Iíve had the good fortune of visiting Tasmania twice in the first two months of 2005. The first trip was a 12 day holiday with my family, which doubled up as a reconnaissance mission for the One Fly Competition fishing trip in February 2005. We spent some time with the relations in Hobart before setting off to Lake St Clare, Cradle Mountain and then the East Coast of the State. The following is about my experience fishing for bream at St Helens on the north East Coast of Tasmania.
Peter Morse was the guest speaker at the Illawarra Fly Fishers Club meeting in November 2005. Peter spoke about the untouched salt water fishery in the estuaries on the east coast of Tasmania and the huge bream that habitat these areas. Peter immediately has my full attention and I asked many questions such as where, what fly, tippet size etc. Peter spoke of his experience in a recent trip there, with people fishing with bait and others swimming nearby and still the bream were in view to catch on fly. I just picked up the FlyLife magazine number 39 Autumn 2005 to find Peterís ďGone SouthĒ article, which is a repeat of his presentation at the IFF club meeting.
We had planned to stay for two nights at St Helens and I knew I had to find the estuary quickly so I could maximise the short fishing time available as well as keeping the rest of the family entertained for some of the time. The afternoon we arrived a strong north east wind which made polaroiding impossible and I was not sure if I had found the location where bream could be found. I saw some small spooky bream in a pocket out of the wind but I soon gave up with the hope of getting better weather the next day. I was back at 9am the next morning and I was stoked to find many huge bream straight away. I tied on an unweighted white BMS fly (that I purchased for a template so I could tie my own) and within minutes I had a bream smash my fly on 7lb fluorocarbon tippet and it snapped me off within seconds. Now was the time to see if my own white BMS fly was going to work and it was not long before I saw a bream around 1.5lb take the fly in no more than 300mm water. This time I let it run before landing it and letting it go. The bream were very spooky and a real challenge but I found that picking out two bream away from the main school was the best way. I was able to land the fly in the direction they were moving and when they discovered the fly, they both raced each other for it. I end up catching 5 bream, pricked two and got busted once in two and a half hours. This was the first time I used my new BFR fly reel and I was very excited with the results.
I wished I had someone with me to sight the bream as I spooked many fish because I nearly walked on them but I had one of the best estuary fishing days ever. My thanks to Peter Morse for his advise and I was really pissed off that I could not make Peterís presentation in February at the Illawarra Flyfishers Club meeting due to work commitments. I suppose one has to make up time at work when you have two trips to Tasmania.
Look for the write up on my second trip to Tasmania with 3 others from the IFF, written by Stephen Chatterton.