Craig started fishing as a toddler with his Grandfather who would take him up the Central Highlands of Tasmania regularly, he cut his teeth fishing both spinning and fishing with a wattle grub. Craig started flyfishing around his early twenty’s and hasn’t stopped since. Craig has represented Australia numerous times at all levels including Worlds, Commonwealth (Gold medal team 2012) and Oceania Championships. Craig is a born and bred Tasmanian and has fished Tasmanian waters his whole life, his knowledge of these waters has been invaluable for team members.
Craig’s hot tips on becoming a better fly angler are;
1. How is your leader set up for “shark fishing” on Great Lake?
Fishing for browns and rainbows in the waves on Great Lake is my number 1 form of sight fishing. It’s without a doubt for me the most exciting way to catch trout, polaroiding big Browns and Rainbows in the waves in the middle of the Central Highlands of Tasmania is just amazing. The warmer months in Tasmania brings with it some of the most amazing insect hatches and with Duns hatching flat out on Lakes like Little Pine and Pentsock. However, for me it’s the gum beetles hatching and landing in the middle of Great Lake. The perfect scenario for experiencing this spectacle is a 20-28 degree day cobalt blue sky with 10-20 knot Northerly blowing straight down the lake and ideally a good sized boat as it can get very rough quickly. If you’re lucky enough to strike these conditions get out on the lake. Then it’s pretty simple: find the food, find the fish and once you’ve found one feeding you will generally find plenty. A tip is watch the waves and as they open up you will start to see fish swimming around looking for beetles. For chasing “Shark Feeders” on Great Lake I prefer a Tapered Leader of around 18ft then tie on individual droppers of about 1ft these are typically 5 to 6ft apart, in a big wind generally two flies on a shorter leader is equally as effective, I generally keep the fly selection simple, big Foam Gum Beetle patterns are first tie on for me however Seals Fur Hoppers and Carrot Fly’s work a treat, just make sure they are big and buoyant. This form of fishing is a must if you’re in the Highlands in summer, don’t forget the polaroids and hat!
2. What weather conditions should I expect in the Central Highlands of Tasmania?
Tasmania’s Central Highlands is very unpredictable when it comes to what weather to expect. One minute glam conditions, the next a 40 knot gale and not to mention we have had snow blizzards on Christmas Day! Make sure you bring plenty of warm clothes, jackets, waterproof gear and if boating check your favourite weather App as well as locals before going out. Remember to bring Windstopper gear if you can keep the cold wind out you will stay warm. Standard issue in my boat is fingerless gloves, windstopper neck warmer and jacket. Oh, and a beanie is a must. It’s also important to make sure your life vests are auto self-deploying ones, the water can be extremely cold in the cooler months.
3. Waders for rivers vs waders for lakes:
I prefer Simms waders and boots for the rivers they are amazing, I had a pair of new G3 Guide Waders for the Italy Worlds in 2011 and still use them today. For the boat it’s the same G3 Guide Wader coupled with the new Simms Flyweight wading boot with no studs are perfect, although if its winter or a colder day then neoprene’s are an option in the boat. Word of warning, do not wear studs in boots on the boat as carpet and timber floors are easily damaged but more importantly fly lines can be cut or damaged beyond repair. Please remember that ideally you need studs in your boots for wading rivers in Tasmania as most of them are extremely slippery and neoprene wader rubber sole boots are definitely not cut out for this purpose. Neoprene’s are fine for wading lake shorelines but the Simms breathable waders are the only way to go, these are both lightweight and obviously a breathable material which make them perfect for walking longer distances.