishing this morning. I was awake at 4:00 am and just laid there listening to the radio before I got up at 6:30 am to get myself ready to head of to the upper Mersey River on private property. Once out of bed I was feeling very sore again from yesterdays late afternoon session in the river and the lower back & left hip weren't all that good. I decided I'd have a bit of breakfast and take a few pain killers then head off at around 7:30 am.
Still a little sore from doing some gardening etc over the weekend and having the Monday off from fishing I made the decision to go for a spin session in the Mersey River after lunch today. I was in the river at 1:30 PM in what was bright warm sunny conditions, the sun full on the clear water and a gusty North Easterly wind blowing. I started off with a small ghost brown hard body and had a take on the very first cast, the reel screamed for a short time before a solid rainbow leaped from the river and tossed the lure. I couldn't set the hooks because I hadn't adjusted the drag on the reel and that's why the rainbow tossed the lure.
Overcast, no wind and mild weather conditions had me in the Mersey River by 6:35 am this morning and the first thing I noticed was the trout surface feeding. They were spread out in most sections of the river sipping down the little midges that were floating down the river. I thought nothing of it really because that's what I saw on my last trip to the Mersey River & thought I was in for a tough day but caught & released 22 trout. Well, how wrong was I on this trip because it took me just on an hour before I had my first trout in the net, a nice rainbow taken on the aglia gold spinner.
Warm weather forecast with a cool morning saw me having an early start in the Mersey River this morning in what was beautiful conditions. I was in the river by 6:45 am and picked up a nice 530 gram rainbow with the Mepps gold Aglia in the first small fast water I fished. The next run of water I'm moving into was a long wide run that's close to one and a half kilometers in length and has a few small fast water runs in it too.. It was here I changed over to the ghost brown hard body lure to fish this clear water. As I approached this stretch of river I could see several trout surface feeding so I thought I may be in for a tough session if the trout are concentrating on surface feeding.
Clear skies, light to moderate WSW wind and a maximum temperature of around nineteen degrees forecast had me heading over to the Mersey River for a spin session today. I didn't hit the river until 10:00 am or there about and it wasn't all that long before I had my first brown take the little Daiwa ghost brown hard body. I plucked it out of a nice clear medium flowing section of water and it was quite a nice well conditioned fish too. It had taken the lure a little deep in the mouth to what I would have liked and there was a little blood flowing through the gills. Once I picked it up and checked inside its mouth I could see there wasn't any major damage to the fish, once I removed the treble hook with the forceps the bleeding had almost stopped. I held it in the water for several minutes and there wasn't any sign of blood coming from the fish, so I sent it on it's way.
Another warm day had me heading over to the Mersey River for a few hours chasing trout.. I didn't hit the river until 10:20 am not that it mattered all that much as it was mainly overcast conditions for now. The river here was running at a medium height and fairly clear so I'm hoping to catch and release a few browns today given the conditions were just right. I started of with the Daiwa ghost brown seeing as it worked well on the browns up at Liena yesterday in what was pretty tough fishing conditions. Well the first couple of stretches of water were very quiet, though I did manage to have a follow from a very small brown. It wasn't until I was half through fishing a back water when I finally caught my first small (270 gram) brown for the morning. That was the only brown taken in that long back water run, I did have several follows without any signs of aggression at all from them.
I had a quick trip over to Merseylea in what was cool, windy and wet conditions. When I checked the river levels online I thought the Mersey river would be low enough for a good wading session but when I arrived I could see it was a little higher that I expected. We had some heavy rain during the morning and I doubt that was enough to raise the water level. Any way I sat in the car and waited for around twenty minutes while a heavy rain shower passed over before I hit the river. There certainly was some water coming down so I was making sure I stayed in water no higher than my knees most times.
The conditions this morning looked okay with a maximum of 14 degrees, mainly overcast and a light North Westerly breeze with a change late this afternoon.. Given that we haven't had rain for a couple of days I thought a trip to a tannin waters of a small stream in the upper reaches of the Mersey River was worth a go.
I decided to have an afternoon trip to the river (private prop) in what was pretty cool overcast conditions with a very light breeze. I'm fishing a one kilometer stretch of river that runs through a friends property and I'm hoping it's running clear enough for a spin session. After a twenty minute walk through his paddocks it wasn't long before I was at the river. It was running a little higher than I had expected, but it was clear enough to spin fish and that's all that mattered. I started off with a Mepps #00 gold blade Aglia mainly because at this time of year it's the best colour to use in cold water. A silver or fluoro coloured spinner are good too and will catch fish in cold water early in the season.
After having physio this morning and given the weather conditions were absolutely beautiful I headed off to small stream in the upper reaches of the Mersey River near Weegena.. This little river quite often fished well early season while there's good flow in it, I'm hoping it will do so this trip too. Once the water level drops it's a tough little stream to fish, so now is the time to give it a go. I started off using a small gold bladed #00 Aglia and had a follow in the first five casts. That brown came up and nudged the trebles with it's nose a few times before it turned and moved off. I knew then and there the spinners weren't going to work here today so changed over to a gold/black F-3 Rapala to see if that would get the result I was after. Well, I had only moved upstream some twenty meters when I was onto my first brown for the session. It was a well conditioned fish that went just on 350 grams, like 98% of the fish I catch it had it's photo taken and was soon back in the river.
Finally after two very wet, windy days I had a chance to go for my first spin session of the season. This trip was to the Mersey River in the Union Bridge area. I wasn't even thinking of going today even with the fine weather but I thought what the heck go wet a line. Once there I found the river to be running reasonably high and fast with a colour that was like the black coffee I have in the morning. The area I'm fishing today is one that hasn't fished all that well over the past season or two either so I'm not expecting too much this trip. Today is all about getting out and wetting a line for the first time in over three months since the trout season closed. Not that I minded the closure of the season either because it gives me time to get the old body back in some sort of working order for the start of the next one. Each year it gets that little bit tougher on the body for me. With the water still being very cold I thought it was a good time to test out one of the new model Mepps Aglia-e Fluro spinner that I had sent to me to try out on the trout here in Tasmania. I tried several deep long medium flowing stretches of river without a sign of a fish, I was starting to wonder if my trip here was going to be a waste of time. I did try a couple of hard body lures in these long deep runs too before going back to the fluro spinner.
Presented from Issue 105, August 2013
The Mersey River is now even better - with ‘Anglers Access’ project completed. Adrian Webb fishes the Mersey consistently from the start to the end of the season. Here is his guide and a few tips
Shot off to Weegena for another afternoon session because it's the only time I have the chance to wet a line lately. This trip was to private property where I have a decent old walk to the river which is usually well worth it. It was quite warm this afternoon and by the time I reached my entry point into the river I was already knackered. I started off with the usual gold Aglia spinner and worked a couple of fast water runs that normally give up a fish or two. They didn't give up a single fish or even a follow which was a real surprise.
Another warm afternoon saw me head of to Merseylea for a late session on the Mersey River to see if I can add a few more trout to my seasons tally of 577 after yesterdays catch of four trout.
When I arrived to where I was going to fish I spotted a car already there so I headed of to another spot at Merseylea only to find the same thing. I was thinking about just heading of home when I thought I would try a section of river at Kimberley where I have gained the land owners permission to enter and fish there. I don't know why I didn't think of heading there in the first place as I always have this stretch of river to myself each time I go there. When I arrived at the river I spotted three trout surface feeding at the tail end of a long wide stretch of water. A quick flick ahead of them with a #00 gold black fury saw it taken in a matter of seconds by a small trout, and that's as long that small trout stayed on as well. Three leaps from the river that little trout tossed the spinner.
With a very light breeze blowing I was in two minds all day whether to go and have a session on the Mersey River or not. Finally around 2:30pm I decided I would go for a late spin session after all. I was in the river by 3:00 pm in what was really good conditions even though the river was running low and clear, not only that I would be fishing in full sun for the first 400 meters of river until I reached the shaded areas on the river. I started off using a hard body for a while without any sign of a trout before I changed to the gold Aglia spinner when I reached a 300 meter shallow fast water stretch of river that varied in depth from (4'' to 6'') 10cms to 20cms.
Presented from Issue 101
I am a fly fisher living on the banks of the Mersey River in Latrobe in northern Tasmania. Some, close to me, think I am obsessed. I get to see close hand the cycles of the river and its inhabitants throughout the changing seasons. For me the most exciting time of the trout fishing season is late spring and early summer when the aquatic insects, like the caddis flies, stoneflies and above all the majestic mayfly, are going through their hatching stages. What follows is a story of a spring morning’s fishing on my favourite stream.
Presented from Issue 96
I have spent most of my life growing up in close proximity to the Mersey River and its wonderful trout fishing. Over the years I have got to know the river and its denizens quite well and this particular season to date has certainly been one of the best I that I can personally remember. What follows is my take on the fishing action on this water for the first half of the 2011/2012 trout fishing season.
After lunch I thought I would take the trout gear and head on over to Merseylea in the hope I may finally get to wet a line in it for the first time this season. Once there I could see it was still running very high and there was no way I would be hopping in for a wade. Still on with the waders etc and off I went walking down through the paddocks to where I knew there would be some nice back water that I could hop in and wade. After a brief fifteen minute walk I was soon at the bottom end of it where it flowed back into the Mersey River. There was plenty of water running down it too and I had that feeling there would be a few trout holding in a few stretches of it as well. Just before I entered the back water I flicked the little Muzza's hard body into a small flat piece of water close to the river bank, this type of water quite will often have a fish in it. It was on the second cast when I had a nice solid brown take the lure. It headed straight out into the main flow and then off downstream for some thirty meters before I managed to turn it then slowly lead it in towards the river bank. With the river running so fast even a small brown is going to peel line off the reel once it enters the main flow. Any way, after a brief tussle I soon had this nice solid brown in the landing net. As always, after quick photo it was soon back in the river. That fish went 430gms.
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