While driving home from a day at Blackridge Flyfishing School, the owner of the school, Mick Hall, told me that he is in the business of teaching flyfishing, not guiding. And after spending some time at the school’s Sedgemere property, his words really did prove to be true.
Mick provides a tuitional service, helping to improve his clients’ skills, while actually fishing some of Victoria’s most picturesque and toughest trout waters.
He specialises in advanced streamcraft and also teaches techniques such as short line casting, delivery casting, upstream mending and more.
From early September through to the middle of May, the waters of the Goulburn River are used to service the irrigation, so the river can fluctuate greatly. When the river is high, polarising techniques are necessary and Mick can also help in this department.
Mick’s one-day course covers all aspects of flyfishing in a step-by-step program. It includes assistance with selecting the right gear, tying fishing knots and rigs, making leaders, casting, reading mountain streams, dry fly and wet fly techniques, entomology, and playing fish.
This course is conducted every week of the year and is divided into two sessions. The first one is conducted in the barn, where the technical aspects are introduced. The second session is conducted on the water and the instructors work hard to help you catch your first wild trout on a fly.
The two-day course is an extension of the one-day course and includes a useful session on fly tying, where you can practise tying your own flies. This is followed by more time on the water. The objective of the two-day course is to catch your first trout, tie your first fly, and then catch another trout on that fly.
My first day at flyfishing school started in a fishing barn, which is used as a classroom. Mick Hall begins the course by explaining the construction of a fly rod and talking about different types of rods, both past and present. His explanations were clear and easy to understand, especially when he used equipment to give demonstrations.
With the theoretical side of flyfishing covered, it was time to have lunch out in the front gardens, where there is a magnificent view of the Snob Creek Valley Mountain Range.
After lunch, two of Mick’s clients, David Best and Neil Mann, were taken out to learn the fundamentals of casting. Following this, they were driven to the upper section of the Rubicon River to start their tuitional guiding. Walking to the river through lush paddocks and seeing the bright, flowing stream seemed to leave a lasting impression on David and Neil, who were very excited about catching their first trout on a fly.
Because of the weather and water conditions, nymphing techniques were necessary and Mick explained and demonstrated them in detail.
Neil was the first to feel the power of a wild trout on the end of the line - the bright strike indicator momentarily stopped its drift, telling Neil to lift the rod. Not long after, he was gently holding his first ever trout, a beautiful golden brown that was set free.
Meanwhile, David’s newly learnt fishing technique deceived another wild trout, but it was missed on the strike. Mick continually moved the boys from pool to pool, pointing out where to present the fly and explaining why.
David, who was learning quickly and working hard, had another trout take his fly, but again, it came unstuck on the strike. Mick replaced the lost fly with a new Gold Bead Head Nymph that is designed to sink with the added weight of the bead head.
With all the equipment in order, they began fishing the fast runs and pools. There was a bend in Neil’s rod and after a quick fight, he pulled in a wild brown trout, just under 1lb. The boys continued fishing and learning on the Rubicon River until Mick called it a day.
Mick makes and supplies all flies needed for the day, and if you want to learn the art of fly tying, there are two-day fly tying courses, designed for beginners. This course closely follows Mick Hall’s fly tying videos, Masterclass 1 and 2 and Saltwater Fly Tying Methods.
Experienced fly tiers can try the Classic Atlantic Salmon Fly Tying Clinic, conducted by Andrew Overton.
Mick arranges special accommodation at Blue Gums Caravan Park, opposite Sedgemere, for clients that need to stay overnight or longer.
Blue Gums takes in an area of twenty-five acres overlooking the Goulburn River. It has two swimming pools, recreation room, children’s playground, gas and electric BBQs, camp kitchen and kiosk. The range of accommodation includes luxury cabins (with ensuite bathrooms and separate bedrooms), a group dormitory, caravans and riverside camping sites.
After a short drive from the river we arrived back at Sedgemere and retired to the garden where we had a drink and discussed all things fishing.
David and Neil walked away from Mick Hall’s course with the theory and techniques of flyfishing, as well as a desire to learn even more about the intricacies of this wonderful sport.
For more information contact Mick Hall at Sedgemere, 785 Back Eildon Road or PO Box 123, Eildon Victoria, 3713. You can phone him on (03) 5774 2825 or 0427 445 439 or send a fax to (03) 5774 2826. Alternatively, visit his website at www.flyflickers.com or send an email to --e-mail address hidden--
Mick Hall in the classroom, showing his clients the working of a rod and more.
Mick Hall teaches casting techniques before hitting the water.
David Best studies the water carefully while Mick Hall teaches important flyfishing skills.
Neil Mann learns the art of nymphing and catches a brown trout into the bargain.
Neil Mann proudly displays his first trout on a fly after working a weighted nymph in the fast-running Rubicon River.Reads: 1903