Best Moments Of 2016

It’s been a whirlwind of a year. I travelled to 7 different countries, hosted 9 fly fishing trips, produced another short film and published 13 feature articles across FlyLife, National Geographic, FlyStream and The Captain, along with numerous online articles and blogs. It’s been a privilege to introduce novice anglers to the sport, share great catches with new and old clients and help promote fly fishing in our local community and beyond.
I’m grateful for every encouragement, booking, comment and like. Those in the fly fishing community have become some of my closest friends and it’s been a privilege to be on the journey with you all.

January
January kicked off with hosted trips across Tasmania and New Zealand. We spent a huge chunk of the summer in New Zealand, exploring new locations and catching beautiful trout. It was a fantastic start to the year.

Trav with a thumper South Island brownie.
Trav with a thumper South Island brownie.

February
In February, the NZ fun continued with the usual trout haunts and what proved to be one of the year’s ultimate highlights: working with Anton Donaldson to discover the coolest new destination in saltwater fly fishing down-under: flats fly-fishing in South Island New Zealand for yellowtail kingfish. If it couldn’t get any better, I even managed to sneak out to Aitutaki, fishing for GT and bonefish.

March
In March I had the opportunity to return to beautiful Patagonia, Argentina for the fifth time. I hosted a group of six anglers to Jurrasic Lake and Northern Patagonia. On top of this, I chased king salmon with Solid Adventures and enjoyed some extra fishing for brook trout, with my good mate Emanual at Trout Bariloche. Despite returning year after year, Patagonia never ceases to amaze me.

April
While guiding for Murray Cod in the depths of the Blue Mountains, without any reception, my future son was deciding to arrive early. Coming back into reception with 40 missed calls and my wife’s water breaking 3 hours before, to say I was nervous, is an understatement. My client kept me from driving triple the speed limit, and I did make it back to see my beautiful son, Hunter, born. Meeting Hunter was a highlight for life.

Hunter Joel Hutchins
Hunter Joel Hutchins

May
End of trout season fishing was unbelievably good this year. On the last days of April, I snuck out to New Zealand to finish off an article with my mate Matt Jones, in which he landed a seriously stonker rainbow. Not to mention plenty of 10-15 pounders. It was a pretty epic trip. The Snowy Mountains’ May fishing was as good as ever this year. Over 30 clients enjoyed the final month of fishing with a host of personal bests almost every day.

June
The trout rivers eventually closed and local lakes were immediately firing. June and July saw great catches from the Blue Mountains lakes, with plenty of clients braving the chilly weather in exchange for some great fish.

July
Our local winter guiding continued into July but the highlight of this month was the opportunity to join Fly Odyssey on an exploratory trip to French Polynesia and the beautiful Anaa Atoll. GTs, Bonefish, Napolean Wrasse, Bluefin Trevally were just a few of the species on offer. This was an amazing trip.

August
The end of July and start of August, I made my way up to Queensland and, although the fishing was pretty badly shut down, we still had a great time and managed to tick off a few barramundi around Hinchinbrook. The local weather and huge amounts of winter rain affected fishing all across Australia, but the local trout steams were looking awesome.

Robbie & I claimed a few nice Barra
Robbie & I claimed a few nice Barra

September
In September I returned to one of my favourite fisheries, Exmouth Australia. The LOOP Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival was a raging success. Kudos to Alan and the team for such a positive event.

A solid Golden Trevally from the Exmouth flats
A solid Golden Trevally from the Exmouth flats

October
The NSW trout streams re-opened, and between our guiding in the Blue Mountains and Snowy Mountains, October saw some of the best trout fishing we’ve had in a long time. The winter rains were paying dividends. This month proved to be a busy month. I managed to sneak out to NZ for an early season back country fish; tick off an 11 pounder; walk further in two days in pouring rain than I ever had before; and then make my way to Argentina. We returned to Northern Argentina to chase Golden Dorado, hosting anglers from Australia and the USA. With big Dorados and plenty of them, the fishing was hot, and the guys had a blast.

November
In November I was hard out guiding for trout between the Blue Mountains and Snowy Mountains. With great numbers of fish and streams in good condition, it was one of my most enjoyable guiding months. We finished November hosting a group of anglers in North-East Victoria with Cam and Katie from River Escapes.

December
This was a month I’ll remember for a long time. Making my way to the Seychelles to join Alphonse Fishing Co, this place proved to be everything I ever dreamed it would be. On the trip I ticked off my big three: A GT over a metre; a permit; and a milkfish. I experienced one of the world’s best saltwater fisheries: Cosmoledo Atoll. I felt very lucky and humbled to have experienced it. December finished off with a few more local days chasing trout and Murray cod. This year has been a blast!

dec2016aff2
My early Christmas present from Cosomoledo Atoll, Seychelles.

2017 is looking to be as big as ever. We have an abundance of hosted travel, guided trips and fly fishing courses on offer. Be sure to check it out and make it a year to remember.

Thanks once again for all your support.

Happy New Year,
Josh

LOOP Saltwater Festival

Learmonth airport may have never had so many fly rods pass through its small baggage chute as it did in early September this year. Fly anglers from all over Australia converged on beautiful Exmouth, WA for the inaugural Loop Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival.

The week kicked off with over 60 anglers crowded into Whalers Restaurant enjoying the local seafood, sharing fishing reports and waiting for the week to begin. Some came for the tournament, a three-day event covering flats and blue water, while others were eager to learn from the featured industry experts and enjoy the fishing camaraderie. Dean Butler and Rod Harrison were among some of the notable guests and presenters, and they shared their expertise and knowledge over the week.

 

 

Some of the highlights included: Steve Bradbury of Perth landing a permit on the final day of the competition to take out the meritorious catch trophy; Aaron Rampling of Exmouth, claiming a black marlin and sailfish in the blue water class; and blue-bastards, queenfish, giant and golden trevally and plenty more species caught over the competition week.

In between our time on the water, anglers were able to participate in fly-casting workshops and enjoy technical and informational talks. We were also able to test, for the first time, Loop’s new range of Cross SW rods in Exmouth saltwater conditions.

One of the distinctive features of the festival was everyone’s willingness to share knowledge and information and help build one another’s skills. Anglers consistently commented that the festival was the most positive event they had ever attended in Australian fishing.

 

 

Special thanks to the key sponsors of the Festival: LOOP, Exmouth Escape Resort, Patagonia, Scientific Anglers, Maui Jim, Whalers Restaurant and Power Pole.

Allan Donald from Fly Fishing Frontiers was the coordinator and backbone of the festival. The festival could not have run without his passion and work behind the scenes. Well done Allan and team, we are all eagerly awaiting the 2017 festival.

 

 

Competition Results:

Flats Team – Ningaloo Sportfishing Charters, Exmouth

Flats Individual – Ben Knight

Flats Meritorious Catch – Steve Bradbury

Bluewater Team – Peak Sportfishing Charters, Exmouth

Bluewater Individual – Aaron Rampling

Bluewater Meritorious Catch – Aaron Rampling

King Of The Flats

There are very few times in your fly fishing life, that you find yourself in the midst of a fishery so good, it almost doesn’t seem real.

This past summer that is what we experienced with the Kingfish of Golden Bay. Who would have thought there could be world-class saltwater flats fishing on the South Island of New Zealand?

 

After our first trip to Golden Bay in February, we knew we had to come back. We begun our plans to return and squeeze in a filming session into an already jam-packed summer schedule.

Our first trip comprised of myself, Matt Jones, Alex Waller, Ben Harris, Tore Nilsen and the original founder of the flats fishery, Anton Donaldson. The burning question of the group was, is this something we would selfishly keep to ourselves? Or let others join in the fun? After much discussion Anton had to have the final say: we would let the cat out of the bag.

I called my #1 Italian film guy Filippo Rivetti and gave him the run down for the project. Thankfully he had a few days spare that aligned with my schedule and we made our plans.

A long drive from Christchurch, three and a half days filming and we were done. Well to be honest two days could have blown a dog off the chain, thankfully one day was calm and full of fishing action. Anton also had a packed summer schedule so it was great to get him back with us for the film.

In four quick days we drove 14 hours return, filmed a short film, collated extra photos for the article, caught close to 40 kingfish and ultimately had a blast.

So without further adieu, I’d like to proudly present ‘King Of The Flats.’ Which is, to our knowledge, the first ever Salt-water flats film of South Island NZ.

Big thanks to Filippo Rivetti for his amazing job on the film. Even after I managed to lose our best underwater footage, he still made absolute magic.

For the full story behind the fishery, check out issue #84 of FlyLife magazine.

 

Special thanks to the film sponsors:

LOOP Tackle NZ & Aus – www.loopflyfishing.co.nz

Fly Tackle NZ – www.flytackle.co.nz

FlyLife Magazine – www.flylife.com.au

Next Steps Fly Fishing Course

A few years ago, I realised there was a gap in the market of fly fishing courses. There were Learn to Fly Fish courses, casting courses and professional competitions but not much in between. I wanted to offer the new angler a course to take their fly fishing to the next level and, essentially, catch more fish. Out of this the Next Steps Fly Fishing course was born, and over the last weekend we held our fourth Next Steps course.

Twelve anglers, travelling from all over NSW & ACT, along with three professional guides, descended onto the small town of Adaminaby. We were staying at the Snowy Mountains Alpine Cottages, close to the beautiful Eucumbene River, amidst the gorgeous surrounds of the Snowy Mountains.

Over the two and half days, we had a mix of practical instruction and group activity, covering casting tuition, line management, fly and bug talk, knots & rigs, and river and lake craft sessions. But the most important element of the course was spending plenty of time in small groups on the river for everyone to try out their newfound skills under the guidance of our team.

Running Friday afternoon to Sunday, we braved the often-windy conditions to enjoy time on the water and shared some great highlights. Alex landed four great trout on the first afternoon, Rod claimed a beautiful six-pound PB brown trout, and several others caught PBs or their first fish on fly.

At the end of each day we retired to the warmth of our cabins, sharing some hearty home cooked meals and the odd beverage.

A huge thank you to Matt Tripet from The Fly Program, and Cameron McGregor from River Escapes for their extremely valued instruction, and guiding over the weekend. I am very selective as to who I would choose to hire as a guide, and these guys are nothing but top notch – hard working, professional guides – be sure to check out their services.

Thanks to all attendees for coming along, it was great to meet you and share many exciting moments on the water.

 

If you would like to join us for our next course please get in touch at aussieflyfisher@gmail.com or keep up to date on our course page with new dates announced soon.

Cheers, Josh

Aussie Fly Fisher

The Ultimate Eucumbene Rod

The Ultimate Eucumbene Rod – Loop Opti Peak 11’ #4

There is nothing wrong with following the crowd. When it comes to Australian fly-fishing, the norm is to buy a 9 foot fly rod and fill your fly box with Royal Wulffs. Although that set up is standard for a reason, it can also be fun to expand your horizons and try other options.

As the mass pilgrimage of anglers flood the Eucumbene River each year, we generally fish outside the box.

In order to chase the lake run brown trout on this famous fishery, I have tried many different set-ups. When it comes down to it however, the most efficient technique is to fish short with a long rod.

Long casts, heavy nymphs (and split shot), and a strike indicator will work at times, but for those wanting to really maximise their catch, something closer to a ‘Czech Nymphing’ style of fly fishing is the most effective way of catching brown trout in the Eucumbene river from May onwards.

While I’m not the biggest fan of competition fly fishing, its no coincidence most of their river fishing is based around short line nymphing styles (Czech, Polish, French Nymphing etc). Keeping close contact with the fly, avoiding drag and getting close to the fish has its advantages, especially this time of year when the trout are not so spooky.

I know I may be starting to bore you (get back to the fish catching), and I have the same reaction when comp anglers talk about it too. But, if you’d like a better catch rate this year it might be worth trying something different.

The Loop Opti Peak has proven to be one of our favourite rods for fishing the Eucumbene River. It has the length (11 foot) to give you the ultimate control when guiding your flies through the runs, enough sensitivity in the tip to still feel the bites, and great strength in the butt section to handle big fish. And with the very possible chance of an 8-12 pounder, this is important. The optional counter weight is a great addition to find the perfect balance.

Quite a few of my clients have been reluctant to try this rod in the past, but now call it one of their favourites. It really is a unique beauty. I even managed to convince my wife to join for a fly fishing trip last May, and this rod made it easy for her, being an absolute beginner to land many respectable fish.

 

The Loop Opti Peak in Action for our short film in the Snowy Mountains:

 

The Loop Opti Peak – RRP $849 AUD

For more information check out here:

https://www.loopflyfishing.co.nz/collections/fly-rods/products/loop-opti-peak-fly-rod

 

Available through these stores:

https://www.loopflyfishing.co.nz/pages/loop-tackle-dealers

Summer Days of 15-16

This summer has been jam-packed with adventure-fuelled fishing: Murray Cod in Australia; trout and kingfish in New Zealand; and a quick trip to Aitutaki, Cook Islands for bonefish and GTs.

Last year’s mouse plague meant that the 2014/15 New Zealand Summer was going to be hard to beat. But as my good mate, Matt Jones and I headed out this summer, it was clear that trophy trout were still hanging about in the South Island rivers. Fishing across Canterbury & Northern Otago we saw and caught many large well-conditioned trout, with ten pound fish showing up quite regularly.

We have been working hard in New Zealand to seek out the best trout on offer and are looking forward to working with some local guides next summer to extend our hosted trip options to South Island, NZ. If you want to experience the best of what’s on offer, please get in contact as we are now taking bookings for summer of 16/17.

Along with trout in New Zealand, I was fortunate enough to join a small team of anglers to unlock what appears to be the first saltwater flats fishery on the South Island. Anton Donaldson, a Collingwood local, discovered this fishery somewhat by accident in recent years, and with a few leaked photos – our curiosity was sparked. As a result, Matt Jones and I set off with a mission to get kingfish off the beach. Meeting with Anton and several other anglers we fulfilled our mission and caught dozens of kingfish over several trips. Keep your eyes peeled on the next issue of FlyLife Magazine for the full story on this amazing fishery.  We also have a short film coming very soon.

For those wanting to join the fun next year, I will be teaming up with Anton in 2017 to host some Kingfish/Trout trips. I think Trout & Kingfish in a day’s fishing is very cool!

Along with these amazing adventures in NZ, I somehow also managed to sneak out for a very quick trip to Aitutaki in the hope of ticking off a GT and Bonefish. Joining the amazing crew of Itu Davey and his guides it was a short but action filled trip! It’s unbelievable how good these guys are at spotting bonefish, and Aitutaki has some huge ones on offer. But, despite the fun of bonefish, my prime target was a GT. And day one it delivered, landing two extremely hard fighting fish off the lagoon flats. The full story of this adrenalin fuelled trip will be in the June edition of ‘The Captain’ magazine.

Autumn is here and I have just returned from hosting a crew of anglers in Southern Argentina. Patagonia offers the full experience – pics to come soon.

Life is short. Live your dream!

Josh

Central-West Twig-Water

On average, Central-West trout grow to an impressive size. We’ve caught up to ten-pound fish in the lake fisheries and the general stream fish my clients get to tangle with are two to four pounds. Pretty decent really in Australian terms. The only downside to quality, however, is quantity. An average day will present four to eight good shots at nice fish. If you miss those shots it’s hard to deal with the pain of knowing a four pound small stream brown could have been your trophy for the day.

And for those who keep on exploring there are some hidden gems, with opportunities of greater numbers of fish. Not so big, but pretty.

I was recently joined by one of my clients, Aaron Burgess, for a day on some fun Twig-water. I met Aaron two years ago, when he came to one of my Next Steps courses in Oberon. He had recently bought a fly rod and was keen to learn how to master it. Aaron joined our Victoria trip in late 2015, and I was pleasantly surprised by how advanced his casting and stream-craft had become. I knew he was ready to master the tight twig-water that awaited us that day.

It was a hot day, with clear skies – my least favourite fishing combination. But we gave it our best and surprisingly a little brown rose to the dry fly in the first run. The second one came a little harder, but slowly and surely the fish showed up.

We needed tight bow-and-arrow casts to navigate the overgrown runs, and longer, stretched-out casts to reach the mysterious deep holes. We never quite knew what surprises would appear.

We may have caught some of the smallest trout I have seen this season, but in one of the most beautiful streams – a perfect combination and a thoroughly enjoyable day.

For more information on guided fly fishing in the Central-West or Blue Mountains of NSW see  www.aussieflyfisher.com/central-west-trout/

Sight Fishing Monster Cod

With early mornings, hot weather, and sore arms from throwing a ten weight with large flies, all day long, some people might question the appeal of fly fishing for Murray Cod.

But what about sight fishing to a freshwater fish, over a metre long, and in excess of 50 pounds? Well now I am skipping to the good part of the story.

Brandon, from Montana, USA, was visiting friends in Australia this January, and wanted to integrate some local fly-fishing into his trip.

From the first time we spoke, his objective was very clear. “I’d like to try and catch a Murray Cod,” he said. And so the date was set.

Woken at 4am from my grating alarm, I met Brandon in Bathurst and we travelled to the Macquarie river, ready to go at sunrise.

Due to a storm the day before, I was anxious to observe the river. But on arrival, it looked surprisingly clear. The barometer was a high – 1025 and rising.

“This looks very good…” I said, as we rigged up and set off walking upstream.

I explained the program and with a few casting adjustments, Brandon was launching the 6/0 surface popper in style.

Before too long we had our first enquiry, but with no connection, our excitement was short-lived.

The next fish hit off the surface with an explosive take, but sadly popped the hook ten seconds into the fight.

What we saw next still haunts me….

Brandon and I slowly walked along the bank to see a water dragon lizard leave the tree and begin to swim across the water. Moments later, there was an explosion on the water, and…no more lizard. Knowing there must be a Cod nearby we carefully crept along the bank.

Then, appearing from a puff of disturbed water, (due to the lizard carnage, I guess), was the biggest Murray Cod I have ever seen. He was freely swimming about, clear as day.

“Make a cast,” I said to Brandon as he stood frozen in shock.

He managed a cast and within a second of his fly hitting the water, the large fish aggressively turned and consumed the fly. Brandon set the hook, and the fish took off.

Sadly moments later the leader broke and we were left speechless and awe-struck on the bank.

“That was the most crazy thing I have ever witnessed,” Brandon said as we dealt with the immediate aftermath.

We both knew it was huge. A safe 1.1 to 1.2 metres in length and easily 50 pounds plus.

Even though that fish haunts me, Brandon still managed to land his first Murray Cod on fly. A great looking fish smashed his surface popper from the edge of a fallen log.

“Not too many Americans have caught one of those, and especially not on fly,” I said as his stood grinning with his reward.

I may have still been hurting from our encounter with the monster, but Brandon was more than ecstatic to claim his first and well-earned Murray Cod on fly.

Our Murray Cod sessions have been quite successful this year and if you would like to join us for a guided day or have any questions about chasing them on fly, please get in touch.

Tasmania – Western Lakes

One of the appeals in fly-fishing is it’s sense of challenge and adventure. You can’t just throw in a line, hope for the best and then wind in a fish. There is a unique craft involved and a sense of the unknown.

That is why, we love to catch wild fish. They attract so much more fascination than a ‘stockie’ or…dare I stoop that low, one caught in a fish farm. And when it comes to wild fish, it’s hard to beat the Western Lakes of Tasmania.

Tasmania’s Western Lakes offer the chance to chase some of the wildest strains of brown trout in the world. Descendants of the original 1864 brown trout stockings in Australia, they have barely been tampered with since. And this year we joined forces with Dan Hackett’s Riverfly guiding operation to offer the ultimate experience at the Riverfly Wilderness huts.

Based in the World Heritage area of the Central-Plateau of Tasmania, Dan’s huts not only offer an authentic, picturesque experience, but provide close access to Lake Ina and its surrounds.

Dan was joined by the legend Greg French, to guide our crew. And although the weather didn’t exactly bring on hoards of black spinner hatches as we’d hoped, the shots at good fish were there.

We had the opportunity to sight fish tailing browns on glassed out mornings on the lake. We hunted down dun feeders that would often circle the shore-based boulders, taking nymphs and duns. Blind fishing was never an option, and the moments of sighted fish proved to be very exciting.

 

Greg’s colourful stories of world trout explorations added to the enjoyment of the trip. Combined with great food and a comfortable night’s sleep in the huts, it was a unique experience for us Sydney-siders.

You will never hear anyone say “The Western Lakes are an easy fishery”, but then again if we wanted easy, we wouldn’t fly-fish. Plenty of other hobbies with that option.

For more information on the Riverfly Wilderness huts check out the RiverFly website. Or please get in touch to consider joining us on our next hosted trip to Tasmania.

The Best Moments Of 2015

2015 has been another epic year at Aussie Fly Fisher. After travelling thousands of kilometres, walking dozens of streams, stalking and landing endless numbers of fish, here are a few highlights from the year.

JANUARY

Amongst everything else happening in January (New Zealand Trout & Australian Natives) I managed to sneak out to Thailand and catch my first Arapaima on fly. This set the tone for a great year ahead.

Arapaima_fly_fishing_jan

FEBRUARY

February was full swing in New Zealand with one of the best years we’ve experienced so far. Among many trophy browns, I would have to say my favourite fish was this 13 pound backcountry rainbow. The mouse year certainly delivered.

new_zealand_trout_fly_fishing_feb

MARCH

Closer to home, with Autumn setting in and local trout guiding at its peak, I also managed to slip out for some Sydney salt water action. I landed my first Kingfish on fly, with many thanks to Justin Duggan.

sydney_kingfish_fly_fishing_mar

APRIL

Up there with one of my favourite experiences this year, I was honoured to join Fish Simply in their quest to Save-The-Dorado in Argentina. An essential bucket-list experience for any fly-angler, this was a true adventure I’ll never forget.

golden_dorado_fly_fishing_argentina_apr

MAY

In May, we made our way to the Snowy Mountains to produce our first fly-fishing short film. The film worked out great and my wife landed her first fish on fly. Everyone was a winner.

JUNE

June saw the end of our trout guiding in the Australian rivers. The last few weeks of the season produced amazing catches with all clients enjoying either the one-on-one guided days or several of our annual fly-fishing courses.

Vicki very happy with her catch.
Vicki very happy with her catch.

Things got cold and so I made my way north. Fishing Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Spain, a highlight was joining David Tejedor Royo in Spain and landing my first Wells Catfish on fly.

wells_catfish_spain_fly_fishing_jun

JULY

Wanting to try something out of the box, I joined Lax-A Angling Club in Iceland and had the most fantastic week fishing for Brown Trout, Artic Char and Atlantic Salmon. I fell in love with Iceland.

iceland_fly_fishing_jul

AUGUST

The second half of July and August proved to be a very busy and productive time guiding the local lakes west of Sydney. Each year, our catch rate here gets better and better and 2015 was no exception.

sydney_winter_fly_fishing

SEPTEMBER

September was a little bit ridiculous. Firstly I joined Fly Fishing Frontiers in Exmouth, and managed to land a Permit on my first ever flats session. Then, making my way to Mongolia, I chased the mighty Taimen with Sweetwater Travel. What a month!!

OCTOBER

In October the Australian rivers reopened for trout fishing and it was the best Spring we’ve had in years. The Central West, Snowy Mountains and the Monaro all offered amazing client catches.

If you heard poor fishing reports – you were talking to the wrong people.

NOVEMBER

Despite the great trout fishing we were enjoying back home, I snuck out for some early season trophy trout action in New Zealand. Matt Jones and I were unlucky with the weather, but lucky with the fish – claiming two ten pound beauties for our efforts. They were some of the most beautiful brown trout I’ve seen.

trophy_trout_new_zealand_nov

DECEMBER

As the warmer weather kicked in, our attention turned to Murray Cod. Several clients enjoyed the challenge of chasing this new fly addition. And I even managed to fit in some trips to land a few myself.

My Last fish of 2015 - Murray Cod off the surface!
My Last fish of 2015 – Murray Cod off the surface!

Thanks to all for being a part of the journey. I wish you every blessing for 2016 – with lots (and lots) of fish.

Happy New Year!!

Josh

Murray Cod Season Opener

In my local waters, I have a new favourite fish to chase on fly – Murray Cod.

On December 1st I could once again enjoy the explosive surface hits from this stunning fish – and it couldn’t come soon enough.

Murray Cod have a special aura about them. Despite the challenges of catching this beautiful fish, they offer enough rewards to keep me coming back for more.

This year we expanded our guiding options to include Central-West native fish and we’ve enjoyed a great start. With many more Murray Cod and Yellow Belly in the Macquarie River than previous years, the results are positive. And on the rare occasion things are slow, there many large willing Carp to pass the time.

Hugh, one of my most recent clients, came out for a Cod session in early December. After a slower start to the day, Hugh found himself connected to a very large fish. Having successfully pulled it from its snag, I assumed the fight was over. But, one jump onto a ledge below to land the fish, and Hugh stumbled and dropped his rod. The line tension was lost and we said goodbye to that giant Cod monster – that fish may haunt us for some time.

Outside of guiding clients, I was keen get out on the water and throw some flies myself. Luckily, after a few trips, several nice fish on the board and some very close encounters with large fish, my longing had been satisfied. I also managed to land my first Yellow belly from the river.

With a great start to the season, I can’t wait to get back on the water for more Murray Cod very soon.

Gear Requirements:

ROD – We are using 9 and 10 weight rods to chase Murray Cod, the larger rods help cast the large flies, and muscle the fish from snags when needed.

Loop 9 Weight Booster is a fantastic rod for the purpose at an affordable price ($450AUD). My rod of choice has been the Loop Cross S1 Flatsman #10.

LINE – Fly line is very important when chasing Cod. A line that carries a heavy fly and gets you on the water with minimal casts such as the RIO Outbound Short series is perfect! The F/I (Floating Intermediate) in the tropical version has been our most used line – Sinks enough when needed, and still fine to use for surface poppers.

REEL – Reel is not so important, Cod will fight their way back to the structure they came from, but don’t make blinding runs that require extreme drag.

LEADER – Leader depends on the amount of structure present. 15-25 pounds at around 4-6 foot is what I use.

FLIES – Large profile subsurface flies, foam head surface poppers do the trick – Check out Kaos Cod Flies & BWC Flies for ideas.

AFF Victoria Hosted Trip

Four fly-fisherman, travelling from Sydney and Melbourne, previously unknown to one another, converged in Bright last week for four days of trout fishing. In partnership with Cameron and Katie from River Escapes, I was looking forward to showing Dai, Aaron, Shane and Nick, the beauty – and abundant fishing – in the area.

After visiting Bright regularly as a child, my wife and I have continued the annual trek to the picturesque town. With a combination of long-winding bike paths, beautiful scenery, great cellar doors and good fishing options, it seemed like the perfect holiday compromise for an obsessed fisherman and his wife.

I first met Cam and Katie over some roast pork on a holiday trip with friends. After a few days fishing with Cam, I was sold, and wanted to bring a group back to enjoy the experience.

All the fly fisherman were fairly new to trout fishing, and hadn’t visited the area before. While most tourists travel to Bright for its tree-lined streets and cute market stalls, these men were here for fish, and lots of them. And Bright certainly delivered.

We had four days scheduled fishing, three days mixed between the Ovens, Buckland and Kiewa rivers, and one day on drift boats on the Mitta Mitta.

At the time the Mitta Mitta was running high, making access difficult. The drift boats allowed us to travel to untouched water along the whole stretch of the river.

After catching over 120 fish in under four days, we were certainly kept busy. And with the majority of these on dry fly, we were spoilt by the endless opportunities to catch fish within clear water and flowing streams. It was the perfect trip for new, or experienced anglers to sharpen their craft and enjoy an action-packed week of hooking bountiful fish.

Each night we retreated to the River Escapes country lodge to share the tales from the day.

On the trip I saw my first ever Palomino trout, landed by Shane on our second day. With its pure white skin, the trout was easy to spot in the ovens river, and after rejecting nine different flies, it finally consumed a black nymph. A unique and fascinating fish.

Despite arriving as strangers, one of the best parts of the trip was sharing the excitement of one another’s hook-ups and debriefing after each catch. I think the joy of fly-fishing is meant to be shared and it was great to spend a week with these anglers.

Aussie Fly Fisher will be running these hosted trips each Spring and Autumn so if you are interested in a week of plentiful fishing with a beautiful backdrop, then please get in touch.

Cheers, Josh

AFF

Snowy Mountains Australia – Short Film

My wife Anna, had never caught a fish on fly.

Earlier this year, we made our way to the Snowy Mountains, NSW to change that.

I hope you enjoy the first of our Aussie Fly Fisher short films.

Many thanks to Timeflees – Filippo Rivetti Photography for his amazing work on this project.

Please share the film around. We look forward to sharing more adventures with you in the future.

Cheers, Josh

Welcome!

Hello and welcome to the new Aussie Fly Fisher website! I am excited to finally launch the site and keep you up to date with our upcoming local and international trips, along with all the local guiding options.

On top of this you will be able to find equipment reviews, trip reports, blogs, photo galleries and general fly fishing news.

Next year I am excited to be hosting trips to Patagonia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Greenland, Mongolia, Exmouth and Northern Argentina so please check out the travel page for more information. Each trip is going to be full of adventure and I can’t wait for the New Year to begin.

Local trout guiding is off to a great start this season with some great catches and lots of client PBs. Guided days are available from as close as two hours from Sydney and although dates are booking fast, please get in touch if you would like a day on the river.

To stay in touch and be the first to know about all our updates please add yourself to the AFF mailing list. You’ll get exclusive information about which areas are producing good fish, along with special trips, courses and giveaways.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to hear from you soon.

Cheers, Josh

AFF.