Illawarra Flyfishers Club




In February 2005 a team of 4 members of the Illawarra Fly Fishers Club were invited to compete in the Tasmanian One Fly Competition held at Bronte Lagoon. The team consisted of Eddie Melinz (who initiated the invite), Stephen Chatterton, Ron Williams and Leo Harding. To our amazement we won the teams event of this competition and we all agreed that we had to front up again in 2006 to defend the title. Well, that what we all said to our prospective wives to justify a return trip.

The same awesome foursome made the return trip in 2006 and we were again very welcomed by Paul Burrows (Rabbit) and Graham Blight the organizers of the event. In fact, Rabbit made space in his burrow at Bronte Lagoon for us to bunk down for time of our stay. Many thanks to Rabbit and Val (partner) for their generosity and hospitality.
We arrived in Hobart mid morning in time to pick up a hire car, drive to the city to pick up some food, one or two drinks and a fishing licenses, before we made the two and a half hour drive to Bronte Lagoon. We had one full day fishing before the competition commenced to test what fly to use in the competition. Stephen managed to catch 6 fish prior to the competition and the rest of us were still hoping for our first strike, so that made the fly choice a little difficult for most of us.

Day one and we all agreed that no much action was evident on the surface and the weather was cool to cold, overcast with the occasional shower, we all opted to use woolly buggers or nymphs. Rabbit and his neighbor provided us with two 12 foot aluminum boats with 2.5 and 3hp motors and this put us on even par with most other contestants as fishing from a boat is the general rule.

The competition consisted of 3 sessions on Saturday and one on Sunday morning. We all fished lock style from the boat using a drogue to slow down the drift of the boat. The competition was based on a points system on the length of fish and at the end of the third session the IFF Team was just in the lead. At this stage, Graham Blight made a plea to all Tasmanians competitors and it went something like this. “Come on you Tasmanian, the
NSW team are back to defend the title and they are doing a bloody good job of that as they are currently in the lead”. The last session for us was really a non event and we all came home with a duck except Stephen. The weather conditions improved and the locals seemed to fish well in these conditions. In fact, I suggest the locals only generally fish in good conditions and have difficulty fishing the poor conditions. I was really hoping for the weather to remain the same – unpleasant for people and pleasant for fish. The IFF team came second in the team’s event and we were all pleased with this result. I caught the second most number of fish overall in the competition caught just one less than Leo albeit that overall his fish were bigger.

Rabbits place was not only the meeting point for all competitors but it was the social venue where competitors enjoyed a meal or two (included in the competition fee) and beer or three. Saturday afternoon there was a casting competition where Steve Chatterton came second and on Saturday night there were various auctions of fly fishing tackle from donations from sponsors etc.

After the competition we all stayed on to fish Bronte Lagoon, Little Pine Lagoon and Double Lake (western lakes system) where we caught a dozen or so nice fish. One day we fished Little Pine and Double Lake and the weather was just excellent. You get only a handful of good days each year at these places and it was fantastic to be there on such good day. Rabbit caught a 3lb brown on an emerger at Little Pine and Steve caught a 2lb brown polaroiding at Double Lake. We saw 6 or 7 large trout in a shallow land locked backwater but they were spooky. Here we thought we were in some isolated part of New Zealand.

Ron and I stayed on two extra days so we went to St Helens on the north east cost and fished for bream on fly. I had a fantastic time polaroiding bream using a BMS fly and long leaders to catch around 8 bream to 37cm. I must have pricked or had an early release on another 10 or so as timing the strike was critical and I should have used the strip strike more often to improve the hook up rate.
Leo Harding

Leo with a better than average Bronte brown.

Ron with a typical Bronte brown

The runners up with gifts of single malt from lark Distillery. Stephen had already given his gift to the team from Qld.

Eddy at Little Pine

Stephen with a golden brown polaroided

at Double Lagoon.

Leo with a St. Helens bream.