As a youngster, I used to get up early for the Anzac Day march every year. In my early teens, I stood around the cenotaph on a couple of occasions, rifle in hand while representing the local cadets, along with my brother. We were always told to wiggle our toes in our boots so we didn’t pass out. Which is exactly what happened to my brother one year. Given that he would flog me on a regular basis, it was both concerning and piss-funny to see him submit to forces beyond his control. Once I learned that he was ok, it was mostly just bloody funny, but also kind of cool that he ‘took one for the team’.
The past few years, I’ve made an effort to head out with mates to get up well before dawn and go for a fish. All the while, remembering those who have served, fought and died in all manners of conflict and placing great emphasis on courage, sacrifice and mate-ship.
This year, we made a last-minute dash to Little Pine Lagoon to search for some tailing fish on what would be my last hurrah for the general trout fishing season. Antics went down and a lot of fun was had – we even managed to bash out a few tunes on the guitar with improvised percussion on the pots and pans proving to be a real hoot!
After a clear, crisp night and a man down (Christo – needed some sleep!) Baz and I were up and at ’em at 4:45am. As I left my harmonica at home we were left to whistle a pretty poor version of The Last Post on the lagoon shore, as night showed signs of day. Baz pinned a poppy on his vest and we set off to search for movement in the shallows.
Action ranged from the subtleties of nervous water to fish paired up and chasing each other in the shallows. Within a half an hour or so, we had both missed fish on the dropper and noted that despite our dry flies purposefully popping under the water, fish just refused to stick. Eventually, we both scored and even had some action on the dry fly which was unexpected at this time of year but also given the fact that the edges were completely iced over!
One on the dry (Pic by Baz)
Fish were pretty small and even one of the larger specimens was a bit of an axe handle, needing a decent feed!
The weather didn’t seem too bad initially – nice and still and quite crisp but it wasn’t until a slight breeze turned up that we noticed how icy it was. The wind just ripped straight through us!
It’s all about composure (Pic by Baz)…
Another little fella returning to his mates (Pic by Baz)…
All in all it was a great way to round out a fickle season of trout fishing, with a mix of tough conditions, a spot of guiding, some great days out west with good mates and some splendid summer days on the streams. Despite many calling it this season one of the toughest or poorest in up to two decades, nothing will stop me smiling about my best fish ever from one of the most awesome wilderness environments Tasmania has to offer.
Until next season, trout.