Trout Fishing in Tasmania
●On December 23
The Qantas jet took off from the domestic airport in Sydney , and after circling over the city of Sydney , it turned toward south-west to Tasmania .
Tasmania , to the south of the Australia mainland , is an island as big as Hokkaido in Japan . The population is less than 500,000 (200,000 population in Hobart and 100,000 population in Launceston) . The main industries are mining mineral resources and raising livestock .
After a two hour flight , I arrived at Hobart Airport , a small , one story building . The lobby was crowded with people who had come to meet friends or see them off . Roger was the tallest one there . He wore a blue , long sleeve shirt , and had a beard which covered most of his face . He was my fishing partner in Tasmania .
After an initial greeting , we got into his Mitsubishi Pajero . He loaded my baggage into the trunk , and we headed off to his cabin .
Cliff Top Cabin
For the first half hour , the road was paved and gently sloped , but for the last half hour , it became steep , windy and unpaved , only reachable by 4WD . Finally we reached his cabin , named Cliff Top Cabin because it is right on the cliff .
It is surrounded by eucalyptus trees , and we can look back down the vast hill , the winding road which we had been driving receding into the distance.
The cabin has no electricity or running water . This means there is no television set or telephone , and no facilities to connect with the outside . The only sounds to be heard are that of rustling eucalyptus leaves and animals crying .
The water we are using is saved by the big cylindrical tank that the rain drips into from the roof . It is purified , so we can drink it directly . It is very tasty ! Roger says the Tasmanian sky is the clearest in the world . Surprisingly however , the cabin has a flushing toilet !
When cooking , Roger uses the propane . Roger has a portable cooking stove with two spouts , and cooks very well with it . The lighting in the cabin is provided by the gas lanterns . It is very bright inside .
I had been worried about the shower at the cabin because there was no electricity or running water . I had asked Roger a couple of times by e-mails , and he said it was okay .
After taking dinner , shower time came . Roger began boiling water in a kettle !
The shower room was in the west corner of the first floor . When I walked in , I noticed a a big gray bag ihanging from the ceiling . Roger pulled it down and poured boiled water into it . After that , he lifted it up and fixed it with a rope . The bag had a tap at the bottom to let water out .
Any way , I can wash my body with no electricity and running water . I have to take my hat off to Roger's device . The only down fall was the volume of boiled water . It is very limited water available . If I don't use it efficiently , I will leave the shower with a foamy body . Of course , it is summer in Australia , but it is a little bit cold in the evening in Tasmania . So , a quick shower is the best way .
I finished the shower at the last moment , and changed my clothes . I went upstairs climbing a very steep ladder . There were six beds , and I laid myself on the window bed . Even before thinking about the next fishing plan , I fell fast asleep .
●On September 24
I woke up to Kookaburra songs . Roger set a small feeding table outside . There was a small water bowl on the table , so a couple of parrots came to take a bath every morning .
There were no pets , but many wild parrots . In addition , many kookaburras are living in the nearby valley . They sing all day . It sounds like human laughter , so it is rather scary at night .
While I was eating Corn Flakes , Roger made scrambled eggs and baked some pieces of bacon quickly . I was the only guest , so I had breakfast quietly .
We left 8:30 am. . Going up north , our first destination was Macouarie River . Today was Christmas Eve . We could see a lot of decorations for Christmas along the highway . We were the only two guys driving up north today .
Macouarie River is flowing slowly at the hill country . We can't go to the good holes without crossing private properties , so Roger got permission in advance . There is no road , and we have to climb up and down the hills by car .
The water is flowing calmly and clouds are drifting in the sky . The color of the sky is very similar to the sky in Alaska . Sheep are eating grass far away .
Roger set the reel to #5 fly-rod with a 4 pound tippet . The first fly was a Royal Wolf . He put paste floatant on the fly . Our fishing has just begun . We could see rises everywhere along the river .
We approached the river softly and knelt down so as not to be noticed by the fish . Because I am a novice of fly-fishing , I can't cast well . Strong casting beats the surface of water , and the fly falls before the hole . In the end , my backcasting hooks not fish but grass . I am worried that Roger will get angry .
Brown comes !
Fish was slow , but fickle Goddess sometime led my fly to the fish . Rise ! However , as my adrenalin broke out through my whole body , I did hooking quickly . My fly was dancing in the sky in vain . Rogher said it was too fast .
At last , I could hook on after several times casting . The fish was 25cm brown trout , my first catch in Tasmania . I appreciated the meeting , and released it gently .
We took sandwich lunch sitting the director chairs nearby the car . Looking over the grass-covered plain , I enjoyed lunch very much . Over a cup of coffee . we talked about the casting in the windy day .
We went to Elizabeth River afternoon . Roger changed the fly to Blue Adams or Grass Hopper . It had been windy forenoon , and it became so stronger afternoon that casting was much more difficult . Casting in the following wind is not so difficult , but in the head wind , it becomes quite difficult and I have to cast quickly and strongly . I do forward casting like punching .
After all I fished only one . If I fished lots , we would eat them at dinner . But we couldn't . I will certainly eat it tomorrow .
●On December 25
I woke up at 6:30 am. , and left the cabin at 7:30 am. . I would fish at the Elizabeth River where I fished yesterday . It was as windy as ever , but I wasn't worried because I would wade into upstream of the river today .
There was no rise along the river , so Roger attached a nymph fly under the Grass Hopper . I can fish on the surface and under the surface at the same time . This two flies system is so-called Loch Style , coming from Scotland . Roger often uses 3 flies , he said . The top fly was like an indicator . However , it was not so easy to cast two different weight flies .
As soon as changing the fly , I fished on ! Fish bit the nymph . I pulled the line carefully , and got a 30cm browntrout that was beautiful red and brown spotted . We would eat it at dinner .
Roger began to cook one hour earlier than yesterday . Our starter was the browntrout . We put fried brown covered with a little wheat on a slice of toast like a canape , sprinkling squeezed lemon and pepper . How delicious ! I had eatten a lot of chars and rainbowtrouts ever since , but it was the best in my life .
Roger said the taste depends on where fish is living in . The fish living in the lake have smell of mud , but the fish living in the river are delicious because they are eating pond snails . It was the secret of taste , he said .
Today's main dish was the steak . Roger grilled steaks with a wood stove . The cabin was filled with warmth and the smell of sizzling meat . Our luxery Christmas dinner , the steak with sliced onion and boiled mushroom , started . Cheers ! We drank toasts with a cup of coffee , I can't drink alcohol because of allergy , and a glass of wine .
●On December 26
I woke up at 6:10 a.m. and left 7:30 a.m. . I should go back today . Roger asked me which I'd like to go fishing . Elizabeth River was not so far from here that I would be able to fish longer time , but a different river was a little furhter . I was very intersted in Elizabeth , but if possible , I'd like to go to the different river . Roger replied " Okay ! " .
Lake River was so nice . Roger's Grass Hopper was today's fly . As soon as I casted , I got fish-on easily . I got bites under the trees and along the bank side , and slak water . Roger said I was getting better day by day . I didn't think so , but wondered I got used to casting .
Initially , I did casting timidly because I didn't know how to do here . After a couple of days , I got the hang of casting . I was glad to be praised by Roger .
Fish fish fish
I fished nine browntrouts from 30cm to 40cm until noon . It needed bravery to cast under the tree that was hanging over the river , and very close to the bank . This point was completely same as fishing in Japan . The trophy fish is waiting for the prey at not open place but convenient place to hide .
When I accepted the coffee break , my fishing expedition in Tasmania was finished . It was first time for me to have done fly-fishing from the beginning to the end . I have always done in my spare time . How wonderful fly-fishing was !
Coming back to the car , we took a cup of coffee each . As looking beautiful Tasmanian landscape , I enoyed the coffee .
About this time , Alaskan people must be doing ice-fishing as drilling thick ice . There are peple who do fishing as getting numb with cold somewhere around the world , the other hand , people who do fishing as drinking coffee in the summer wind . I can't quit fishng .
We came back to the cabin at 2:00 p.m. . While Roger making lunch , I packed up . This time , Roger provided almost all fishing gear , so I finished soon .
To Hobart Airport
Roger locked the windows and doors . He put a lot of garbage into the trunk . We departed at 3:10 p.m. . It takes about one hour to the airport . I was looking outside to remember the Tasmanian scenery .
We reached the airport early . I said good-bye to Roger , and checked at the Jet Star . There was no reserved seat in the plane , so I sat down the window seat to look over the scenery . I bought a bottle of coke . The grasslands were expanding in the plain , and the mountains were lying continuously . There must be lakes and rivers somehwere in the mountains and a lot of beautiful fish may be living . See you again .
Since I made my home page of Alaska , I told Roger about it . Roger kindly sent me his story of me . I'd like to introduce it all around . Thank you Roger.
Here is a story about your visit to Tasmania.
Hello to all friends of Teiichi :
Over Christmas of 2004 Teiichi had a guided fly fishing tour to Tasmania with myself (Roger Butler of Red Tag Trout Tours). I found Teiichi passionate about his trout fishing, keen to learn new things and a delight to guide.
He stayed in our bush retreat (no electricity) which he very much enjoyed and had a very good trip. On the last day he caught and released nine wild brown trout before lunch time. It was a great morning and one of those efforts is in the picture below. He fished so well that he said to me ' I stop fishing now to have a quiet lunch and plenty of time to catch the plane'.
He had success on every day and deserved the fish he caught. Some of Teiichi's photos of his Tasmanian visit and excellent fishing are on this site as proof of his fly fishing efforts.
Hoping we meet again Teiichi, tight lines and good fishing where ever you cast your line.
Best wishes - Roger.