Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Pretty Fly for a Bass Club Guy

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Pretty Fly for a Bass Club Guy

Article excerpt

Byline: Lesley Apps lesley.apps@dailyexaminer.com.au

TRADITIONALLY fly-fishing usually conjures up images of high-brow English eccentrics donning waders and floppy hats, up to the waist in cold, high-country streams, as they wrist flick their way through the trout populations while taking leave from occupations such as police inspector or Queen's Counsel.

But not here in the Clarence. Here you sit in a boat just as any fisherman would and land the same fish if not many more of them.

"On a good day we can outfish the bait and lure fisherman 10 to one," says Gregg Spies, a member of the small but very active Big River Bass Fly Fishing Club.

Apart from bass that will "go for your finger if you stick in the water and they're in a bad mood," hand-crafted flies will also land you a stock-standard Clarence mullet or flathead.

Gregg said there used to be a bit of hierarchy with fly-fishing because the gear was more expensive, but "nowadays it was pretty much the same price to set up as other styles - from $80 up to $200 will get you started."

He said the flies themselves could also be a lot cheaper especially if you made your own.

"It costs me about a $1 to make a basic one, which is great if you are fishing in hard-to-reach places that you don't want to risk losing a $30 lure to."

Gregg said the technique the fly-fishers used was more of a hunting method than a case of casting, sitting and waiting.

"The idea is the make the fly look alive by jiggling it across the top of the water. It's a more visual sport, watching the surface for activity. Usually they bite when you are unprepared and half way through a sandwich."

Gregg said the Big River group was a catch-and-release club, something he was rather passionate about. "I've been fishing for bass here for 14 years and never eaten one. I always say they are too good to only catch once so basically we catch them, kiss them and let it go. …

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