Illawarra Flyfishers Club

February 2010


In February my wife Annette and I went on a holiday to Tasmania to visit her sister in Hobart and I am blessed to have a wife that really likes to road trip around the state and doesn’t mind if I happen to pack a fly rod or two. We flew into Hobart and picked up a hire car and headed off to see a friend Paul Burrow (Rabbit) at Old Beach to finalise arrangements for a boys fishing weekend away at his shack at Bronte Lagoon. It was then off to Launceston for two nights and next to St Helens on the East Coast where there are some fantastic estuaries that I have fished several times, where I love to fish for a bream on fly.Leo's bream

Polaroiding for bream is what I love to do but getting a still, clear day in Tasmania is a real lucky dip and I had to deal with fine but overcast conditions. This small estuary was open to the sea and the only bream that I managed to see, saw me as well. Fishing with a white BMS fly and a floating line, I found some real thumping bream on the creek outlet to the sea, most of which was no more than knee deep, with the exception of one deep hole. After spending some time fishing the lagoon without success, I headed to the estuary outlet where I found that by casting a fly towards the deeper pool and letting the fly drift out with the tide into the deeper pool produced the results. I caught three bream using this method when I got hammered by the best fish of the day, which headed for the only snag in the area. In the gin clear water I could see this fish heading for the snag when I had no option but to hang on and try to stop its run. Unfortunately the fly released and I found that the hook had straightened out. It was one monster of a bream but I was still happy with the results of the day.

We arrived in Hobart on Day 6 and after spending one night with the in laws, I headed off the next morning to catch up with Rabbit at Old Beach, where we set off for Bronte Lagoon for two nights. What gets anyone’s blood pumping is fishing for tailing trout on first light and Bronte is one of the waterways that has a reputation for this form of fishing. We set the alarm for 4:30am and by 5am we had our headlamps on to see our way on the bush track to reach the long shore at Bronte. At this shore you can actually walk out 30 metres and be only knee deep in water and the trout feed in the shallows and in between the tussocks before the light exposes them to any predators. In the twilight we had our eyes glued on the first one to two metres of the shoreline looking for tailing trout but it was a bit quite so we casted a No. 16 Zulu dry fly out about 2 – 3 metres from the shore in anticipation. After 15 minutes a fish in the 4lb mark took my fly and I just can’t believe I did not hook up! The timing was good, or did I strike a fraction early? Then Rabbit did the same. I moved up a little further when I saw a fish feeding a few metres out. The fly was only sitting on the water a few seconds when the trout took the fly and I had a solid hook up. It was only around one and a half pounds but exciting to catch. I am back in the water in no time when I saw a tailing trout in 300mm of water. My fly landed near the fish but it turned to feed in the other direction. I re-casted in a prime position but the fish was feeding on snails on the bottom (and its massive tail was waving out of the water, hence the term tailing trout). I could feel my heart beating double time. After a few minutes of praying for the trout to take my fly the sun popped from behind the hill and the trout headed for the deeper water. Bugger! Even though I did not catch this fish it was exhilarating to see a tailing fish at your feet and I was thrilled to have caught one fish. Rabbit pricked one fish before we headed home for breakfast


Leo Harding