WARRYN GERMON - Alexandra, Victoria
I settled in Alexandra soon after the new Eildon Weir was built. In
those days I used to go trolling for the sometimes large trout or "bob' for
redfin among the drowned trees.
As soon as I saw a good sized trout caught from what I thought was a ridiculously small stream, I decided this was for me. My early forays were undertaken with a small threadline outfit and live bait like worms and grasshoppers.
This was good grounding for me, as I learned where the trout liked to
feed in the pools and to this day I often have to remind myself to drive the
hook home after the fly is taken. No trouble with being too fast on
I took up fly fishing in the 1960s, starting with a cane rod I built from a blank and I believe an Aircell floating line. I had always released most of the fish I caught simply because I didn't like them to eat. There was never any temptation to try other means to catch fish. Once I started fly fishing for trout I gave up all other methods.
I "progressed" to fibreglass rods and later to graphite, although I had some difficulty handling the new material.
I tied my own flies and in the early days had a lot of help from a fellow called Peter Austin, the station master at Alexandra for some time. He had formerly been a professional fly tyer. My flies in those days were fairly crude but effective and I seldom bought flies.
After my retirement some 15 years ago, I fished most days it was possible to fish and because of this I have almost reached the point where I seldom use anything but a dry fly. The exception was when I fished the clear, slow streams of the Monaro area when they were producing quality fish. There I liked nothing better than to put a lightly dubbed #14 nymph in the path of a sighted trout and watch them take it on the drop. I still sometimes use a caddis pupa pattern while waiting for the evening rise but mostly prefer to sit and wait. There is a lot to learn just sitting by a stream.
With retirement I could combine fishing with my passion for bushwalking and spent a lot of time fishing the remote lakes of Tasmania's Central Plateau. I have learned a lot about finding and catching those lake fish over the years and also the area. My pack-in trips are usually for periods of four to ten days.
My first trip to Tasmania I fished at Little Pine Lagoon and I was amazed by the number of duns and the fish taking them. While the locals were catching fish I was having no success at all. After two fishless days I decided that I needed a change of tactics. Instead of fishing the morning hatch, I went down to the shore and carefully studied the local dune then went back to camp and set up the tying gear I always carried.
I created three paraduns. Not the crude attempts of the past but a new pattern with black wing post (which I still use), brown hare's fur, a ginger hackle and whisks.
Back down for the dun hatch in the afternoon and success at last! Four fish during the hatch and a further two at dusk, which were mopping up the cripples along the grassy edges.
This success re-kindled my interest in fly tying and let to many new patterns which I use today and will publish on this site from time to time.
My own patterns are copied from the natural insect rather than named flies but I still use flies such as a Royal Wulff or Red Tag when indulging in my other passion of fishing up in the overgrown headwaters of the smaller streams.
I like a light rod with a middle to tip action and find this in a Thomas & Thomas 5 weight which I use in Tasmania and a similar 4 weight for the larger rivers. For small streams I like a little 7'6" Penn 4 weight but I do own a little 5'3" 4 weight in fibreglass for the really tight water.
I hope that my input into this site will be of benefit to others and that I too will learn from the other contributors and feedback from the public.
I have never considered guiding or any other commercial aspect of fly-fishing.
My concern was always, "What do you do when you retire from fishing?"