“First On The Fly”

Keeping with the theme of my last post, “Accepting The Challenge” I decided to try a form of fishing that I have never attempted before and that I have very limited knowledge of … Fly Fishing. The first thing I required was a fly rod and reel and after doing some research I decided that an 8 weight 9ft rod and reel combo would be perfect for the type of fish I would be targeting, Tarpon, Barramundi, Saratoga and Sooty Grunter. Together with this combo I also purchased an assortment of flies in a variety pack for targeting native fish, bought from Tackle World Mackay, I paid just over $200 all up. Fly fishing gear can fetch huge price tags as can many specialised forms of fishing gear but I was happy with this deal for an entry level dabble in one of the oldest recorded forms of fishing. Armed with my new combo,  and after a night of watching you tube videos on fly casting I headed down to the Gooseponds in North Mackay, before dawn with an anticipation that every hopeful angler is familiar with.

An overcast morning greeted me with very little wind and I quickly found a likely looking area in the upper reaches of the Gooseponds. I could hear fish working the surface in the darkness and although I could not make out their identity just yet I positioned myself as close as possible to where the action was. The ensuing sunrise unveiled the target species as juvenile Tarpon, as they chased the surface bait their tails and backs broke the surface of the glassy water and offered my first opportunity to sight cast at fish with Fly! I was fortunate that the fish were holding fairly close to the bank as my novice casting skills were only allowing me to cast around 20 to 25 feet but it was enough. With only a handful of casts and a few near hookups under my belt I managed to tempt a small tarpon to take a small Black Muddler. The fight was a bit clumsy as I tried to keep pressure on the fish while retrieving the stripped line back onto the reel however I managed to get the little Tarpon right next to the bank. It was at this moment, in the absence of a landing net, I grabbed the leader to lift the fish up onto the grass when SNAP! the ultra thin tapered leader popped and the fish escaped with my Black Muddler. It was a rookie mistake but I was not disappointed one bit as I was confident I could land another one. Sure enough after a few casts, this time with a Chernobyl Ant in black and yellow I was on again, this time a much better fish that actually took a couple of runs and jumps but unfortunately as I was thinking I had its measure my contact with the fish was lost. Oh well thats Tarpon fishing!

I fired out the Ant again and by this stage my casting was improving which was quite fortunate as the fish also had moved out to deeper water, I was landing casts right next to fish but they seemed to be very wary now. With an hour passing and a few fly changes without success I was almost ready to call it a day when my Black and Purple Vampire Fly was solidly taken just as it gently kissed the glass like surface of the pond. A great little fight followed with the fish showing good energy and spectacular acrobatics, I also felt my retrieval of the loose, stripped line at my feet was much smoother. I slipped my hand under the frame of the 32cm Tarpon and lifted him gently from the water and after a few quick photos he was released full of vigour.



This session was about trying something new and improving my skills. I felt that my casting has vastly improved both in distance and accuracy as has my use of the fly reel in general. Although I am still most definitely a fly fishing novice I was extremely satisfied with  a fish on my first attempt and look forward to more days on the fly.

Sometimes it is more fun to be a beginner, try something new!”


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