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Posts Tagged ‘19 lagoons’

Fly-Fishing Comradery…

February 17th, 2012 No comments

After writing my previous blog I set off for Lake Burbury. It was useless. The tea coloured water was extremely low and the total lack of weed beds or features made it very difficult to read. After a few hours fishing I left the lake and spent the next few days touring the Northwest of Tasmania. It’s a stunning place with the hilliest and windiest roads I have driven. This was not easy in Sean’s car. It was as if one wheel did the steering and dragged the other one around the bends!! Might have been something to do with the cv joint. It was ticking away in a sort of rhythmical beat the whole time but it could only be heard on tar seal.  Granville Harbour and Strahan were the highlights.

Meeting people is a common by catch of fly fishing. I met a fella called Ras on the side of the Great Lake a while back. We got talking and he invited me to join him and his friends on a 4 day mission into the Tazzy backcountry to an area I had not yet been to. Naturally I accepted.

After a 4 hour hike we made camp for 4 days. The fish were small and difficult but we all had a few each day. After the first full day fishing the plan was to have fish for dinner but everyone put their fish back in the hope of catching a better one. Ras had a never fail plan though. After dinner he went ball deep in the lake and got one on a spinner. We ate it raw with soy and wasabi.

On day 2 and 3 we covered shitloads of miles over difficult terrain, we explored looking for good water but we didn’t find it. The place is spectacular, truly wild and unspoiled, so much so that the frustration of not catching didn’t bother me as much as it usually would. However catching fish is the reason I’m here so after a fishless day I went out for a night fish and had some good action on lumo flies.

After a day on the lake in this wilderness it’s always a pleasure to get back to camp and chat with the rest of group to see how everyone got on. Wine, sambuca, whiskey, or whatever else people bring in all add to the craic and bring out all sorts of stories. It’s a shame there’s such a strict fire ban out here because camping is not camping without a fire. Once Paul, Hair and I turned on the red light function on our headlamps and put them under some small sticks to give the illusion of fire. It worked. Better than nothing anyway.

On the last day Ras and I teamed up and fished a number of lakes over the 5 hour walk back to the truck. Fishing with a pack on is tough going and generally I do what I can to avoid it. Sometimes you have to and in this instance it was worth it. I spotted a brown cruising slowly near the surface on what was the most beautiful lake I had seen in my few days in the bush. I threw off my pack as the sun went behind a cloud and lost sight of the fish. He rose but I couldn’t see him. I put my dry to the left of the boil and within a few seconds the 3lber sipped it down. I had another chance a little later in a shallow sandy bay but in my haste my pack got stuck on my fly vest. I was about 5 seconds too late getting into position and lost visual. I didn’t make a blind cast in case I’d spook the fish. There was always a chance he could reappear. He didn’t.

To Ras the doctor, Mike the farmer, Hugh the artist, Pete the… sorry Pete I cant remember! and Simon the maths teacher. It was a pleasure to get to know you all. And hi to the 2 Donegal men we met on the way in, It was great to meet people who actually read this!

Since the backcountry mission I’ve had a few days on the water and the fishing seems to be improving. Today Hair and I had 11 on one of the 19 Lagoons. Yesterday Paul, a copper from Geelong and myself had 7 on the Great Lake fishing blind with dries. Paul was part of a gang of anglers from Victoria staying across the road from me. Rob and Tommy cleaned up on the lake with 20 or so fish. Glenn and Stu also did well. I had dinner with all these lads on their last night and I was well buckled by the end of it. Thanks fella’s! See you all next year…

Ronan..

A Swedish Wasp in Tasmania…

January 23rd, 2012 No comments

The Tasmanian Highlands is one of those places where as soon as you arrive, you breath out, stress gone, nothing to worry about here. My appreciation for this place is as much for the people and the way of life as it is for the fly fishing. People visit each other here. Not a text or facebook, but a visit in person. Quite often a number of people visit the same house at the same time, totally unplanned, and the outcome generally means the planned early start on the water becomes a late one! The one thing everybody has in common here is fly fishing. Just about everybody fly fishes, locals and tourists alike and this I believe brings the people together.

I’m getting back on top of the fishing after a slow start. I mentioned in my last blog that I thought other methods would work well and I still believe that, However, dry fly fishing is the way forward here. It’s all about spotting a cruising trout and making him come to the surface to eat your fly. A nymph might be better at times but I want to catch them on dries, at least that’s how I feel here in the central highlands.

While in NZ, Stefan gave me a beautifully tied and constructed Swedish balsa wood wasp pattern. I put the fly in my box without giving much consideration to when I’d use it. 4 days ago I had none of my Tassie beetle patterns tied, so I was looking for inspiration. “The wasp” I thought, “Perfect!” I put it on the point and before long a 4lb brown sipped it down. Terrestrials are essential here.  On the 19 lagoons and farther out into the wilderness I find them better than dun patterns. Beetles in particular, I see them on the water every day in good numbers so it makes sense. Colour is less important than silhouette. I have never seen a wasp on the water here but from the time I put the wasp on, 8 out of the next 10 fish ate it, (I fish 2 dries) then I left it in a fish. What makes this fly so good? I’m not sure but I think it generally looks like food. Terrestrial food! Stefan, please send me one or 2 more!!

My day consists of heading out to the Western Lakes, usually the 19 lagoons which are accessible from a rough track. I look at my map and make a plan for the day which often changes as the day progresses. The terrain between lakes is tough going. Stumbling over tussocks and spiky plants is the order of the day. A few days ago I walked a few Ks of river which took me over some of the toughest terrain I’ve ever walked. I fell down about 10 deep river eroded holes hidden by tussock. I think the risk of breaking a leg down a hole is far greater than being bitten by a snake. By the end of the day a cold beer always goes down well. 8 fish was the most I had in a day so far and my worst day was a blank! Today I had 3. A 2lber, an impeccably conditioned 4lber and my best Tasmanian fish to date, a 5.5lber. 4 lakes for 3 fish in about 5ks in 7hours. Aside from falling in and then feeling the wind chill it was a great day to be alive!

Don Ogden, A fly fisherman on a break from the sport, has kindly put me up for a while, so in the evenings I have a place to kick back, tie flies, write blogs, drink beer, eat spuds, enjoy visitors, etc.. Thank you very much Don!

Fish hard. Stuntman Ronan..