Fishing has always held a prominent place in my life. Initially my fishing was with my parents, so the target species were king george whiting and garfish, which were destined for the table. From my teens onwards my choice of target species became more sports orientated so I have fished for a wide range of species including the game fishes. Fishing with my parents was always bait fishing except for trolling for Australian salmon, however as I fished independently I moved towards lure fishing, both cast and trolled.
In the late 70ís I dabbled in salt water fly fishing, learning to tie flies and fish for the local species. I had an interest in trout fishing and acquired some of the materials to tie flies but did little to progress this aspect of the sport, as I believed that there was little trout fishing available in South Australia. Consequently my fishing activity remained largely in the game fishing or live-baiting for mulloway and the like.
During early 1998 I was moving towards fly-fishing for trout and the TV series, A River Somewhere, provided the impetus and I have now reached the point where fly-fishing is the only method and trout are the only target species.
My first foray into fly-fishing for trout was to buy some gear and head for Jamieson for a weeks fishing. My son and I had a great time but caught few trout as we hadnít learnt to cast before the trip and had no knowledge of stream craft, however I was hooked and my inventory of fly-fishing gear has expanded at an alarming rate. On that first trip I acquired some more materials for tying trout flies and that aspect of the sport has got somewhat out of control.
During late 1999 I joined South Australian Fly Fishers Association and learned that there was indeed some quite good fishing to be had in my home state. In 2002 I first fished the Monaro streams and fell in love with the area and itís trout, unfortunately drought has been a feature of the entire time of my association with this area. I have also fished a few areas in Victoria and fished the western lakes in Tasmania on one occasion. The majority of my fishing revolves about my local waters as I have arranged my life to allow 2 or 3 days on the water each week and I also have the flexibility in my work to fish during the week.
Most of my fishing in South Australia is in waters where subsurface methods are the dominant theme, while my interstate forays are generally to waters where dry fly is the predominant method. From my earliest attempts at fly-fishing I have had an intense interest in the insects available in the waters I fish so my tying has become imitative rather than lure orientated.
Nymphs would predominate in my fly box when fishing in South Australia so I have tried many tying styles to attempt to design the perfect nymph. During the first couple of years I tended to tie in wing cases, legs and any other feature I thought would enhance the fly, however I found that I was getting a better response to more suggestive tyings. I eventually acquired a copy of Tying and Fishing the Fuzzy Nymphs, by E. H. ďPollyĒ Rosborough, which seemed to support my observations so my nymphs are tied scruffy so they present a vague outline.
I also have a fondness for some of the historic flies and usually carry a box with a selection of traditional wets and some soft hackled wets, these flies still catch fish and on some occasions out-perform the more modern dressings.
When dry fly fishing I predominantly use parachute styles for the duns or emerger patterns which cover the transition from nymph or pupa to adult.
Natural materials feature strongly in most of my tying with synthetics being used to provide a highlight or accent. I favour sealís fur as a dubbing for nymphs and some of the modern dries, but I have been experimenting with kangaroo fur with some added synthetics to create very effective dubbings. In my dubbings I will usually use a blend of colours rather than a single dyed colour, as I believe that they are more attractive to the fish.
My favourite type of fishing is to sighted fish whether they are feeding at the surface or subsurface, but I will fish the water where appropriate. Although blind flogging, as some fly fishers describe it, can be very effective I tend to go looking for signs of a fish or have a rest until something starts to happen.
My favourite waters are anywhere with trout and pleasant
surroundings; solitude plus interesting geology, flora and fauna certainly add
to the enjoyment of fly-fishing.
I enjoy fishing alone or with company but definitely try to avoid crowds.