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The season opens and anglers are happy
  |  First Published: August 2013



Once upon a time, in a land slightly below sea level where two major rivers meet the Tamar Estuary (incorrectly termed a river), a couple of keen Launceston-ions keenly awaited the opening of the trout season.

Young Ronny Rissole and Bobby Big Sausage headed to their favourite river to drown a worm and catch up on old times. While worming their while away, Ronny was almost to the apex of his big-fish story when he received a tap on the shoulder by Fisheries Officer Foley. It seems poor Ronny and Bobby neglected to renew their licences, instead funding a couple of National Pies and a never-ending carton of Winnie Blues. So yeah, make sure you cough up the coins before stepping out won’t you…

You may have noticed too, that IFS have introduced a gold card to capitalise on a five-year licence. There are some cost savings to be had here but the real drawcard is the chance to score a boat package worth more than $22,000, just by renewing your licence and going fishing. Not bad eh?

More importantly, the chance of reacquainting yourself with a trout is much more likely. In fact, following are a couple of tips that could help turn your mediocre opening outing into a fun-filled adventure, maybe even some success!

Diversify

Many of us get stuck in our ways, especially as we get on in life. This is more than acceptable but sometimes there are easier options, more challenging techniques, more efficient methods and enjoyable ways to fish. While I often whittle my angling time away with the fly, my intention this season is to get my son out and show him how to fish with a worm.

I’m sure we all had a crack in our early fishing days and I’m mad keen for this experience with my little buddy. He might have the patience of a caddis moth but see how we go. In any case, the method works and it’s a great way to show him a wild thing from a wild place. If we’re successful, we might even keep one for dinner.

The Lure of it All

I know some anglers that just fish bait and others who just fish fly. Once again this is fine, but don’t be scared to try lures if you’re after a feed of fish, numbers of fish or simply a flipping good time. They come in many shapes, sizes, wiggles and wobbles but one thing is for certain – they’re bloody good fish-catchers! Try shallow-bibbed hardbodied lures in a few feet of water, like sections of the St Patricks or North Esk. Natural colours work wonders and will dominate in the early season in this environment. If you intend to release your catch, try crimping the barbs on your trebles – the trout are often on the smaller side.

In deeper rivers like sections of the South Esk and Macquarie rivers, you could try flipping a few Celtas, spoons or Ashley spinners around in backwaters or deep edges. These lures have proven themselves over many years and have dropped off the radar a bit. As I mentioned before, newer hardbodied lures also work very well, but after losing a few $25 lures to the snags, you will probably want some alternatives to use in such tight quarters.

Going Soft

These days, there’s a plethora of soft plastic options on the market and there’s a reason for it – they work. Their flexible, life-like action gets pectoral fins pulsing and mouths open. Locally, natural coloured baitfish patterns fished in a variety of retrieves will bring fish undone on the right day. To achieve this, you have to get your lure in front of or near enough to the fish and that’s the highlight of this type of lure, as you can rig them coupled with a weighted jig-head according to your intended depth. Lightly weighted plastics will smash them on the rivers but they are also very productive in waters like Four Springs, Huntsman Lake and Brushy Lagoon.

Adventure

Be sure to get out and explore this season. Launceston is a very centralised location to many different options in all directions. I have a few little gems up my sleeve that I reckon never see another person at all and this may sound surprising, but there’s a lot of water or sections of water in the area that I’ve never fished – and I get around a bit! With a newborn baby recently arriving, my plan is to fish more locally with less travel time and more time fishing. I’ve already started mapping out day-trip excursions with a mate and can’t wait to find that jewel in the crown.

If any of this seems enticing but daunting, be sure to head into your local tackle store and have a chat. These guys are the brains trust on what’s happening where, why it’s happening, what you should use and whom it’s been happening to!

Armed with the above information, you should be in good stead to encounter the odd fish. If you have tried the above and don’t succeed, I’ll eat my fly-laden, hard-worn and sweat-stained fishing hat - but I’ll crimp the barbs first.

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