VOLUME 28, ISSUE 10. May 2022

The first night having dinner at The Blue Duck Inn, during our trip to Big River (Upper Mitta Mitta River) in May 2021.

The Mitta Mitta River, on one of the farmer's property, where we will be fishing on our club trip later in May.


Next Members Monthly Meeting

Our next Members Monthly Meeting will be held "Live" back at The Freeway. The meeting will kick off at 7:00pm on Monday, 9th May 2022.

Our guest speaker segment will be shared amongst a number of our club members chatting about gear and equipment one should have with you when fishing, such as Epirb's, first aid kit, fishing aids, wading sticks, and much much more.

Plus we will have the Buy, Sell or Swap segment where you can dispose of your excess gear or stuff you don't use anymore or sell what you bought on previous ocassions.

Please view further down the Flyrodder for further details.


Next Members Monthly Fly Tying 

The Next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting will be held "Live" on the 16th May 2022.

See further details below under the Fly Tying segment.


President's Report

Denis Hill on Perisher Creek.

Dear {Contact_First_Name},

I am sure everyone is sick of the rain, but the silver lining is the continued healthy flow in all our rivers has extended the two years plus of healthy growth all across the Eastern trout waters - from Oberon all the way to the bottom of Victoria. There are still six weeks left in this year’s river trout fishing so get out there and take advantage of the best NSW trout season in years. 

While we still have the tail of the season to enjoy, the Committee is turning it’s thoughts to planning for winter and next season. So now is a great time for you to let the Committee know if you want to see more or less of anything. 

  • We are happily back to live Club meetings and will of course continue Covid allowing. Any suggestions on subjects for presentation or guest speakers welcome.
  • We have managed to run several very successful trips away over the over the Trout season. We intend to run the same trip program in the future, plus run a Tassie trip. But please let us know if you have suggestions or changes you would like to see to our trip away program.
  • Casting practice is proving increasingly popular and is the backbone of the Club’s efforts to introduce new members to the sport and raise the quality of casting across the Club. We will of course continue with this program.
  • Fly tying has been slow in recovering from the Covid lockdowns. We have had a few months of Fly Tying back in the Henley Community Centre but our numbers attending are not back to pre-Covid levels – not sure why ?? hopefully the attendance numbers will increase over Winter – suggestions or concerns welcome.
  • Our half day Saltwater events have proven very popular, and we will certainly continue with these – it has been difficult to organize these saltwater events over the recent months as the whole Sydney basin has been flooded with dirty runoff. 
  • We have our Tuition/Skills weekend organized for August this year and it is fully booked, so it will remain as a permanent event on our calendar. 
  • Last year we had two Saltwater Introduction weekend events organized with Brian Henderson up at Smiths Lake but had to cancel them due to Covid – the Committee hasn’t discussed trying to run these weekends again – your input is welcome.

In this month’s FlyRodder there is a great article by Rob Cummins on his first 12 months with the Club and Rob makes the point that to get the best out of the Club you should attend the Club Events and I wholeheartedly agree. While we have done much better this year than previously, with many new members (and several longer-term members we have been missing,) attending Events, there are still many members we just don’t see – is there anything we can do to get you involved or reinvolved?

If you have comments or suggestions, please speak with any of the Committee members or you can email me on denisjhill47@gmail.com

Tight Lines 

Denis Hill



From the Editor

Gavin at Smith's Lake with a nice bream.

We are not that far away from the closed trout river season, so just over 5 weeks left for the rivers; which are in the best condition for many a year. So still time to get out there.

But then we have plenty of salt water fishing opportunities on our doorstep, so we will be organising more of these casual salt water outings; but we have many areas for flats or easy fishing on the Harbour, Pittwater, Botany etc.

Casting Practice is scheduled for this coming Sunday, 8th May, so get down there as these sessions are wonderful for improving your casting skills and technique by leaps and bounds, under the tuition of David Caddies; details of which appear later in this Flyrodder.

Our next Members Monthly Meeting on 9th May will also be a wonderful "sharing of fly fishing information" where some of our experienced members will chat about the systems and gismo's they find very useful. This will assist you in getting the most appropriate tools and miscellaneous items and also where best to spend your hard earned dollars.

Looking forward to catching up at a meeting or event over the coming months.

Gavin van der Wagen




Last Monthly Meeting and Guest Speaker Report

Steve Peach and James Webber kick off the meeting  

We were "Live" again for our April Members Monthly Meeting at The Freeway Hotel in Artarmon.

Our guest speaker segment was more than adequately filled by various members accounts of events past and upcoming.

Some of the members attending the meeting

Trevor Sweeney talks, during the fishing reports segment, about his fishing experiences and made particular mention, as a new member of the club, how organised we are and very fortunate that we have so many events and knowledge based activities compared with other clubs around. (Ed. it's been really great that we have many new members who have been getting involved in the events and activities that we offer).

Roger Thornback sharing information on his recent fishing experiences.

Mark Bransgrove presents on the Jindabyne trip, staying at the Piste Haus.

Rob Cummins presents on the March trip to Big River (the upper Mitta Mitta River) staying at 2 venues at Anglers Rest in the Victorian High Country. Rob also wrote a brilliant report titled "My first twelve months as a Sydney Flyrodder - some thoughts for other newbies"; which follows later in this edition of the May Flyrodder newsletter. (Ed. Rob has come along in leaps and bounds with his Flyfishing. Prior to joining our club he hadn't caught a fish on fly, though he is experienced and accomplished in the other forms of fishing. Rob has basically attended most events and activities that we have to offer, including our wonderful Monthly Casting Practice sessions, run by David Caddies, and this is the reason that he has improved his fly fishing skills so rapidly. So please enjoy his account later in this edition).

Dave Webster gave his account of the December trip to Long Plain. This is a "no frills' camping trip, but we do add our frills with the meals we cook, an apéritif or two, and enjoy the magnificent scenery and environment with our fellow members plus when we congregate around the evening fire to share our good and hard luck accounts of the day.

Steve Peach chats about the Geehi Trip which precedes the Long Plain trip. It's also a camping trip and flexible in that members can pick and choose when to attend this segment as well as the immediately following Long Plain trip.

Gavin van der Wagen (Editor Flyrodder) presented on the upcoming trip to Mitta Mitta in May. No photo of him as he forgot to take a selfie!!) He also presented on the upcoming Tuition Weekend held annually in Wallerawang staying at the Black Gold Motel and Cabins.

James Webber (who appears in the first photo of this report) wrapped up by covering many of the other activities that we run throughout the year. Events such as the monthly Casting Practice on a Sunday, the Salt Water Social fishing outings around Sydney, the Luderick fishing events on a Sunday, Hen & Chicken Bay outings, the wonderful tuition by Brian Henderson, Australia's leading fly fishing and casting instructor who is also involved globally in the FFI program, which is the basis for David Caddies monthly Casting Practice on a Sunday, where we improve our casting skills "off the charts" and can also attain Bronze, Silver or Gold level competency according to the FFI standard.

You can view all of these presentation segments by clicking onto this link below in our Members Private YouTube Video Library:


You can also view this video and indeed all the previous presentations on our members private video library on YouTube. To view them please click on the following link:



We have many wonderful videos in our Private Members Video Library, in fact they're all wonderful and informative, plus you can view them at your leisure!


Next Monthly Meeting and Guest Speaker

Our May 2022 Members Monthly Meeting will be held "Live" on Monday, 9th May at The Freeway Hotel up in the mezzanine one level up, in our own private room.

Our guest speaker segment will again be filled by club members covering many aspects of fly fishing, including but not limited to:

What we Carry:

The subject of the gear we carry aside from our rods and reels is one of constant discussion between our members, from new members asking “what’s good?” to our more experienced sharing a better solution to an old problem. Trial and error with fly fishing gear can be a very expensive way to outfit yourself. So this month a number of our members are going to share “What they carry and why”. As always there will be open discussion and during the presentation there will undoubtedly be a number of comments and questions. Be sure to attend this meeting  - cut out the trial and error and find out what works and what could work for you.

We will cover items such as: 

Safety - EPIRB's, First Aid Kits,

Water vessels,

Wading sticks,


knot tools, zingers, nets and attachments, waders and wading belts, fly boxes,

and how to carry all these bits and pieces in the most organised and effective manner.  

Buy, Swap or Sell

Also, at this month’s meeting we will hold a buy swap and sell. It’s approaching the end of the trout season and for some it's a great time to get rid of that gear that you superseded through the season and for others a great time to acquire a bargain on some gear you have been thinking about.

The meeting will kick off as usual at 7:00pm with general matters then around half an hour later we will have a number of club members speaking on the above mentioned topics.

For those unable to attend the meeting we will be recording the presentation and then uploading it to our Club Members Private Video Library on YouTube. 

To access this library, please click on the following link:


You will also be able to view all the previous meeting presentations that we have recorded, and view at your leisure.

Many of our attendees arrive a bit earlier and have dinner either before, else the bar staff will deliver your meal order to our meeting room and you can enjoy your meal, and or drink, whilst the meeting is underway. The food is good value for money and the company is priceless!! So come along and have a relaxing and entertaining meeting where you can meet other members and pick up on useful snippets information that is shared amongst the group.

Our Meeting is normally held on the 2nd Monday of each month, unless it is a public holiday; in which case it will be delayed a week. 

There is ample parking in the parking garage under the Freeway Hotel, which is accessed from Dickson Avenue (at the back), just off Reserve Road, in Artarmon.

The address is 115 Reserve Road, Artarmon 2064 (for for GPS), on the corner of Dickson Avenue. 

Looking forward to catching up at the meeting.


New Members

We had seven new members join the club in April 2022.

We welcome Stephen Elliott, Alexander Fesq, Gregory McElroy, Richard Stewart, Mark van Dyck, Stella Lim and John Vernon to our Club. A very big welcome back to the club to John Vernon. It's great to have you back.

We encourage new members to join in on the many activities that we run as this is a good way to meet other club members and also to improve your fly fishing skills and most importantly to have a great time.

Looking forward to meeting you at our Monthly Members Meetings and at events throughout the coming year.


Last Months Casting Practice Report

CASTING PRACTICE REPORT                                   Sunday 3 April 2022

After days of rain the sun finally shone as a large group of casting practitioners got together for monthly practice. Most attendees were in fact newish club members or first-timers or both. Great to see the interest in casting and socializing. They were a very keen group too, I must say. We actually had sufficient numbers to form two full soccer teams, plus 2 linesmen and a referee. Our biggest turnout ever, 25. 

We had a reasonable spot to play in, given the grass growth this summer. Even the adjacent sports fields had not been mown. We have a secret weapon, however. The intrepid George not only scouted the best area in the Canada Bay council area in the preceding days, but also went ahead and mowed a sufficient area of grass on which to practice and had his grass rake at the ready on the day. A big thanks to George!

Expecting such a roll up of new casters, we were ready to rock the basics. The main objectives of the day were (probably in this order):-

1. Soccer is not the beautiful game. Flycasting is. 

Building motivation to do, and enjoy, practising fly casting. Not only at club practice days, but throughout the flyfishing journey. Do it to improve your fishing and do it for pleasure. Enjoy the glow that comes from mastering a skill. Bash on through the frustrations. 

2. “What I saw the line doing and how did I make that happen.”

Overall objective (longer term): Be able to control every part of the flyline in the air. Close observation and properly diagnosing your cast will help you improve faster. We did a lot of work on understanding the level of concentration needed to be an accurate observer of your own flycast. Time was spent making simple moves with the rod and line just to get to know how our rod and line responds to the amount of force and direction we apply to them.  Nobody should now fail to recognize and identify the sight of a wide, failing loop. Take a leaf from the ball sports when they say, in cricket for example, “keep your eye on the ball”. We keep our eye on the line in the air or lying on the ground to show us how we are moving our body, arms and the rod. It’s completely connected. Cause and effect. Somebody mentioned diagnosing your golf swing errors from seeing the way the ball might ‘slice’. A good example, but there is little grace in swinging a golf club, so we didn’t discuss that any further. 

3. You mean I just shelled out a packet for a “bendy stick”?

How rods and lines move. Especially the rod tip. We got stuck into the manner of forming loops – we now know what they are and how they are formed. Especially the big, wide ones we don’t want to do much anymore. We’ve got the theory down, at least. We learnt that our arms have 3 joints to use and our body and legs make a contribution if we use them well. 

We learnt the application of some basic words and phrases:

Casting arc; the line is the weight that takes the fly; thick to thin; rod tip path; fast to slow; loading the rod; stop_ stop; stop_stop; straight line; doming; narrow loop; parallel legs; rod leg/fly leg.  

If all this sounds very serious, be aware that due time was taken to generally mill about; meet other people and inspect their gear or just sit and absorb the sunshine. 

The journey resumes next casting practice day.

Let’s call the next one “Narrowing the loop and casting accurately to a fish”.

I suggest that if you want to watch any videos of basic casting that you start with the very structured and professional videos on the Fly Fishers International website, here: 


I completely recommend them. Take the videos to the park with you. Watch and learn. See and copy correct moves. Build slowly and surely. 

For more advanced casters, there will be an emphasis on varying casting planes and developing standardized practice routines, with a lot of the foregoing fundamental stuff (above) cunningly embedded. And some roll cast revision, as ever, if time permits. 



Our next Casting Practice will be held on the 8th May 2022.

See the next section for more details.

Some photos follow of the morning session.

Click on the following link for the complete set of photos:



Club Monthly Casting Practice - Details and Event Schedule.


Members are welcome to join in with each other to practice casting at this club event. It is held monthly, on a Sunday morning at Timbrell Park, Five Dock. The dates are set out in the club’s website Events calendar. The plan is to fix the first Sunday in every month as the date.  We encourage new members to attend as this is a great way to get involved in the club’s activities and meet other members. 

If you have any queries, contact David Caddies through the club’s website, where you will find his email address. 

An email reminder is usually sent around in the week leading up to the practice date. 


The practice organiser will be there to make you welcome and give you something useful to practice on. Or, bring your own practice drills to do and to share. You do need to be a club member, but you don’t need to register. Just turn up.

We usually start at 8:00am, focussing on the basic elements of casting. At 9:00am, when most members arrive, we switch to other skills practices. Any good practice session starts with the basics. If you are a beginner, or not confident in your casting or have persistent faults or inadequacies, or are just looking for a way into more advanced casts, a good grasp of and drilling in the basics is necessary, so come at 8 am. That means, be there with rod already rigged up by 8am. If you think you need to do the 8 am session, you should also plan to stay on into the next session. We generally finish around 11am, but there is no set time to finish.  

FFI Casting Skills Development Program  During the practice session which commences at 9 am, there will usually be a demonstration of the 6 or 7 casts in the Bronze or Silver level of the FFI Casting Skills Development program. Members who are interested in attempting to be assessed in specific casts from the program on a formal basis can be accommodated if time permits, but that may be after the normal practice or on another day to be arranged. Nobody is ever asked to perform the tasks, participate in the program or be formally assessed in any casting task. I support it because it is a good motivator and accelerates proficiency because it is properly-structured to enhance skill development for flyfishing. Once you see the demonstrations, you can decide if you are interested.  
This revised program has just been formally implemented and was put up on the Fly Fishers International website in December 2021. It is a new series of levels, with the same names (Bronze, Silver, Gold) as the previous ones with which some members will be familiar. The grading has been altered so that the more difficult casts are now more obviously higher up the scale. I strongly encourage all members to believe that they can become proficient at all the casts in the Bronze and Silver levels. They have been the subject of extensive brainstorming and refinement by some of the best brains in the flyfishing world, in answer to the question: “What do flyfishers really need to be able to do with a flyrod?” All of these are fishing casts or entail skills required for fishing. Each task description is backed by an explanation of why you would use it when fishing. You will find that, over time, the emphasis given to methods and drills at club practice is highly correlated to these tasks. The Gold level is a steeper learning curve and will appeal to some – especially if you achieve the Silver level casts, you won’t want to stop there; guaranteed. 

While you are on the FFI website, also have a look around in the Learning Centre. Simple explanations and good quality videos of basic casting skills are available there. These are based on sound principles of casting and are free of B-S, unlike many pretenders you see on the internet. 

Read about the FFI program here:



1. Bring your favourite rod and line, or the outfit you need to get to know better.  A tapered leader of 7’6” - 8’ is recommended, but not too light. One tapered down to 10 pounds would be ideal.  (0X,1X or 2X if you speak in X’s). Definitely not longer than 9’, including tippet. 

2. A brightly-coloured wool or yarn fly should be tied to the end of the leader – say a piece of thin wool about 10cm long, folded in half once and then once again and then tied to the line the middle. Two triple surgeon’s knots one on top of the other should work for the knot. Cut any loops that are left in the wool so that you have 8 separate strands of wool knotted in the middle and hanging off the end of the leader. Trim these to be about 12 millimetres long overall. You might need to trim the outer pieces a bit shorter to give it a bit of shape. If all that has you lost, just come and we’ll sort you out. 

3. Do not use a real fly, or a cut-down fly or anything incorporating metal when at club practice, for safety reasons.  

4. Speaking of which, take the usual precaution of using proper eye protection (sunglasses).

Covid stuff: In order to cut down the risk of viruses being transmitted, until things get safer, we must keep to no handshaking, 1.5 metre social distancing and not handling anything you did not bring with you. Tedious, I know.

So, for the time being, bring your own targets if possible. Unwanted CD’s make ideal targets. Other items such as white plastic jar lids, beer coasters, soccer cones etc are all useful. These should already be in your personal practice kit, if that is what you regularly do, or intend to do. A cheap 30 metre (100 foot) tape measure with a handle wind-up is always useful – marked for metric and imperial is good. Around $20-25 will get a reasonable one. Alternatively, or in addition, a similar length of coloured rope is handy for most basic drills. 


Timbrell Park, Henley Marine Drive, Five Dock. Go to the western end of Henley Marine Drive, past the cricket pitches, baseball nets and just past LIvvi’s coffee kiosk and kids’ playground area.

There is an open area opposite where Ingham Avenue intersects with Henley Marine Drive which we use. It is not part of the sports fields. If they haven’t cut the grass recently enough, we sometimes go across the canal to another open area. Look across there if you don’t see us at the usual spot. 

TIME:   8 am for specific casting basics (all welcome). 
             9 am for usual practice session (all welcome).

So come and give it a try, as there is so much to be gained  by attending these sessions. And they are Free!!!

Our next Casting Practice will be held on the 8th May 2022 at 8:00am.


Last Months Fly Tying Meeting Report

In March, we held our first fly tying session live, since Covid19 last intervened, and our master fly tyer, Dave Wilson led the session. Unfortunately only 6 members showed up because many of the usual attendees were on fishing trips. But then those who attended had the benefit of more attention and tuition from Dave.

There was no April Meeting due to Easter, Anzac Day all taking up the Mondays.

The pleasing aspect was that we had some new members attend, which is great as our next meeting in May should therefore be well attended.

Previously our Fly Tying Guru Dave Wilson gave us a series of 4 Master Class Fly Tying presentations and Videos, covering the history of fly tying through to the best way to kick off your fly tying adventurers and how to select your fly tying vise and tools from the myriad of options and prices which can be most confusing. This will assist you to kick off in the most appropriate manner to meet your specific requirements.

Most of us decide to tie a pattern and then set about learning the required skills just for that pattern. But from Dave's videos you will see that 7 tying skills will cover you tying 95% of the flies that you will ever want to tie.

So jump on our Private Members Video Library on YouTube.

To view them please click on the following link:


Happy Viewing as we have some wonderful information in this library!


Next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting

Our next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting will be held "Live" on the 16th May 2022.

We cater for all level's of fly tyers; from those who have never tied a fly and wish to give it a go or just want to come in and have a look and observe. No obligation and it's all free.

If you don't have the gear then come along as we have around 12 spare vises that you can use and we can scrounge up other tools to get you started. This is a great way to see what's involved before you head off and purchase the fly tying tools. This will assist you greatly in making the appropriate choices of equipment and materials that will best suite your specific needs. I bought the wrong vise to start with, and then went back to upgrade; and I was lucky because where I bought it they gave me an upgrade at the price difference. (Ed).

The venue is the Henley Community Centre in Hunters Hill/Henley, and we meet in the Green Room (through the front door and it's the room on the right; if you go left you'll be playing Contract Bridge!!!).

The venue address is: Crown Street, Henley, NSW 2111. As you turn into Crown Street, from Victoria Road, take the first left and drive down a bit of a bumpy road, and it's the last building about a 100 yards down the drag. There's parking off the track and walk through a small road (some do park just outside the building), but it's a short walk to the front door past a bowling green (may be a veggie patch now).

This month we will be tying a version of the Para Wulff, which is an adaptation of the popular Royal Wulff. The fly is usually tied on larger, ie size 8 or 10 hook, as an attractor. It has been used with great success to imitate large mayfly & caddis hatches. This version has a straight hackle fibre tail so that it sits lower in the water. A Deer or Elk hair tail can be substituted to make it float better in rougher water. We can make both at the fly tying night. The fly can be seen well in the current due to the coloured post. Come along to the night & learn how to make one, you will enjoy yourself.


My First Twelve Months as a Sydney Flyrodder - some thoughts for other newbies

by Rob Cummins

I joined the Flyrodders 12 months ago, and my experience has been so incredibly rewarding that I wanted to document some of the things I’ve learned along the way. A few new members may hopefully find one or two things of use below. Please note that these are simply my opinions/experiences. You may disagree or find other ways of doing the same thing.  And I apologise if this is a bit long.

My background: I’ve been a keen bait and lure fisho all my life, but had never caught a fish on fly before I joined the club 12 months ago. After three club trips and a few personal trips, I’m now a pathetic addict. I’m definitely still a beginner, but probably now qualify as Not-Totally-Incompetent. And I’m catching fish. Quite a few actually, though I’m also still losing many more.

Please note that all my comments and suggestions below refer to trout fishing, although some may have relevance to bass and/or saltwater. 

1.   Casting. Before I joined the club, my knowledge of casting was limited to a couple of solo sessions on the shores of Lake Jindabyne and a few YouTube videos. I was pretty hopeless, so before my first trip away, I attended a couple of David Caddies’ free monthly casting practice sessions. He quickly straightened out some bad habits and answered my numerous questions. Many of the attendees were very experienced casters, so it was great to see that even they felt that there was value in these sessions. David assured me that I shouldn’t worry about trying to cast too far. Sure enough, when on the river, my first hookup was barely 3m away! And when you’re learning, the further you try to cast, the more likely you’ll get caught in trees, blackberries etc. Don’t ask me how I know. When lockdowns have allowed, I’ve been to a few other casting mornings and they’re always worthwhile. 

2.   Knots. On my first trip, I was amazed at how often I needed to re-tie my rigs, due to ridiculous tangles, snags, trees etc. Fortunately, as a long-time fisho, I already knew my knots very well. If you don’t, make sure you learn a few key knots really well before you get on the river. You’ll be using them a lot, and you don’t want to be wasting time when the fish are rising. Practise on thicker line initially (maybe 10 to 15lb) but then tie them again and again on light line (say 5X or 5lb) or whatever line you’ll be using on the river. I found that it's muchharder to tie good knots on light tippet, and I always test them with a good tug. I personally use either a clinch or a Davey knot for tying hooks on tippet, a uni knot for tippet rings, although a clinch knot would also do, and a triple surgeons or an Orvis leader knot for joining tippet to leader. You should also learn the nail knot for tying leader to fly line if you don’t have a loop in the fly line. There are heaps of other great knots. Just pick a few and learn to tie them well. 

3.   Definitely go on club trips! Do whatever you can to get a leave pass from your partner/boss/rugrats and come away for a week. I was initially worried that I’d make a complete goose of myself among seasoned anglers, but I never felt intimidated and I learned more on my first trip than I could have possibly imagined. Everyone made me welcome, and it was brilliant when I actually caught some fish as the others really helped me celebrate my little successes. 

4.   Buying gear. My basic philosophy was that I wasn’t going to buy expensive gear initially. Firstly, I didn’t really know what I wanted or needed, and since I’m a clumsy git, I didn’t want to break a thousand dollar rod before I knew how to use it. I have learned however that it is definitely worth spending good money on certain things…

  • a)  I bought an oldish but sound second hand 9ft 5wt rod for $50 at a club meeting. I’m very happy with it and will certainly continue using it for the time being. Some years ago I inherited a couple of old (40+ years) Hardy clicker reels that worked fine on my first trip but I really didn’t like them as they were noisy and the drag was very dodgy. I sold them (there’s a good collector market for vintage reels!) and with the proceeds bought a heap of other stuff including an inexpensive ($55) but surprisingly well-made, new MaxCatch Avid reel, following a recommendation from my very experienced fishing buddy (Thanks Grant!). The purists may scoff, but I’ve found it perfect for my needs. It’s not suitable for salt water though as the drag isn’t sealed. The drag is, however, very smooth, progressive and quite strong. I’ve also now bought an inexpensive 3wt 10’ Euro nymphing rod and an 8wt rod for saltwater use. Sage or Loomis rods and reels can always come later. At least then I’ll be an experienced clumsy git.
  • b)  I felt it was worth buying some decent brand name waders and boots. The thought of having cheap generic waders fall apart or leak in cold water while on a trip in the middle of the boonies was simply unacceptable. I bought some Orvis Clearwater waders and Orvis Ultralight boots - at over $750 for the set, they’re certainly not cheap, but I’m really happy with them.
  • c)   A lot of waders, including my Clearwaters, include a useless stretchy belt. Again, on Grant’s suggestion, I chucked mine in the bin and bought an $8 Kinchrome tradie’s belt from Bunnings. Because it doesn’t stretch, this belt does a much better job of keeping water out of my wader legs when I inevitably fall in. It also holds up my wading staff much better.
  • d) After my first trip, I bought a pair of Sea to Summit Quagmire canvas gaiters - about $90 but shop around. These come almost to my knee and firstly help protect my waders from the inevitable blackberries, but better still, give additional protection against snake bites. Just my opinion but I now think that anyone who doesn’t use gaiters when bush bashing or walking through tussock is insane. We regularly see snakes but I worry more about the ones we don’t see! My gaiters include a tightening strap at the top which was always catching my dangling fly line. I snipped the loose end of the strap as short as possible, melted it to stop fraying, and sewed it double to stop the buckle falling off. Problem largely solved.

e)     After slipping on rocks several times, I also bought some boot studs. Several of the guys had said that cheapy “roofing screw” type studs tend to fall out and/or wear down very quickly, so I bit the bullet and spent $60 (ouch!) on a set of 20 tungsten Orvis Posigrip studs. They definitely grip better, none have fallen out and they still look like new, so I think that was money well spent.

f)     Before my first trip, I bought a wading staff on the recommendation of Steve Peach. Thanks Steve! I use it almost every day on the water as it makes wading soooo much easier and safer. It also comes in handy to get flies out of branches that are just out of reach, and also to push aside blackberry bushes.

g)     I lost a lot of flies in trees, snags and reeds in my first few trips - and still do! With apologies to any of the club’s sponsors who may sell flies, I personally think that for beginners, there’s little point in spending big money in getting beautifully tied, top tier flies. I’m pretty sure that trout can’t read the price tag as cheap flies still catch fish. And it’s much less traumatic to lose a 50c fly than a $4 work of art - especially after you’ve lost your 10th fly for the day. Expensive flies might last longer but we newbies don’t keep them for too long anyway. I also don’t have the time to tie my own flies, and from what I understand, DIY flies aren’t necessarily all that cheap anyway! I now buy many of my flies from eBay, and while I can’t be sure they’re not made in sweatshops, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with their quality.

h). I initially used a cheapy magnetic net holder attached to my backpack, but soon found that it didn’t hold my net securely when bush bashing. It was also a pain to reconnect the two magnets behind my neck. I borrowed a holder with bigger magnets, which was much better, but have recently bought an Orvis Gear Keeper net retractor - it’s like a heavy-duty zinger. I now don’t have to try to join the two magnets, and you can lock it in place when you’re in tight scrub. It’s definitely not cheap at $60 but it seems very well made and I think the convenience is worth it. 

i) In the car, I have an 85L Saxon waterproof pop-up gardening bag ($9 from Bunnings) which I use to store my wet boots, waders, gaiters, sun gloves etc after a day on the water. It’s brilliant. 

j) I was impressed with Grant’s plastic magnetic rod holder which secures his rod against the side of the car while we get organised. I made a few myself from some wood scraps and some neodymium magnets and Araldite bought from Bunnings. These reduce the chances of standing on your rod or breaking it if the door slams shut.

Rod holder magnet

5)     I currently use a small backpack and a cheap fly vest. After a few trips, my backpack now always includes the following: water and snacks, a simple first aid kit including a compression bandage for snake bites and a space blanket, a small personal locator beacon (mini EPIRB) and a waterproof rain jacket - Goretex if it’s cold. I also have a small UHF 2-way radio on my vest to keep in contact with my fishing buddy. I keep my phone in a small waterproof bag, but I don’t use it for photos. Since I’m a klutz, I know I’d eventually drop it in the drink - a thousand buck mistake. I was originally using an old pocket camera, but of course I drowned it, so I now use an old waterproof GoPro 4. I’d like to eventually get a new waterproof Olympus pocket camera (like Gavin’s!) as it includes a good zoom lens and is fairly bulletproof. 

6)     After the anguish of a couple of long walks through the scrub and constantly getting my rod stuck in branches, I now break down my rod and carry it in a rod sock when heading back to the car through the bush. A rod tube would be even safer but it’s a PITA to carry all day.

7)     I initially started using 5X tippet as most of the experienced guys were using it, but I think there’s an argument for beginners to start with a slightly heavier tippet, say 4X. I get less tangles, and if you happen to hook a really good fish (it happens!) you’ll have a better chance of landing it without a bust-off. Thinner tippet supposedly has a better hookup rate, but when you’re learning, I’m sure other things are scaring the fish much more!

8)     I’ve learned a lot from certain YouTube channels. I have particularly enjoyed the Orvis Flyfishing series with Tom Rosenbauer, plus those by Tom Jarman, Lubin Pfeiffer (The Full Scale) and of course our very own Steve Peach (Peachy Fly Fishing). For pure trout porn, watch Todd Moen (Catch Magazine) and Trippin on Trout, and many others. 

9)     I won’t bore you with obvious comments about sun protection, but also be prepared for flies and other bugs which can really wreck a great day. I was surprised to learn that DEET based insect repellents can damage fly line, so I now stick with tropical strength Aerogard (non DEET). If the flies or mozzies are really bad, I also use an insect net that goes over my hat and tightens around my neck. (About $15 from Anaconda). It works really well and is much less annoying than the f&%$#&^% flies, mozzies and other bugs. 

10)  I’m now catching fish most days, but sometimes they’re very hard to find, or they refuse to take my fly, or I drop one after another, or I get tangle after tangle. On these days, rather than letting myself get frustrated, I just look around and pinch myself. Where else would you rather be? We’re so lucky to be able to enjoy such incredible locations, with good mates, in a club that offers so much.     

Thanks again to all the guys who have helped me over the last 12 months, and I hope my rantings here might help one or two other newbies at some stage. Tight loops everyone and we’ll hopefully see you on the river.

Rob with a little brown.


Thompsons Creek Dam Triggers

by Phil Burton

Fishing this year has been a little different for me. Covid and staff issues at work meant I couldn’t get leave for my usual March/ April trip to the Snowies. As a dry fly fan this is my favorite time of year, cooler evenings and milder day time temps and generally more stable weather. Later than April the mountain weather becomes less predictable, and the now cold nights have ended my main attraction…Hoppers. They appear earlier in the year but by March they are bigger, more active and the fish are switched on to them and the heavy impacts of summer holidays is over. 

Having recently bought a house in Portland, in part to investigate retirement options and being, part time, close to my elderly mother in-law. The local fishing options were always an important factor. I have done little river fishing this year, badly timing my trips to local rain events and high rivers and secondly because Thompson’s creek dam has been fishing so well. The grown-out fish released last year have not ventured too far from the dam edge. I put this down to the fact that the dam has risen to capacity and flooded new ground. There is the occasional larger fish about, but they tend to hold deep during the daytime until the time to false spawn comes on. These rainbows released in April last year at around 210mm have grown 100mm in just under a year. More impressive are the fingerling Tiger trout released a couple of months prior to the rainbows, along with some Brown fingerlings, are also around the 300mm mark.

Thompsons creek dam has a couple or reputations attached to it. Firstly, it is noted as a Trophy trout dam. Take a walk along the dam wall and you will likely see one of those fish. Five or six pound is not uncommon, spend some time there and you will see one ten pound plus.

Secondly its nick name is Thousand Cast Dam. That’s what many people do, go to the dam, and cast and cast and cast. That should give you some insight into fishing here. The water is pretty much always very clear and gives the fish plenty of opportunity to have a good look at your fly…. your tippet… and you. To me that’s all part of the attraction, the fishing is hard, and conditions favor the fish. I don’t really care about catching fish, it’s not about the numbers, for me it’s the challenge. Finding fish, thinking about what they might eat based on what know or observe and then presenting that imitation to them in the hope they will eat it. Sure, I have days where I am not seeing fish and I start searching with a small woolly bugger or large nymph, but I prefer to walk the banks and sight fish. Why? Seeing a fish, I get to read its mood. If it’s cruising the edges its generally looking for something to eat. Watching those fish, I try to understand just what I need to do to catch one.

Thirdly it has a reputation for fly rejection. Frustratingly the trout will swim right up to your fly and not eat it. Even more frustrating is when they do eat it and spit it out before you can strike. Recently I had a brilliant day, bright and warm, a light breeze and plenty of fish. I saw one eat something off the surface early and put on a hopper pattern, landed six on that hopper and only one fish didn’t like it, he ate a nymph. Next trip I pulled out my trusty hopper only to get refusal after refusal.

Small dark nymphs work quite well at TDC, size 12 to 16 pheasant tail are a good searching option. Small wooly buggers or scruffies can be good, 12 to 8, as a small native gudgeon lives in the rocky shores. Small beetles litter the surface at times, but there is some difference that makes them eat one and not the other, a spot of flashy colour on your fly helps but the trout can frustrate you. If you can’t get the beetle eaters to eat your beetle……. feed them a hopper. Is this a food opportunity to good to pass or do hoppers just taste better than beetles? One day fishing small nymphs one fish swam straight up and ate it, the next swam over and looked at it, swam right past it, put on a dry and it swam right up and ate it. The thing I didn’t see presenting the nymph, was a flight reaction. I hadn’t done something, or my nymph was so bad that it scared it. The fish are getting a good look at your fly so don’t doubt it, if its rejected, change your presentation or look for a trigger. In both cases I gave up on trying to match the hatch and presented the opportunity for and easy meal off the surface. At other times I have found the pace if my retrieve was affecting my catch rate. I have found that fish can be caught if you can find the trigger that makes them eat. People do alright with larger searching patterns, and I would suggest if you were searching that you go size 8 and larger. Big zonker patterns and bait fish patterns work at times. This is just “triggering” the opportunity for an easy meal. 

Before we start. Check your tippet. I do this out of habit quite regularly, it’s part of the method I use sight fishing and I feel part of the problem. I am generally using long leaders of 12 foot, on to that I add 4X tippet, occasionally going to 5X if I need too. I walk the banks with a couple of loops of fly line in my hand and my fly and leader in the other. This allows me a bit of line to cast but also gives me the chance to give the leader a quick tug and check for wind knots ect. It also gets caught in bushes a bit when walking. When you hook a fish at TDC its frustrating to bust your tippet. Sometimes I am clearly under gunned with 5x but other times I suspect that I have clipped a tree or rock on my cast and damaged the tippet or damaged it in a bush while walking.

I feel our Trout in Australia much more opportunistic than the theories you often read from northern hemisphere authors. Mainly because we don’t have the big seasonal hatches and the fish for that reason don’t always act as described. Bubble lines are great feeding lanes on rivers, but many fish sit in close to a bank waiting for a terrestrial to fall, sometimes in very shallow water. There are rare opportunities for them to be super selective as described in many books, and much of my fishing is about offering a good food opportunity. In lakes this bubble line can be translated to the water’s edge. Wind and wave action can cause a silt line of gathered food on and below the surface and opportunistic feeders patrol this area. Sight fishing along these edges lets you read the fish. You can see the depth and pace they cruise and their actions indicate the food they might be eating. This gives me some information on the general type of food they are taking, slow deliberate feeding on nymphs or the faster chasing down of some larger prey. When I choose a fly I don’t try to match the hatch, I try to present a food opportunity and I say present because if I have observed a fast moving feeding fish, I will choose a little minnow pattern and strip it fast.

My last couple of trips have been hard for spotting fish with overcast conditions but rather than reach for the bead head bugger, I put on a fat hopper, after all its hopper season and you don’t eat Easter eggs at Christmas. So, without obvious rises, I started searching, casting down the bank, and up came the fish, swirls refusals and then an eat. The first was a good fish that looked, then did a circle below the fly, then confidently rose, and ate it. I struck and back cast the fly into the bushes. Missed that one but went on to tempt a couple of others because I gave it the opportunity for an easy meal.

I generally fish natural colours if there are such things. Blacks, Browns and Olives. I caught 3 fish on scruffies one day, each fish didn’t like the first fly presented. I changed colour and they ate it. One on black, one on olive one on tan, but why did I stick with that pattern? I felt the fish were obviously interested in it but weren’t “triggered” into eating it, just by looking at their reaction. My natural beetle patterns don’t fool them in amongst the naturals but a tag of flash and a coloured wing are hunted down regularly. How did I come to this… a lot of fly changes! After a couple of rejections, I change flies and I look in my fly box for a fly with built in triggers. Flash, rubber legs or built-in movement like rabbit fur.    

Other times I have used movement to trigger a fish. Deliberate slow drifting a dry on the wind, faster and slower retrieves with wets, even raising your nymph towards the surface. One technique I use with terrestrials is movement, even big pools on rivers. I put on a big foam hopper in summer and cast it out…splat… wait a bit…then I give it a pop…. long pauses and pop. I have attracted a lot of fish to my flies over the years. When a fish hesitates under the fly, I give it just a little twitch adds some life to you fly. You will get a reaction, one way or another. You don’t always see fish and I suppose TDC’s fourth reputation is wind. There is plenty of shore with easy access at TDC, a bit of a walk and you can find a comfortable spot. A slight breeze is a distinct advantage for the angler it breaks the surface hiding the angler and the line. I also feel it adds a little movement to a suspended nymph or scruffy that makes it more attractive.

Dams like TDC offer variety. Every shore is different, the structure in every bay is different to the last. Snails, mud eyes, gudgeons and small and large nymphs are all present in the dam, but they all prefer different conditions. When you notice, the bottom structure has changed try a different pattern. Learn what inhabits, weedy, rocky, or muddy shores.

At times I have come across fish right up in the grass, moving fast and eating damsels, leaping to snatch them off the grass stalks. Having caught a couple of these as I moved up the bank to where I noticed a couple of rises out deeper off the grass. They were sipping something small and looked like better fish but, I cast that damsel out and it got eaten. The leader popped when half my fly line was woven thru the club rushes.

A few days later I was back, and I put on a damsel and watched a fish eat it and spit it so quickly I was able to watch my strike pick the fly off the surface. This isn’t new it happens to nymphs and small scruffies quite often, but normally when I can’t see the fly and I am late on the fishes’ reaction. River fishing delivers the fly to a fish facing upstream the line is dragging the fly into the fishes’ mouth and a much better hooking situation. Also, I feel that the fly is, often, floating with the eye downstream of the hook point. When sight fishing the dam, I deliberately put the fly in front of a cruising fish. This isn’t the case searching lake with dries and the fish can eat the fly from any direction. Also, I think I fish more slack, when I can’t see fish and anticipate the strike, than when I can see a fish moving in to eat my fly. Then I feel I am already primed to strike. That’s something I continue to work on, hooking more of these precious missed opportunities.

We are now approaching the time of year that the fish of TDC begin to false spawn. This is an opportunity to catch the big fish. They come in close to shore and make reeds or nests. Trout need river gravel beds to spawn naturally and without a feeding stream lake trout will gather in groups and do their thing. Smaller fish will take the opportunity to steal eggs from these gatherings, but the bigger fish are hard to hook. While gathered up like this they are not eating and I have found more success fishing outside of these groups where other fish are attracted but not involved, might pick up your fly. Don’t settle in on these groups too much, I have seen people cast at them all day. I can assure you there are more of these groups gathered right around the dam, and between them the occasional cruising fish that might just eat your fly. Covid kept me away and I didn’t get to do much last year but I was starting to hook them on quite light tippets but that resulted in very few landed, particularly fishing alone. It’s a fantastic place to be challenged and if you don’t catch one... you’re not the first. Just stop by the small dam you pass on the walk in, with its eager small fish, its known by locals as Redemption dam. This year I’ll be back out there trying to figure them out and trying to change the name to Hundred Cast Dam.


Tuition Weekend in August in Wallerawang

This popular event, held around the last weekend of July each year, is run to share and impart fly fishing knowledge and skills to beginners, new members and indeed any member that wishes to improve their skills. It has always included a good mixture of members with varying levels of fly-fishing experience, and who are always willing to share their knowledge and experience. 

It's also a great way for new members to meet existing members, and also to experience an enjoyable weekend away during winter and the closed river season.

We will be staying at the Black and Gold Country Cabins at Wallerawang, arriving Friday, 5th August and departing Sunday, 7th August 2022.


The accommodation cost will be around $155 per person for the two nights which is very reasonable. We pay at the venue prior to checking out. They trust the Sydney Fly Rodders! Each attendee will open up their own tab to be settled prior to departure, as many members have meals and drinks there.

These cabins are self-contained and they have a great restaurant, The Cribb.

Their website is: www.blackgoldcabins.com.au

For the event this year we will have Phil Burton covering “Stream Craft”, Steve Peach will be covering "Lakes and Dams fishing" and David Caddies will be providing Casting Practice and covering General Fly Fishing.

This is going to be a bumper weekend away as we cover stream craft, lakes and dams fishing, hands on Casting Practice on the water with individual tuition to remedy any flaws in your technique plus equipping you with some new skills. We will also cover general fly fishing across knots, setup, gear and the whole end to end of fly fishing. So get on the website and book your spot as it's filling up.

We will get together on Friday night, after dinner, in one of the cabins (normally Wren and depending on the distancing rules at the time) for presentations on the topics mentioned earlier, covering the technical aspects of the weekends subject matter. Then on Saturday we will hold hands on practicals, on the water somewhere in the close proximity, to put into practice the previous evenings presentations and address each individuals specific needs.

This weekend has always been a great opportunity to pick up some new skills, plus we will endeavour to tailor the conversations and practicals to meet the needs of attendees and to therefore make it a weekend of great value.

I will provide more information to the attendees as required and then prior to the trip.

To book your spot please log onto our website, go to Events (in the Members section), select August in the Calendar and click on the event and follow the prompts. We have 16 places available.

The Covid protocols will apply at the time for the event attendance.

Should you have any questions then please don't hesitate to contact me on gavin@vit.com.au or 0411877546.

Kind regards,

Gavin van der Wagen


Buy, Sell and Swap

As mentioned in the May Meeting segment earlier in the Flyrodder, we will be holding a Buy, Sell, Swap activity this month. 

So bring any fly fishing gear that you wish to Sell or Swap and you can put the proceeds towards your current list of wants; er I mean needs.


Sydney Fly Rodders Facebook Pages

We run two SFRC pages, one is our public page and it posts events and activities of the club. It also shares posts from other pages like CAS, DPI on things relevant to the places and areas that we fish.

I post some fly tying every now and then and share links to events I find that might be of interest to followers. This page is a little like our Web page, it showcases the club to attract members and provides details of club events. It has about 450 people following the page and any post will be seen by between 180 and 240 people.

We added another page. This is reserved for members only and cannot be seen by anyone outside of the group. You will need to send a request to join. Any member can post on this page and it is a great opportunity for members to put up a post or two about anything fly fishing. I would like to encourage members to use this page to post fishing reports or photos of flies that you tied. Being connected to other members you can ask for some casting or gear advice, or organise a short trip when you suddenly have some spare time.

There are also hundreds of other groups; bream on fly, carp on fly, bass, trout....areas like alpine trout, Sydney Kayak Fishing....fly tying groups, buy sell swap fly gear pages and individuals like Aussie Flyfisher, Sydney Flyfishing to check out. 

Phil Burton


Sydney Flyrodders Instagram Page

The Sydney Fly Rodders are now on Instagram. Many thanks to our Member Maddie Chew Lee, who offered to set us up and apply her significant experience with marketing and communications in particular within the social media space. 

Please follow the site and add your comments, and lets grow this platform for the club. It will also attract new members to the club.

Below is a snapshot of the site. We aim to sync (in particular look and feel) the Instagram account with our Facebook account and also our new Website, which I talk more about in the preceding section.


Sydney Fly Rodders WhatsApp Group

We have an Exclusive Group on WhatsApp for our Members, which is a great way to communicate informally and to share ideas, seek advice and also to plan and seek interest for impromptu/planned fishing trips.

I can highly recommend this to members. We have arranged a number of trips now from a weekends bass fishing through to a casual and social Sunday morning or afternoons fishing at Narrabeen Lake or Hen & Chickens Bay etc. And there could even be a BBQ thrown in for a social get together afterwards. This will happen on most if not all occasions.

Should you wish to be included in this group, then please email me to request your inclusion, quoting your mobile number which is required to link you into the Group. You will need to download the WhatsApp first if you haven't already done so.

Please contact me for inclusion.

Gavin van der Wagen

Editor, Flyrodder



Snippets of Information

Provided by Bob Hart

Catch and Release: Tips for Maximising Fish Survival.

Catch and release fishing is an increasingly popular practice among many anglers. It is quite common for fishers with a strong conservation commitment to release fish that they could legally keep.

Bag and size limits, closed seasons and locations and protected species, all require some fish to be released, so you need to be prepared.

Below are some top tips to maximise fish survival:

  • Reduce deep hooking by using circle hooks or by lure fishing.
  • Use suitable tackle for the species that you are targeting and minimise the time spent to land the fish.
  • Use a knotless landing net to minimise damage to fish.
  • Minimise time out of water.
  • Wet hands/gloves and brag mats before handling fish.
  • Use needle-nosed pliers to reduce time spent unhooking fish.
  • If fish is deeply hooked, cut the line short and release - do not attempt to remove hook.
  • Consider the effects of barotrauma and release fish quickly. Use a release weight if necessary.
  • Do not suspend fish by the jaw, gills, or eyes. Support the fish properly for photographs.
  • When releasing fish, gently lower them into the water and revive – Do not return fish to water by throwing them.
  • Place the fishes head into the current or do figure of 8 pattern.

Murray Kelso provided this lovely Snippet!

This is a video by Yvon Chouinard founder of Patagonia.

It is about an Italian flyfisherman. 

Video is 18.38 minutes long, and well worth a watch.

This video really does portray the art and beauty of fly fishing.


Fishing Around Sydney

provided by Bob Hart

SYDNEY is a big city with a big population of keen fishos. Each week, thousands of these fishos hit the water in search of a diverse range of species and angling opportunities. They do so with many types of tackle, techniques and skill levels.

It's this fishing diversity that makes Sydney such an appealing place to live for fishos.

In this article, we'll explore the opportunities within 100km from the centre of Sydney. Each area is divided by location with info about fishing opportunities in all corners of the city and beyond.

School jewfish are a popular target across most Sydney waterways.

When you think of Sydney fishing you think of Sydney Harbour. There’s a very good reason for that… Besides it being an iconic harbour, it’s also widely recognised as one of the city’s hotspots. The Parramatta River is well known for bream, flatties, and mulloway, while the lower Harbour is famous for its schools of topwater pelagics, which these days, are present almost year round. Small kingfish, salmon, bonito and tailor all frequent the lower Harbour and can be caught in the shadow of some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

Then there’s Middle Harbour, which at most times of the year, holds a mix of pelagics and the aforementioned bream, flatties and jewies.

It’s a busy Harbour, but the endless fishing opportunities make it a worthwhile place to fish.

If you don’t have a boat, it’s not a problem. The Harbour has a wide range of landbased spots. Simply open Google maps and find a wharf or a park and chances are it’s worth exploring.

On that note, landbased fishos should take advantage of the excellent rock and beach fishing around Sydney. Despite the crowds, Sydney beaches can be fantastic places to target whiting and bream in the warmer months and salmon and tailor over winter. Rock fishos need to play it safe, and there are options for calmer water rock fishing wihin the Harbour itself. Depending on conditions, it’s a great way to find a feed of luderick!

From beach to bass, Sydney has all options covered.

South of Sydney travelling 100km you have several estuaries and bays worth exploring. The popular holiday destination, Kiama, has plenty of rock and beach fishing options and several small estuaries within easy reach. Just to the north is Lake Illawarra. It’s a well-known prawning spot in summer and produces some good fish as well.

Between Lake Illawarra and Port Hacking is the Royal National Park and there are several productive rock and beach fishing spots in this stretch. Most of them are fairly isolated (by Sydney standards) and some can be dangerous. Play it safe!

Port Hacking further north is a fantastic little fishery with no commercial fishing. It has plenty of shallow flats for whiting and flathead and it’s not uncommon to find pelagics, including some good size kingfish, well up into the estuary.

The next estuary north is Botany Bay and the Georges River. Again, it doesn’t have any commercial fishing and can produce good numbers of estuary species and pelagics. It’s a wide open bay and if you’re in a small boat you need to choose your weather. That said, there are many options in the Georges, or even the polluted Cooks River for some fantastic estuary fishing from bream to mulloway.

An average Sydney winter flathead.

North of the Harbour is the Hawkesbury River. The Hawkesbury is a famous fishery and produces a wide variety of species, from its freshwater headwaters to the Broken Bay where it empties into the sea.

It’s a big area and has several big “creeks” and estuaries which feed the main river. For example, there’s Berowra Creek, Cowan Creek, Pittwater and Brisbane Water. Each one of these on their own can take days to fish and it’s important to concentrate your fishing efforts on one area at a time. The upper reaches are productive spots for bream and flathead and estuary perch, while the lower reaches are known for mulloway, bream, flathead and a range of pelagic species. If you’re coming from the south, Pittwater is a good spot to launch a boat and provides good access to Broken Bay. In the North you can access Broken Bay via Brisbane Water. To the west, launch your boat around the M1 motorway and make your way towards broken Bay past some famous fishing spots in the lower Hawkesbury.

Like any of the rivers and estuaries mentioned above, the Hawkesbury has plenty of landbased opportunities for all of the available species. 

Australian salmon are common around Sydney.

Further north and you’re in the Central Coast. Again, there are some great beach fishing options and  couple of famous rock fishing spots. Some of these are great for fishing the washes and are also well known for targeting kingfish, mac tuna, bonito, even the odd longtail.

Tuggerah Lakes is the next estuary spot with a series of three productive, yet shallow spots to fish. These lakes are good for prawns and bread and butter species. They’re easily accessible for Central Coast residents and are best fished from a tinny or kayak.

Further north again there’s Lake Macquarie. Like many of these locations, Lake Mac deserves a story of its own. It’s an enormous waterway with no commercial fishing and a large, diverse range of species. Anything from bream, flathead, mulloway, snapper and pelagics can be caught in the lake. As I said, it’s a big lake and can take a while to map out the best spots. I’ve been fortunate to fish the lake with some locals and have never been disappointed. Even if you’re based in the city, the drive north to Lake Macquarie is well worth it!

Marlin provide game fishos hours of fun off Sydney.

Sydney has some great offshore fishing grounds. Some of the inshore reefs can be productive for bottom bouncing, although these areas can get crowded. Start early in the day and increase your chances. There are still good numbers of snapper and kingfish along the reefs off Sydney for those who put in the effort and fish hard.

Sydney is also a productive game fishing area. As the East Australian Current warms the water offshore in late summer and autumn, game fishos turn their attention to marlin. Whether you’re fishing from a trailer boat or fly bridge cruiser, there are options to catch marlin from the inshore waters to far out wide.

Sydney has many fishing opportunities from trout to marlin!

Dolphin fish or mahi mahi are also well worth targeting along the fads or floating debris out wide during the warmer months.

Over the cooler months, some years will see good numbers of yellowfin tuna appear out wide off Sydney. It’s best to listen to reports and be prepared for a last minute trip. Likewise, southern bluefin tuna which sometimes make it as far north as Sydney. Again, listen to reports and if the fish show up during a period of calmer weather, call in sick, and go fishing!

There’s some fantastic bass fishing in truly remote areas, all within 100kms of Sydney’s CBD.

Now for something completely different. The west of Sydney has some great opportunities for bass fishing. It goes to show the diverse fishing opportunities available in Sydney. In fact for those in the know, there are freshwater fishing opportunities surprisingly close to Sydney’s CBD...

The majority of Sydney’s population lives”out west”, including myself. Most of the aforementioned estuaries hold bass in the upper reaches. Even the polluted Parramatta River has a population of bass. Although in my opinion you’d be better off targeting the carp in that river and leaving the small bass populations to grow.

The Nepean/Hawkesbury is the main focus of freshwater fishing for Sydney-siders. The Nepean starts off south west of Sydney. You cross the river three times near its headwaters on the Hume Highway travelling south from Sydney. Up there the river is small and sometimes hard to access. But it’s worth the effort with good captures of fish.

Interestingly I’ve found the bigger fish are found in this stretch, although there are fewer fish to catch. A reason may be the many man-made barriers, weirs that have been in place for many years. The weirs act as small dams, and while some have fish ladders, they do impede the up and downstream passage of fish. Many of these fish become old residents and grow big as a result.

Further downstream around Penrith there’s good bass fishing and access for boats. There’s also good foot access if you don’t have a boat.

Float tube fishing in the Nepean River.

The best all-round craft for fishing the Nepean is a kayak. There are so many good access points to launch a kayak and this gives you so many more spots to fish. It’s also very heavily fished and if you can paddle away from the crowds, you stand a better chance of hooking fish. Night fishing is worth a try for the same reason.

Downstream of Penrith there’s less access for a boat until you reach the Hawkesbury. The Nepean becomes the Hawkesbury around the junction of the Grose River. Downstream from here it’s tidal and has some great opportunities for bass, estuary perch and saltwater estuary species.

Being close to Sydney, you’d expect a lot of crowds. And you’d be right! If crowds aren’t your thing and you want to chase some bass, grab a map and explore some of the creeks and rivers that flow into the Nepean Hawkesbury. There’s some fantastic bass fishing in truly remote areas, all within 100kms of Sydney’s CBD.

There’s also some trout fishing further west, just inside 100kms and plenty of fishing for European carp and even some redfin.

As you can see, within easy reach of Australia’s largest city is a diverse range of species and fishing opportunities. You could be a die-hard freshwater fisho with a canoe and live next door to a game fishing captain. And there’s everything in between.

Get out there and explore what’s in your own backyard!

The End