Unless you live in the heart of mainland Australia’s trout country – the Snowy Mountains and NE Victoria’s High Country – chances are your access to reliable trout water has been reduced even more than it already was over these last few years. Prolonged drought, bushfires, invasive species and even social media have all had a part to play in whittling away the trout populations across the New England, Barrington Tops, Central West and the Blue Mountains.
Now more than ever, finding healthy populations of trout in these marginal waters requires anglers to go that extra mile. Small streams become the norm, with fishing quality seemingly dependant on how gnarly and overgrown the water is more than anything else. The heavy overhead vegetation both provides respite from the harsh summers for the fish and puts the water into the ‘too hard basket’ for most anglers. For the adventurous though, these little streams can provide some fantastic fishing, especially if you have the right tool for the job.
This summer saw me looking further afield than usual to get my trout fix. My usual local streams had either dried up, cooked the trout population or been invaded by carp - thanks drought. Through some research and invaluable information from a friend I was fortunate enough to fish one of these overgrown ‘twigwaters’, full of willing dry fly munching trout. The only problem was my fast 8’6” four weight was just too much rod for such small, challenging water.
Short casts with only a few feet of fly line or roll casts were almost exclusively used, and the length of my rod combined with its action and flex profile meant my flies were spending more time in the branches above and behind me than drifting down a fish’s feeding lane. Something needed to change. And it did - enter the Scott F-Series 6’6” three weight.
After a few sessions now on this creek with the F-Series, I can unequivocally say that, in my opinion, there is no better small stream rod. Being a short fibreglass rod, it can cast beautiful loops with deadly accuracy with almost only the leader out of the rod tip. The rod has a slower action too, which forces you as an angler to slow down with it. This reduces angler error and has stopped me impulsively and hurriedly casting at a spotted rise, only to have my fly in the foliage behind me. You just catch more fish when you slow down and take your time.
Apart from being the absolute perfect tool for landing dry flies in amongst the tight stuff, it’s incredible fun when playing a fish, especially those on the smaller side. 5-6-inch fish I’d often pull out of the water on the strike with my faster graphite rod instead put a deep bend in the F-Series, almost down to the cork, which really adds to the overall experience that small stream fishing offers.
With trout fishing outside of the Snowies and Tasmania becoming more and more about small water and jewel-like fish, owning this once-niche rod is starting to make more and more sense. It’s an investment, there’s no doubt about it, but if twigwater is your cup of tea – and even if it’s not given the current conditions - do yourself a favour and consider adding the F-Series to your quiver. It’ll re-define your small stream fly fishing.