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 ...
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Rain,hail and cool conditions were forecast today, after having a 11:15 am doctor's appointment it was a late start to the day for my planned spin session in the upper Mersey River. On the way to the river there was quite a lot of weather moving in, very low dark rain clouds weren't all that far off from where I was heading. When I got to the river there was already someone in it fishing their way upstream so I headed to another stretch of river a couple of kilometres further upstream, a stretch of water I haven't fished for around 5 years. No sooner had I arrived (12:50 pm) I only had time to put on the wading gear when heavy rain & light hail arrived, all I could do was sit in the car and wait for it to pass. After a twenty minute wait it had passed and I was out of the car heading down to the river.
Another top day here in Sheffield today with a maximum temperature of 22 degrees followed up with a gusty South Westerly later in the day, a good day to hit one of the larger rivers again. This time it was the upper reaches of the Mersey River at Weegena that I headed to for the second time this season. My last trip here was quite a while ago, that trip was a real fizzer with just the one brown trout caught and released. I arrived at 7:50am and was in the river by 7:56am, the water was running very clear so I started the session off with a Mepps #0 Stone Fly Bug spinner.
After a forty five minute drive to the Meander River this morning (6:45am) only to find the river bottom full of green cotton like algae, it wasn't worth putting the gear on to fish the area so headed back to chase the Mersey River trout. By the time I reached my entry point in the Mersey River it was 8:55 am, not the early start I had originally planned. I started the spin session off in the same area that I've fished on my last couple of trips here, mainly because it's been giving up a few trout on those trips, so while the iron's hot stick with it. The river level was down marginally since my last spin session which was good, the river bottom was still it's usual slimy, slippery self though. The first stretch of fast water I fished with the #1 Aglia Furia was the one that's given up several rainbows, today it didn't give a yelp, not a single touch from a trout.
Fine sunny weather, hardly a breeze and lower river levels gave me the opportunity to head to the upper reaches of the Mersey River at Weegena for a couple of hours of spin fishing. On my arrival (11:05 am) I found it was running a little higher than I thought it would be, good thing was it was still at a safe wading height. The water was a nice light/medium tannin colour and the water temp was sitting on 4-5 degrees which was much better than the two degrees on my last trip here. My main concern was if the trout were here and are they here in good numbers yet, or is it going to be one of those fish-less days that happens more often than not early in the season.
With the weather still being unstable and more rain forecast as the days goes on I thought it worthwhile to head to the Dasher River on private property close to home. Once there I could see the river was on the rise and running a little on the cloudy side, not enough to put me off fishing it though. After a twenty minute walk to my entry point I was soon in the river (11:15am) flicking a small #00 gold Aglia around. The water temp like the air was very low and cold, today I did wear a waterproof jacket which helped to keep my upper body warm. As I slowly made my way upstream I found the river bottom was pretty slippery and there was quite a lot of green cotton like algae covering them.
With fine weather this morning with rain forecast for later this afternoon I thought I would get a spin session in before the rain arrived. This trip was to the upper Mersey River, an area on private property and one I haven't fished for a couple of months. The reason I haven't fished here all that often this trout season is because it's a rough & tough area to get into, plus the river itself has to be one of the toughest stretches of water to fish. The rocky river bottom is always covered in a brown slime and so slippery under foot at times it's near impossible to stay upright, not only that the rocks roll underfoot. Another problem here is the water weed growth that has spread along the river making spin fishing near in possible in most stretches of water. Another reason I headed here was that I wanted to give the tannin waters a rest as well as a change of scenery, another reason for heading to the upper Mersey. It was close to 9:20 am when I arrived & parked the car on a narrow bush track on private property, then after a lot bush bashing followed by a long walk I was at the river by around 10:00am. The river was running a little higher than I had expected and still at a safe wading depth, the water was a light tannin colour, the river bottom was it's normal poor condition as I stated earlier.
Seeing as it's been around ten or eleven weeks since I've fished the upper Mersey River I thought today would be the ideal day to do it with light winds & overcast conditions forecast. Getting to the river where I'll be fishing is one that's as tough as it can get, it requires bushing bashing though dense scrub and steep hills. It's also an area than runs hot and cold with the trout fishing too, they're either on in big numbers or they're few and far between. I'm hoping it's going to be a day when the trout are out and about and full of aggression, I'm not fussed about the size as long as they are in big numbers over the one and a half kilometres of river I'll be fishing.
Calm humid conditions today that were ideal for trout fishing saw me head up to Weegena to chase the trout in the fast waters of the Mersey River. I wasn't in a rush to get there seeing it was overcast and humid, it was 8:10 am when I arrived at Weegena. From where I parked the car I had a fifteen minute walk to the fast water I was going to fish, on the way I bypassed a long wide slow flowing stretch of river that had a lot of trout surface feeding in it. There were black spinners hovering above the water surface that had quite a few trout fired up as they were leaping from the river trying to grab a few.
Dull overcast conditions and a gusty South Westerly helped me make the easy decision to fish the lower Mersey River this morning mainly because I knew it would be reasonably sheltered from the winds. It wasn't an early start either because the air temp was only eight degrees when I left home, so there was no rush to get in the river. I was on the river bank by 9:05 am and spotted several trout on the rise plus a few small jumpers as well. As always the first lure of choice was a Mepps spinner, the #0 Stone Fly Bug was what went for starters as it's the lure that's done a great job on several trips lately. I spotted a trout on the rise close to the opposite river bank so that's where the first cast headed.
With the lower back and hips not feeling all that good this morning I thought I'd have a break from river fishing for a few days to give the body time to recover from a couple of tough river trips two days ago. Then seeing how good the weather was and with some windy conditions forecast again I decided not to rest up but to go a chase a few trout in the upper Mersey River again.
After placing eight heat pads on the lower back & hips and taking a few pain killers I was on my way, this trip wasn't in the same area where I caught ten trout from eighteen hook ups a few days ago, it was further downstream from there.
The weather this morning was absolutely beautiful, probably the best day for some time with no wind, clear skies, it couldn't have been better. It was around 7:05 am when I hit the dead flat glassy crystal clear waters on the Mersey, the first thing I noticed was trout surface feeding on small Mayfly duns and midges.
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and an art worth your learning.."
Presented from Issue 112, October 2014
So said Izaak Walton in the 1600s. It seems that Burnie’s Hannah Ledger has combined angling with art rather well. Hannah is a fish fanatic, outdoor enthusiast and budding, self-taught artist. From as young as she can remember, she has always had crayon in hand, colouring book under arm and as she’s grown as a painter, jars full of paintbrushes and cupboards full of ready-to-go blank canvas’.
A country girl at heart, Hannah was schooled at Yolla District High School, a small ‘farm’ school in the states North West, then went on to Hellyer College where she was given the opportunity to really grow her art skills; And by grow, that meant skipping the classes that would probably have more an impact of getting her somewhere in life, like English and Math to spend every spare minute with the art teacher, painting or drawing.
As typical teenagers do, they make poor decisions- and after being accepted in to one of the countries top art schools, turned down the offer and decided to move to the big island, where she lived for 5 years working in what seemed ‘dead end’ retail.Read more ...