I have just returned from the Fyans Fly In at Lake Fyans with MadDog. It seems that I haven't payed my fly fishing dues yet as I blanked yet again. However, many valuable lessons were learnt.
Mark Gibbs from Gisbourne, an ex Preston member famous for tipping a bucket of fish guts onto Ken Ely, showed us how to polaroid fish the shallows. This was an intriguing technique I thought only worked in Tasmania, well, at least the way he did it. Mark doesn’t fish any other way which sounded a bit extreme. But lo and behold, it works on any lake which has reasonable shallows, say 20 or more metres in width where the water is about one metre deep, relatively clear and you can easily see the trout against the lake bottom. Fyans is perfect for this as much of the shallows are sandy and trout stand out really well. Mark spotted over 30 fish on Friday and caught five. We tried the technique on Saturday but only saw a turtle after three solid hours. Later on that day I found that neither did Mark – he said Saturday was a terrible polaroiding day and he only saw two fish. This demonstrates lesson two – what works one day may not work the next. Apparently Fyans is best fished in northerly winds if you want to see fish in the shallows. Saturday a southerly moved in and the barometer dropped considerably.
Sunday we met local legend and four time winner of the Fly In, Bob Stapley http://www.araratadvertiser.com.au/story/1885282/bob-stapleys-record-breaking-haul/. His fly fishing technique involved finding fish in deep water on the Saturday. Being clued into the lake and the effect of the low pressure and southerly wind, Bob knew the fish would be out deep. He found the fish with his depth sounder and only after seeing them on screen did he cast his 7 inch per second sinking line in amongst them. He said he starts stripping immediately so the fly follows a curve downward and then upward. His fly looked like a light brown tom jones with black rabbit fur on top. This technique scored him two trout. We spoke with him at length after the competition and I hope to fish with him again. He was one of those guys who could write an encyclopaedia on these waters. I suppose this lesson shows that when there is no surface activity, you need to whack on your DI7 and get that fly down deep. Does this mean you have no hope without a boat in such conditions because you really can’t get that deep from shore? Who knows! Bob also stressed the importance of fibreglass boats over aluminium ones. He said aluminium boats make too much noise as the waves hit them and this scares the fish. He insists fishing from a kayak is also more productive as the smaller shape produces less shadow and the fibreglass body reduce the sounds of waves hitting the hull. I find the size issue hard to believe as the shadow cast by a kayak is still enormous.
If I had my time over, I would have searched around lots of trees down deep (4m) with a fast sinking line and let it get right down there. We never did that. We fished water consistently under 3m deep. I was near the bottom of the patches we were drifting through as I was pulling up the odd bit of weed.
In order to take my fishing to the next level i.e. catching a lake trout on a public water, I have decided to give up all drinking of alcohol until I catch a 700 gram minimum trout on fly. This, no doubt, will save me a lot of money and improve my health considerably. Plus it will force me out at nights on these sort of trips when the pleasure of an easing ale is unavailable.
MadDog fished with worms that drifted at various depths behind the boat. We are now worried that the shadow of the boat scared off any potential bites. But he also spent a lot of time casting various lures of various sizes and weight at various depths right around the boat as we drifted around. We figured drifting has got to be the quietest most unobtrusive way to fish but there was no success for him either.