That’s Penno as in Penstock Lagoon, just to clear a ‘few’ things up.
The forecast was set and it was looking bloody cold. We had planned this for more than a week though, so not even the prospect of frostbite could sway us from the mission. Andy picks me up at 5:30am with boat in tow. It’s off to one of the coldest places in Tassie – Liawenee, well near it anyway.
Our plan was to hit Little Pine Lagoon early and hopefully see some tailers. As soon as we hit the top of the mountain there was snow, quite a bit actually and the most I have ever seen in this area. Luckily there was a snow plough (read: Tractor) clearing the road in the Miena stretch which helped our cause but the road was too hardcore from the Great Lake shop onward. We turned around and snuck back to Penstock Lagoon.
There’ s something very cool about the snow, and I’m not trying to be a smart-arse. It just adds another visual element to what you would normally absorb, and such a contrast. Everything looks soo….. um…. white. Well except for the blue Honda CRV that we saw stacked down an embankment, causing some initial concern that there maybe someone still trapped inside. It was at this point that I discovered that Ugg Boots don’t make ideal snow joggers. Luckily there was no-one in the car and it appeared that they had crashed and abandonded the car some hours or maybe even the night before.
Numb fingers aside and we rigged up the rods, loaded the boat smashed a warm milo and headed balls-deep onto Pennerz. Now Pennerz, also known as The ‘Goon and Penno (insert appropriate number if required) is not very large, about the same size as Four Springs-ish. The bonus of fishing this time of year is if there is bugger-all warmth, there is bugger-all weed. Handy. I was all set to go with a home-tied black and gold Zonker and Andy with Yeti. Before I had a chance to get any sort of rythym into my casting, Andy says… ‘It’s all in the hang, Neil reckons you gotta hang ’em out here’. I had visions of Andy desperately trying to tea-bag the icy cold water, nuts swinging in the breeze like a pirates flag! He did actually mean the flies, so hang them I did. It was about my third cast and I performed a purposeful hang at the boat when I saw a flash charge up and smash my fly off the surface, a typical dry fly strike was all that was required and we were on like donkey kong! It was only small, under two pound but very fat and very fit. I don’t personally eat many trout, but this one looked like it would eat up ok so gave it to Andy.
My confidence was up, the first real trout of the season. My thoughts start to wander away while I’m casting and stripping away, almost automatically. Replaying the take in my mind and thinking of how rad it looked… then TUG TUG! Oooh we’re away again. ‘Yep, yep, yep’ was the call. It’s funny how some people react when they hook a fish and need to let their companion know. I tend to let my excitement turn into consecutive ‘yeps’ while others might casually hook a fish, play it for a few seconds then decide to grab their companions attention by saying, ‘Oh it’s not too bad’. (Singers comes to mind here!). More often than not though, there’s a lot of ooohs and aaahs.
I bought this fish to hand and noticed its munted head immediately. Not sure what the hell was going on, but it sort of had two bottom jaws. A typical Tassie trout you may say? Yeah well pipe down ya parrot, I’m talking. It was a brownie of only 2.5lbs or so but pretty slabby condition and just a hideous looking beast. Still I was quite happy to catch it, and its freaky exterior obviously doesn’t impede on it’s function to chase down a feed, so I slipped him back in the drink.
While it’s all coming together for me and warming my hands, Andy hasn’t quite hit his straps. I give him the Eddy-style treatment, ‘You right, you right mate, you want a roll, wanna get up the front, you want a milo…’. There’s no doubt about it, he’s got that glimmer of confidence in his eyes, maybe it’s the retrieve, maybe it’s the fly? Who knows, sometimes you just have ‘them days’. My day was cruising like a Hybrid Prius with no sound. Until I heard that next fish splash on the surface. ‘It’s a rainbow!!!’. A healthy ‘bow begins to drag some line about and perform some acrobatic work for our viewing pleasure.
Size-wise, it was a carbon copy of the first brown trout so I decided to give that one to Andy for a feed also. The scrawny little Pakistani looked like he could do with a cut-lunch or four. We flogged about for another couple of hours for very little action, well apart from a few dents in the prop and a potential collision-induced-gearing problem with Andy’s Yammy, forcing us to row ashore. Nevertheless, we got off our asses fished in the snow and I caught a Triple Penno. Sorted.