Christopher Bassano began fly fishing as a teenager. He worked as a fly fishing guide in Tasmania for 24 years from 1993 to 2017 and has owned Tasmania’s leading guiding company, Rainbow Lodge Tasmania, since 2008. Christopher began competition fly fishing in 2010, winning the first competition that he entered. He has fished in eight national championships, winning three titles, coming second twice and never finishing outside the top ten.
He won the individual gold medal at the Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships in 2012 and was also a part of the gold medal winning Australian team at the same event. He has been selected in the Australian team every year since he started competing and finished 6th individually at his last world championships in Slovakia - the best result by an Australian on mainland Europe.
Christopher’s kindly gave us his top three tips to becoming a better angler.
- PRACTICE: If you want to be a good competitor, practice is critical. That doesn’t mean you simply go fishing whenever you can, but that when you go fishing, you are practicing for a competition and not simply having fun. Practice is rarely as much fun as simply fishing. Set goals and try to achieve them. Work on those things that you are worst at and turn your weakness into your strength. This takes singlemindedness and dedication.
- FISH BAD WATER AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE: Too often I see anglers run to the best water. Any competent angler can catch fish in good water but not many can catch fish in bad water. During almost every competition you fish in, you will have to try to catch fish out of less than ideal water. These are the sessions that will win or lose you a competition. You don’t have to win every session in order to win a competition. Catching two fish from a beat that most people blank is more important than catching 30 fish from a beat that most people catch 28 from. If you are not used to fishing poor water and working hard for your fish, how can you expect to do well under pressure when this is the water you have drawn?
- IT IS NOT THE FLY: More often than not, the fly you are using is not the reason why you did not do well. On the odd occasion, a fly might be advantageous but as long as the fly you are using is roughly the right size or shape, you will be able to catch plenty of fish with it. How and where you deliver that fly and how that fly is fished are the most important factors.