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 ...
The weather here in Sheffield today was great, it was sunny with a temperature of fifteen degrees so I headed off for a mid afternoon spin session in the upper reaches of the Mersey River. With the majority of rivers that I fish still running high the upper Mersey was the go to place to fish. The long stretch of river I headed to required a long forty minute walk, it once was very good trout water until the 2016 floods wiped the river clean of fish in this area. It's been five years since I last fished this area, so today I'm hoping the long walk to the river will be rewarding by catching & releasing a few wild brown trout, and I'm not fussed about their size either. I arrived at my entry point a little worse for wear after the long walk and it took me a few minutes to settle down before I hopped in the river at 2:20 pm, the lure of choice to start with was a Mepps #1 Aglia Fluo micro-pigment rainbow inline spinner. The river height was still on the high side and pushing quite hard on the legs, with the rocky river bottom being slippery and tough on the body, I knew it wasn't going to be an easy time spent in the river.
After having an eleven day break from trout fishing due to bright sunny days, clear water and mainly easterly winds today was the day to go and chase the trout. Why, because it was a cool foggy morning and there was a nice cloud cover, a perfect morning to go trout fishing in the Meander River. The maximum temperature forecast for the day was twenty seven degrees which meant the sun was going to burn the cloud off and that's when it would start to warm up. As much as I wanted an early start I wasn't in the river until 7:30 am mainly due to a change of area I decided to fish, which resulted in a twenty minute walk to my entry point. The reason I made the change was because I knew once the cloud dispersed I would still have shade along one side of the river and I would probably be ready to call it a day as well, that was the plan anyway. I started the spin session off using a well used Mepps #0 March Brown Bug spinner and it wasn't all that long before I hooked and lost the first fish of the day, thankfully it was only a small brown trout.
Seeing as I pulled up a little stiff from yesterday's spin session I waited until 2:15 pm before I headed off to have a late afternoon spin in the fast waters of the Meander River. My last trip to these fast waters wasn't a good one, all I managed that day was seeing two trout follow the lure and that was it. The water level is down to 57cms which is ideal for wading the fast waters I'm heading to. It was 2:55 pm by the time I entered the river and it looked great, the only thing I had to contend with was the rocky river bottom, the rocks were a little slippery under foot. I started the session off with a #0 March Brown Bug and it wasn't all that long when I had a trout have a go at it, it missed getting hooked. Still, that was a good sign and I felt like I could be in for a good time fishing the fast waters this afternoon. I was concentrating on casting the spinner into the flat waters along the opposite side of the river, they're the areas that the trout will be holding out waiting to grab anything that passes by. It wasn't all that long after seeing the first trout when another fish followed the March Brown for several meters before it turned and moved off.
Overcast, humid conditions and the perfect water level was enough for me to head over to the Meander River for a spin session. It was 6:45 when I hit the water and it wasn't all that long before I had the first trout of the morning take the #0 March Brown Bug spinner, the only problem was it tossed it as fast as it took it. Two casts later I was onto another trout, this little brown stayed on and I had the first fish of the day in the net. It's been around a month since I last fished this stretch of river and this stretch of water I'm fishing didn't give up a single fish, this was a good start to what I normally have here. The river here was perfect for casting and drifting too which was even better as It's one of my favourite ways of spin fishing. There's nothing better than watching the Mepps inline spinner drift with the flow and a trout sitting right up behind it, then it's up to me to get that trout to take the spinner.
With the river level being low I felt it was time to check it out and see if I could catch a few wild brown trout in the Gunns Plains area. The weather was going to be pretty good with patches of cloud and a temperature in the low twenties, the only problem was going to be the Easterly wind that was due sometime during the day. Today was one of my earliest starts of the season, I was in the river by 6:35 am, it was a beautiful cool peaceful morning to be in the river too. The first thing I noticed in a long, wide, deep stretch of river were trout surface feeding in quite a few areas but mainly on the shallower left hand side of the river.
As much as I wanted to do today, fast water fishing was taken off my where to fish list, I still headed to the same river and started the spin session in the slower flowing waters of the Meander River. The same waters where the river bottom is covered in green algae and brown slime, the water level was up by 40mms so that gave a little more space between the lure and the river bottom today. I was in the river by 7:10am this time, a little earlier than my last trip here, I started off using a #0 Mepps March Brown Bug spinner only to have it fouled by the green algae that was drifting down the river.
Sometimes things are never as easy as they sound, two days left in January to catch two trout to reach my 350th for the season, should be quite easy shouldn't, well it wasn't. Here's how I struggled to reach it. Never take things for granted.
As the title states, getting my 350th trout wasn't easy at all, with just two trout needed to reach it I certainly did it the hard way. Every time I get close to achieving something, for one reason or another it never comes easy for me. In a way I suppose that's a good thing, but just for once it would be nice to reach it without any hiccups along the way. Like today for instance when I headed over to one of my favourite small tannin streams where I thought it would be a simple matter catching two trout to reach the 350th trout before the end of January. Now I don't normally fish the small tannin waters at this time of the year unless we've had some decent rainfall which we did have a week ago. When I arrived at the stream I could see it was on the low side but to me it still looked good enough to hop in and catch a few trout. The tannin water was still on the dark coloured side of things which I felt would be in my favour so I started the session off with a small #00 copper Aglia Mouche Rouge inline spinner.
A cool change is on its way so I thought I had best get a spin session in before it arrives as the day goes on, this trip was close to home, it was to the Mersey River at Kimberley. It's an area I've fished for many years and it used to be a great area to fish until we had the 2016 record floods. That flood changed the majority of the Mersey River system, after the floods most of my favourite areas were completely washed away, the river was just a wide open river with five bridges destroyed or severely damaged and most of the river foliage gone. When everything settled down and I returned to fish the river it was like I was fishing a new river, the river had changed so much.
After a poor spin session in a tannin stream this morning with just one small brown trout being caught from five hookups, this afternoon I decided to give the River Leven at Gunns Plains a go. The reason I headed to this river was because it was down to a safe wading height, plus it's a river I love to fish even if it does run hot and cold with the trout. The trout can be hard to find at times and when one does come across them they can be very moody, they're either aggressive or they just sit behind the lure and tease you. Seeing as I had an angling club meeting meant it wasn't going to be a late finish, I would have to be back at the car around five thirty. It was 3:10 pm when I arrived at Gunns Plains and after a short walk it was in the river flicking a #1 Aglia Furi around in the very light tannin coloured water. It didn't take all that long before a nice medium size brown trout followed the spinner right up to where I was standing in the river. There was not a sign of aggression from it either, straight away I thought it's going to be one of those teaser days.
After being laid up for a while with a torn muscle in my back and then giving it a short two hour workout in the Mersey River yesterday in which I pulled up okay I decided I will get a spin session in again today. With rain looming in the distance I headed off to one of my favourite small tannin streams for a morning spin session in the hope of catching a few trout before it arrives. As soon as I arrived I darted over to see what the water level was like, it was running high, much higher than I thought it would have been. The 60mms of rain we had here four days ago has really lifted the water level, it was still at a safe wading height, the downside was I'll be in for a tough time finding trout in the faster flowing water. After a twenty five minute walk I was at my entry point where I started fishing for trout, my lure of choice was a #0 Mepps Aglia Fluo Phospho (white) lure. The reason I chose this lure was because of it's white coloured blade plus the Aglia blade is a wide blade that will send out plenty of vibration through the water as I retrieve it, hopefully that will be enough to attract a few trout. As I started fishing my way upstream I couldn't believe how cold the water was, it was very cold on the legs which was something I wasn't expecting today. To make matters worse I didn't wear my thermal gear today either thinking the water temperature would have been okay. Yesterday when I fished the Mersey River the water temperature was around the 12-13 degree mark, here it's only around 7-8 degrees.
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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.
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.