The Late season is probably my favourite time to fish Tassie rivers, the options are plentiful but my choice above all others would definitely be the Mersey. Or the Ringarooma, or the St Pats. Hmm maybe the Macquarie. No, definitely the Mersey. I had a strange sort of relationship with this river for the first few years I lived here – It was a long drive, I had a couple of surprising skunkings and just a general lack of mojo seemed to surround the Mersey valley. I remember one time fishing on a quiet day that I watched a fish eat a dry, turn around, take it under, swim back to the surface and spit it out before I had the presence to strike. I picked the wrong place at the wrong time perhaps sometimes but doing stuff like that? I mean whats that all about?! I did see that the quality of fish and just the potential of the river was there so I persisted and had a few good experiences, but despite all that never really smashed it. All that changed last year when I had a friend invite me to the last fish of the season. It turned out to be the last dozen or so fish for the season and was truly a memorable day. I have fished the Mersey a lot more this season and it all seems totally different to me now – mojo does flow down the Mersey Valley.
The beauty of the river for me is that you can see a lot of “phase shifts” in a typical day and a good deal of changing feeding behaviour. Things go quiet, things heat up but if you keep persisting there is no such thing as a dead day. Choose the right tactics and things occasionally go off. It makes you think, change ups can be educated guess work but visual cues are often revealed: in a typical late season day you might see the odd exciting spray of baitfish, damselfly hatch, dun hatch, and the odd grasshopper still. My favourite though is to nymph the riffles and keep an eye on the slower pools above for signs of life if and when they appear. It is not rare to target different fish on a nymph, dry and wet fly within a few metres of one another and catch a brown and a rainbow without moving up a riffle.
I take bloody terrible photos so when Emily Dimozantos, a sports photographer, got in touch I was more than happy to spend a few hours fishing. Considering how much I love the river I chose the Mersey and possibly it wasn’t quite the stellar experience I had hoped for. Three or four little browns were caught and we did get to stalk a couple of fish at close quarters, get good presentations into them. Emily got a taste of what the river might hold as one lustily rising fish took the dry during an all too brief hatch and she got a great shot of the surface commotion. All that said I think the feel of the late season Mersey was represented really well in the pictures. All photos credit Emily Dimozantos www.motionphoto.com.au
By Andrew Collings