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 ...
After having such a great fast water spin session a few days ago I headed back to the Meander to have another crack at getting a double figure catch. This time it was a mid morning start, a morning that had clear skies, light breeze and a temperature of 22 degrees later in the day.
It was 9:45 am when I hit the river above the Chestnut Road Bridge to fish a long nice stretch of fast water, the first thing I noticed was green algae covering the most of the river bottom. Soon as I had seen that I knew then and there it wasn't going to be a good day on the trout here. I did fish around four hundred meters of river without seeing a trout so headed back to the car and drove to the fast waters in the upper Meander River.
The weather today was supposed to be fine and windy with rain due later in the day, well it was 2:00pm and the sky was still clear, there was hardly any wind blowing so I headed off for a spin session. This trip was to the upper reaches of the Meander River to fish the fast water, a long stretch of water that holds quite a few trout at this time of the year. It was 3:40 PM when I hit the river that was running clear and in full sun which didn't bother me all that much, as the day goes on it will be shaded by the trees and foliage that line both sides of the river.
A cool morning with light drizzle, what a top day to head of for a spin session, yes you guessed it I was on my way to the Meander River again to have another spin session in the fast water. When I arrived (7;35am) the drizzle had gone but it was still quite cool with heavy cloud cover which made it near impossible to see the river bottom. On heavy overcast days the cloud cover acts like a mirror on the water and polarised sunglasses don't work either, they're okay in close to the river bank with the cover of foliage but that's as far as it goes. Any way I started the morning off using a copper #00 Aglia Mouche Noire and picked up a small brown mid stream in the first five minutes, just the start I was wanted. The river was down a little since my last trip here six days ago which was good as it meant the trout should be well spread out across the river.
Finally the weather arrived that I've been wanting for quite some time now, a day with light drizzle and very humid conditions were here at last. Even though I was up at 5:00 am I was a little slow of the mark before heading off to the Meander River. By the time I put a dozen heat patches on the old body & loosened up it was 6:10 am when I was in the '' Trout Stalker 2 '' and on my way to the river.
Today my plan was to head to the fast water runs, one of the toughest stretches of water one can fish in the upper reaches of the river. It's a very long rocky fast water that tests the best of any river fisher, a fast water full of very slippery rocks/boulders that has sent many trout fisho's home much earlier than they would have liked. As tough as it is on the body the upper Meander River fast water is at the top of my favorites list to chase brown trout. I was in the river by 7:05 am and found it was running a little higher than I preferred, this meant it was going to be that much harder work fishing my way upstream.
Seeing as it's a new year and I haven't wet a line since the 24th December I thought it was time to go and have a session in a river this morning. I left home at first light and on the way I saw a fiery sunrise, one that was bright orange due to the air being filled with smoke from bush fires here in Tasmania as well as the mainland bush fires.
Here I was heading off chasing trout in a river when there are people battling to save homes as well as their lives, it really makes one think how lucky many of us are. My thoughts go out to all of those people as well as the volunteers who have and are still being effected by those horrific bush fires around Australia. I arrived at the Meander River just before 6:30am in what was a beautiful cool morning, the river was running clear and at an ideal wading height, all I needed was the trout to be here and in an aggressive mood.
Thanks to Anglers Alliance Tasmania stalwart John Broomby for initiating discussion with two landowners at Porters Bridge on the Meander River near Westbury. As a result anglers access has now been established to 4km of river up and downstream of a newly created parking area on the southern side of the bridge. Ideal for bait fishing with a lightly weighted worm in spring or a grasshopper later in the season and lure casting with small hard bodies the river has deep pools interspersed with rock riffles. Steep banks in places make access challenging but the sheltering trees and quiet ambience make the effort worthwhile. As always please respect the generosity of the landowners and do the right thing!
Another mild overcast day had me heading off to the Meander River chasing trout and if they weren't there then I'd shoot on over to Western Creek and give that a go on the way home. It wasn't an early start this morning by any means, by the time I arrived and had a 1.5 kilometre walk to the river it was just on 8:35am. As I approached the river I could see it was running nice and clear but the river bottom wasn't looking good for spin fishing, it was covered in green algae. The fishing was pretty slow going with no signs of a trout and with the little Mepps gold black fury continually becoming fouled with the algae it wasn't looking good.
Read more: Chasing trout in the Meander River and a small creek
I headed off to the Meander River to catch trout number 500 today, something I thought would come nice and quick in the river. Thing is I was pretty slack in getting up to start with and I wasn't in the river until 9:30am after a 1.5 km walk, the sun was well up and full on the clear water. Still feeling confident that my favourite river would give up the fish required I was quick in starting the session of with a Mepps Aglia Furia in a nice free flowing medium stretch of river. Twenty minutes later I still hadn't seen a fish, no follows, just nothing, there wasn't a fish in that beautiful stretch of water. I tried a variety of spinners & even hard body lures, still nothing. I continued spin fishing my way upstream giving the Okuma Helios SX20 reel & Okuma Celilo 6'6'' ULS 1-3kg trout rod a good workout all to no avail, still no signs of any trout. It wasn't until 10:30am when I drew a nice brown out of a shaded area on the left hand side of the river, that trout was only half interested before it turned and moved off. Seeing that trout did give me some hope of catching one here today after all.
Calm, mild overcast conditions had me heading back to have another crack chasing trout in the rocky fast waters of the Meander River. I hit the river at 7:40 am to find it was a little lower than my last trip here, it still had plenty of water coming down. Like most of my trips of late I started off with the lure that keeps on keeping on even though it's now very much worse for wear, the copper blade Mepps #0 Aglia Mouche Noire was the lure.
I only intended to fish a five/six hundred meter stretch of river then move to another area two or so kilometres further downstream. The area I fished was perfect for the cast & drift method and it wasn't very long before I had the first trout hooked and landed. The trout were here but they weren't overly aggressive to start with, they were just nipping at the spinner. I stayed with the copper Mouche Noire lure and by the time I had reached the area I was finishing up I had caught a total of six small browns from nine hookups.
After having around 50 injections in my lower back, hips and left shoulder blade I felt good enough to hit the fast water on the Meander River. Before I left home I put several stick on heat patches on my lower back & took a couple of pain killers as well. Any way I arrived at Meander in thick fog, got the trout wading gear on and headed off to the river. When I arrived at the area I was going to fish I found the river was running a too little high and fast for my liking.
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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.