The acronym ‘FIFO’ stands for fly-in, fly-out and is most often used in relation to remote mining operations employees who fly to the site to commence their week or fortnight of shifts, then fly home afterwards for a break with their families. However, with the advent of fully equipped ‘turn-key’ hire packages of vehicles and boats, the FIFO concept now has genuine relevance in fishing circles as well!
Late this past spring, my wife Jo and I took advantage of exactly such a business that operates on the island state of Tasmania. The brainchild of Ulverstone tackle shop proprietor Clinton Howe, Tassie Boat Hire kicked off in mid-2015 offering a single boat rig and 4WD vehicle, but has already expanded with the addition of new hire packages.
Jo and I were picked up from Launceston airport upon arrival by Clinton in his first full rig: a 420 Quintrex Renegade towed by a 2011 model Mitsubishi Triton dual cab ute. Clinton drove to a nearby service centre to run us through the rig and complete the necessary paperwork, and then we were off on our own for a wonderful week in the Central Highlands chasing Tasmania’s famous wild trout on fly.
From the outset, Jo and I were totally blown away by Clinton’s professionalism and the incredibly high standard of every component of the hire gear, from vehicle, boat and trailer to the smaller but equally important stuff like safety gear, battery charger, drift drogue (sea anchor), marine radio and on-board electronics. Everything worked exactly as it was meant to!
Tassie Boat Hire’s 420 Quintrex Renegade is powered by a 40HP Evinrude 2-stroke motor on the stern, has a Minn Kota Terrova auto-pilot electric up front, as well as all the ‘fruit’ you could possibly need for full-blown freshwater, estuary and inshore work in between. It really is ready to rumble!
We confined our activities to the Central Highland Lakes, concentrating on Penstock, Woods, Arthurs, Little Pine and Crescent, but this rig is also spot-on for chasing Tassie’s big, blue-nosed bream in the state’s many estuaries, or even venturing up to a couple of kilometres offshore (on the right day) to tangle with all manner of goodies, right up to kingfish and even tuna!
We experienced very strong winds during our time in the high country, with the Bureau of Meteorology issuing small boat warnings for the lakes on several of the days we fished. The hired rig easily took these demanding conditions in its stride and we stayed surprisingly dry. Personally, I’d like to have seen a 50 or even 60 HP donk on the hull, but the 40 performed well enough two-up, and was quite economical to run. From memory, we spent less than $30 on juice for the outboard across our week!
The boat’s generous, fully-plumbed live well was wonderful for keeping a few trout alive and healthy between photo shoots, or to bring one home at day’s end for the table, and would suit tournament anglers perfectly. In fact, with the blossoming bream tournament circuit in Tasmania these days, it’s hardly surprising that a large proportion of Clinton’s customers are mainlanders flying south to compete in various ABT events.
The diesel Triton tow vehicle was clean, comfortable and reasonably economical to run. It never missed a beat and handled the sometimes-corrugated dirt roads with ease.
All up costs for hiring the 4WD, boat and ancillary gear, plus airport transfers, come in at less than $350 per day, which is excellent value in my opinion, especially when split between two or three anglers. Discounts are also available for extended hire periods, and both the vehicle and boat are available for separate hire, if need be. Weighed up against the time, hassle and expense of driving your own rig to Melbourne and catching the ferry across Bass Strait, Clinton’s service makes a great deal of sense. For Melbourne residents, in particular, it means that a fast getaway for a weekend or long weekend of fishing on the Apple Isle is now do-able and affordable!
If you’d like to learn more about this unique FIFO service for serious anglers visiting the Devil’s Playground, scan the QR code accompanying this review to watch the short YouTube video clip that Jo and I put together during our stay. If you haven’t mastered QR codes, or don’t have the correct app to read them, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgtlrWUniP8 or simply Google ‘FIFO Tasmanian Trout’ and you’ll soon find the clip.
You can also find out more, get detailed prices or make a booking by visiting Tassie Boat Hire’s website at www.tassieboathire.com.au, going to their page on Facebook, or giving Clinton a call on 0429 475 550. Be sure to tell him Starlo sent you and he’ll look after you extra well!Reads: 651