Mick Hall's kossiedun.com.au - a fly tyer's journey
You could say fishing has been a part of my life from a very
young age, with my Grandfather taking me on some of his forays after mullet
in the Mordialloc Creek before I started school. I was born and grew up in
South Camberwell, just a hop and a step away from Gardiners Creek, which was
my stamping ground for all my school years.
About the time I started Technical School I started haunting the tackle shops in Melbourne, particularly Alcock and Pierce, where I met Lance Wedlick, who was manager at the time. Lance introduced me to the Ormond Angling Club which I joined and also started me on the flytying trail. It wasn`t long before he had me tying simple streamers for a lure-maker of the time. I took my first “fly caught” trout with the club when I was 15, using a home built cane rod more suitable for bait fishing and a second-hand reel complete with a very battered silk line.
From there I went on to tie commercially for quite a period up to
the late 60s. A move to Scoresby, a quiet time for a while, was followed by
another step on to Gladysdale in the Little Yarra Valley in 1983, which
fired things up again. During this period I fished the Yarra and Little
Yarra quite a bit, with a few trips to the Upper Thompson. I also got
involved with the Upper Yarra Anglers as there were a few fly fishermen in
the club. This was when my hopper pattern and bead eye mudeye evolved, both
proving very popular.
Another move in 1998 brought me to my present location at Nicholson on the Gippsland Lakes. It was here I met John Webb of Tambo Fine Feathers, who helped stir my interest in Classic Salmon flies. With this entire feather material at hand there was no excuse not to get into it.
Fishing-wise I mostly fish for Bream these days (fly rod in the
boat, of course) with occasional trips to the Dargo and Omeo areas after
trout. One of my favourite flies for the summer being what I call the
Mitta Hopper, which I designed for John Webb to imitate the big
yellow-winged hopper that is in large numbers in the area.
After my wife’s death in 2004 and being a bit down, Webby encouraged me to enter the Mustad Competition in which I managed a couple of Bronze and a few diplomas, which gave me a boost. Since then I’ve had another Bronze and Silver and numerous diplomas. I found that entering comps gave me good grounding in the Salmon Fly area as the only flies I had for comparison were a couple of Andrew Overton’s that were hanging up on the wall at Tambo Feathers. I`ve also become involved in an online forum which has also been very helpful in a lot of ways, giving me the opportunity to meet and make friends with a lot of people overseas with the same interests in flies, even if I never get to meet them personally.
At present I concentrate mainly on Salmon Flies which I frame for sale, Rangeley-type streamers from the Maine area of the USA and any and sundry older patterns of any type. However, I still keep my hand in with trout, bass and estuary flies, tying for a couple of shops and for anyone who wants a few.