VOLUME 30, ISSUE 8. March 2024

Exploring a bend of the Moonbah River during a trip to the Snowies in February 2024.


Next Members Monthly Meeting

Our March Members Monthly Meeting is at our usual venue, The Freeway Hotel in Artarmon, on Monday the 11th March 2024, kicking off at 7:00pm.

Our Guest Speaker will be long time club member Justin Duggan who will be hosting a Q&A session on the topic of Saltwater Fly Fishing. 

Please view further down the Flyrodder for the details.


Next Members Monthly Fly Tying 

The Next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting will held on Monday, 18th March 2024 at our usual venue in the Green Room of the Henley Community Centre, kicking off at 7:00pm. 

Dave Wilson focus on how to use fur crosscuts to form wings and tails along with how to make and apply a fur hackle. This will result in the popular Sedgehog pattern.

See further details below under the Monthly Fly Tying segment.


President's Report

Denis Hill with a gorgeous fish from the February 2024 NZ Trip.

Dear {Contact_First_Name},

President's Report March 2024

Fellow Flyrodders

Last month I wrote about the CFA  Interclub event we are running at the start of April, the registration and accommodation bookings are now open and you would have all received a flyer from the club with all the details. The Interclub is a fund raiser for the CFA, the NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers and this month I would like to give you some insight into the important work the CFA does on behalf of all the freshwater anglers of NSW. I urge you to support the event, if not in person, then via our online raffle as all the money raised goes to allow the CFA to continue the important work they do on our behalf.

In NSW, as in all the states, there is a constant stream of new initiatives being launched  (mostly by Government departments) with the potential to impact on our freshwater fishing. That could be the ability to access fishing locations, the quality of the water to hold fish, the availability of target species via both stocking or natural recruitment or the removal of pest species that compete with our target species – the list goes on and on with new threats to our fishing constantly appearing. For the most part we as anglers are oblivious to these threats and we are indeed very lucky to have the CFA constantly scanning for these threats and endeavouring to address them.

To give you a sense of the CFA’s work I would like to list some of the issues on their plate at their November monthly meeting:

 Unannounced TSR Access Restrictions, National Carp Plan, NSW Trout StrategyTrout, Murray Cod Strategy, Trout Cod Action Plan, Invasive species including the National Carp plan, Threats to Anglers access via closures of crown roads, tsr’s, paper roads, The DPI anglers access App, Pumped Hydro Proposals, Macleay River Bass Netting, Animal Welfare Legislation/Regulation, stocking allocations for the coming year, the Gaden hatchery operation, and the list goes on and on.

I really don’t know how the CFA can possibly handle the workload they do, but they do, and I am very grateful they are out there toiling on our behalf.

So, if you can’t get to the Interclub, please support our online, fund-raising raffle. There are some great prizes, first prize being a Loomis NRX+ LP fly rod worth $1455. There is a casting competition in the USA each year called the “Yellowstone 5wt shootout” comparing all the best 5wt rods on the market and the NRX+LP has been the overall winner several times. Get onto our website and get your tickets.

Tight Lines,


Denis Hill


From the Editor

Jason with a bass from his canoe taken on a surface fly.

February was a busy month for my fellow Flyrodders. There were two trips to New Zealand, one to Tasmania and another to the Snowies. All of the articles and photos are included in this edition. I hope you enjoy the read.

A special thanks to Rob Cummins, David Blackwell and Tim Ford for taking the time to write their reports and submit photos.

I attended the fly casting practice in February where David Caddies (ably assisted by Gavin and George) broke down the mechanics of a roll cast into simple sections - and then helped participants put them all together again. It's all detailed in the Casting Practice Report which is well worth a read.

For fly tiers or members interested in giving it a go for the first time, Dave Wilson will be hosting a fly tying evening in March with the intriguing title of FURRY FURRY Night! Read on for more information in the Monthly Fly Tying section.

You may have seen a request via email for volunteer controllers for the Fly Fish Australia (FFA) hosted Australian Fly Fishing Championships from 19 to 23 November 2024 at Falls Creek, Victoria. It’s a great opportunity to see Australia’s best fly-fishing men and women in action and learn a few tricks along the way. I encourage you to read of the article for more information.



Jason Hemens - Editor



Last Monthly Meeting and Guest Speakers Report

David Major chaired the meeting and introduced guest speakers David Blackwell and Steve Peach

For our February Monthly Meeting, David Blackwell and Steve Peach kindly stepped up after our planned speaker was forced to cancel. David took us through a successful fishing trip to the Upper Murray River in Victoria, and Steve shared his insights from time spent with the Spanish Fly Fishing Team.

You can view this meeting video and indeed all the previous presentations on our Members Private Video Library on YouTube. To view them please Login to our Sydney Fly Rodders Website; click on Members and select YOUTUBE CHANNEL, as per the picture below.

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!

The following are some photos from the February Members Meeting:

David Blackwell talks about a recent trip with fellow member Rupert to the Upper Murray River

One of many stunning fish caught during the trip

The fly fishers nemesis (the cormorant, not David)

Steve Peach shares his insights on Spanish Dry Fly Techniques

As an artist Steve makes a brilliant fly fisherman :-)

Some of the key takeaways for members


Next Monthly Meeting and Guest Speaker

Our March Members Monthly Meeting is at our usual venue, The Freeway Hotel in Artarmon, on Monday the 11th March 2024.

The Meeting will kick off at 7:00pm, but come along earlier and enjoy a pre meeting drink with fellow attendees. The doors will be open from 6:00pm.

Our Guest Speaker will be long time club member Justin Duggan who will be hosting a Q&A session on the topic of Saltwater Fly Fishing. Justin is Sydney’s most experienced saltwater fly fishing guide and a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Instructor. If you have questions about specific tackle, tactics or tricks to tempt saltwater species, then this is the time to ask for answers.

So come along and enjoy another great presentation.

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. 

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 GPS). 

Looking forward to catching up at the meeting.


New Members

We extend a warm welcome to new members Mark Burns, John Dreyer, Darcy Hourd, Stuart Jarvis, Kevin Rue, Trevor Skinner and Pedro Vargas.

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 Month's Casting Practice Report


Plenty of first-timers and new members turned up last casting practice day, including a few who were completely new to fly casting. Twenty of us, altogether.

A pleasing turnout for the February casting practice

Gavin and George helped the new casters doing some introductory casting via the FFI Foundation exercises with the result that, by the end of the session, their casting was adequate to get them on the water to go fishing. Well done all!  They also did roll casting, of course: what beginner wouldn’t?

The focus for the others, new and old, was mainly on pulling the mechanics of the roll cast down into digestible pieces and trying out those bits, one at a time and then in series. As with any sport involving the use of equipment to aid throwing, hitting etc, the challenge with learning fly casting includes getting to know not just where and when to make the moves, but how much effort or power to apply. This is the learning that requires you to focus on technique rather than power. This involves finding the ‘point of failure’. It’s a really valuable self-teaching technique. Read on. 

Members learned about the individual components of a roll cast before putting them together

Once you’ve got the line drawn back and organized on the water (or grass), the forward cast part is to lean (no bending!) towards the target (keeping the angle of the rod steady so as not to collapse the D-loop), then pull the rod downwards as you tap the rod tip forward with a quick wrist movement and the line flips out and forward. What we did was practice the forward cast part only with plenty of repetition, at various distances, trying to build muscle memory for the effort required at each distance. We were able to do this by anchoring the fly to the grass. 

The focus was on technique, rather than power, to make casts at varying distances

How hard does the “flip” need to be, I hear you say? The answer depends, as it does on probably every fly cast, on how much line are you trying to cast and how far. If you cast with the same power regardless of these two factors, you’ll never know how much is actually required. If you don’t know any technique and just rely on power, the roll cast just doesn’t go out, as some of you would agree.

In this exercise, each attempt at a set distance was made with slightly less effort than the previous attempt, just to focus on technique without confusing that with excess power. Many members commented on how revealing it is to cut power back and back until the mind really shifts to the ‘how’ should I do this, rather than I’ll just belt it out as usual. Once you get to the point where the cast actually fails because of insufficient power, you start slowly building power back in. When it works again, that’s the level of force that you practice. With technique sorted, you can then adjust power to suit different gear and conditions. Easy to say, I know: it takes application. 

Keeping that rod angle steady to maintain a D-loop was an important concept

All that’s a bit technical I suppose, and you may have had to actually be there on the day to get it. I was mainly trying to pass on a self-teaching technique more than any particular fly cast, although I called it roll-cast practice. We did this by isolating an aspect of the cast in order to understand it. ie what’s the right amount of power to use.

Transferring your weight through the cast was key

Maybe the best takeaway out of all that for anyone who’s seriously looking for improvement is to try to change just one thing about your cast (or your gear) and take good notice of what happens. Some examples – let’s say you want to cast to a target on the grass at 40’. First, do a few ‘normal’ casts to target, then try to change only one thing: **maybe tempo; force (power); line length if slipping or shooting line; number of false casts; height; stroke length; rod stopping position (back cast and forward cast); hand and finger positions; foot position; kneeling,  off-shoulder and many more. The change might just produce the result you were looking for, or just give you something to avoid. Or, it might be a happy and unexpected discovery. Who knows, if you deliberately make the rod wobble about instead of going straight you might end up mastering the curve cast or aerial mends!

**You get to go through all of those changes for specific casts when you try out the FFI Casting Skills Development series of casts (ie Bronze etc). It takes a while and some self-discipline, but it’s a very ordered set of skills to progress through.

See you next time.

Our next Casting Practice will be held on 10 March 2024.

See the following section for further dates and information.

As an aside, David Major's pre-cast posture was so perfect a number of passers by asked him to dance.


Club Monthly Casting Practice - Details and Event Schedule.

SFRC MONTHLY CASTING PRACTICE  9am Sunday 10 March 2024 

Reminder: Leave your 9 – 10’ trout leader with the 5X tippet at home. Bring one which is 8’ – 8’6” and terminating in 8 or 10 lb tippet. This session will suit DT or WF floating lines, for the single-handers. Two-handers, bring what you got. 

Start time is 9am:

HOWEVER: If you wish to have a go at being evaluated for any one or more of the casts in the Bronze Skills Development Program and you would like to come earlier than 9, send me a text message to that effect on 0434 671 085 and I’ll be there to set it up, from 8am. Coaching and demonstrations will be going on after 9, but with not much opportunity for individual evaluations. Early notice would be appreciated, but don’t let that stop you from a late practice on Saturday to see if you’re ready! 

All members are welcome to join in the club’s usual monthly practice session. If you want to know everything about the club’s casting practice sessions, read the whole blurb in the Flyrodder magazine.

WHERE: 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 usually use. It is not part of the sports fields. If conditions there are not suitable on the day, we will be just opposite, across the canal, or anywhere within sight that I can find. 

If you can’t make it this time and want some good practical instruction to guide you, check out this site: https://www.flyfishersinternational.org/Learn/Learning-Center-Resources/Fly-Casting/Casting-Instruction

I don’t know if that link works for you. Google FFI flyfishing and delve around. Most stuff is open to non-members. 

David Caddies 

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

For 2024, we have moved to the second Sunday of the month, except for May as it's Mother's Day, therefore casting will be on the 1st Sunday in May.

So put these dates in your diary for 2024:

10th March 2024

14th April 2024

5th May 2024

9th June 2024

14th July 2024

11th August 2024

8th September 2024

13th October 2024

10th November 2024

8th December 2024.


Next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting

Our next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting will be held on Monday, 18th March 2024, from 7:00pm to 9:30pm. The doors will open at 6:30pm to give you time to set up for a 7:00pm start.

FURRY FURRY night!  (To the song of Starry Starry night)

On March 18 we will continue with furry techniques.

We will focus again on how to use fur crosscuts to form wings and tails along with how to make and apply a fur hackle.

We will also demonstrate how to make your own killer dubbing.

These techniques will result in the popular Sedgehog pattern.

Both the Sedgehog and Elk Hair Caddis make excellent adult caddis (sedge) imitations with the Sedgehog looking more like a mini hedgehog!

The Sedgehog is used by some lock style fishers as a top fly dribbler / attractor in a team.

We will add a flash of red giving it the “Bibio” pedigree.

We will also focus on the core skills needed to tie any pattern. 

Beginners are very welcome with experienced tiers giving help. 

We provide all materials. If you don’t have your own tools, we have loan kits.

We normally have experienced tiers to help and look forward to seeing you at the meeting.

For those who don't have a vise, we have ample spare one's available.

We particularly welcome first timers and all levels of fly tiers as you will all learn something from these wonderful sessions.

If you would like to just come and observe, then please do so to see if this is for you. You'll be surprised at how "easily" you can get into tying your own flies.

The venue is the Henley Community Centre in Hunters Hill, and we meet in the  Green Room on the right as you enter.

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, but it's a short walk to the front door.


Trip Report - A Flyrodder Fushing Fistival

Denis and Rob with a typical New Zealand 3 pounder

by Rob Cummins

In mid February, New Zealand welcomed 5 Flyrodders (Denis Hill, Steve Higgins, Vorn and Trevor Sweeney and myself) for a week of spectacular fishing and a ton of fun. We were guests of Gavin Hurley’s Flyfishing at Lumsden in the South Island, halfway between Queenstown and Invercargill - a long way south! All transfers from and back to Queenstown, licences, accommodation, meals and other details were arranged by Hurley’s.

Being my first fly fishing trip to NZ, I was amazed at how different the experience was compared to fishing in Australia. Rather than giving a travelogue, my report will mostly be my thoughts on the key differences compared to fishing in Oz - at least for this area of NZ - plus some must haves, which may help those who are considering a trip across the puddle.

We mostly fished the Mataura and Waikaia Rivers, plus some other smaller tributaries and nearby lakes.

Steve setting the hook    

And the outcome - a 5 pounder!

Trev thrilled with a 6 1/2 pounder! The fish of the trip.

If you can cast reasonably well and love a challenge, NZ simply must be on your bucket list! But don’t expect a heap of fish. Three or four in a day is considered good going, but virtually all the fish will be big - seriously big - strong, clever and beautiful. In the rivers we fished, they were all browns, though other rivers feeding from lakes can also contain rainbows. In the Mataura and Waikaia rivers, 3lb is an average size. 5 and 6 pounders are not uncommon, and even bigger brutes in double figures are sometimes taken, though not on our trip. The smallest fish on our trip was over a pound, with Trevor Sweeney’s 6.5lb tank the biggest. You know you’re in big fish country when you ignore sighted fish of around a pound!

Vorn with a lovely 3 pounder

We were nearly always sight fishing. Even though the fish are big, and the water is usually crystal clear, it can still be very, very difficult for untrained eyes to spot them. You really need a guide to get the best opportunities, as the fish are mostly well spaced out and incredibly well camouflaged. We were very fortunate to have one guide per one or two fishers for the whole week - a real luxury. I imagine if you were fishing on your own without a guide, you would really struggle to find many fish - I know I would!

We used a mixture of dry and dry/dropper techniques. While Euro nymphing is certainly possible, the guides generally frown on it as the most spectacular aspect of fishing here is the sight fishing – best undertaken with dries, with or without a dropper.

After busting off a couple of great fish, I quickly learned that unlike in Oz, you simply cannot land these fish by stripping them in. You must get them onto the reel as quickly as possible, and keep a constant, good bend in the rod, letting the reel’s drag do its job. You usually have plenty of space to play them, as the rivers are wide and there isn’t a lot of debris to avoid, unless you’re among the willows.

Rob with a 5 pounder

It can be quite frustrating however, as the fish are very smart due to significant fishing pressure, and you’ll often only get one chance to present your fly. Even then, many fish will still spook with a perfect presentation. Many others will sulk on the bottom and just refuse to eat if the fly line goes anywhere near them. Longer leaders of at least 12 feet certainly help.

Some fish were unbelievably picky. It could take 4 or 5 fly changes to get their interest, and even then, they didn’t always eat. Fortunately our guides took care of fly changes, untangling birds’ nests, advising when to strike and so on. They really knew their craft.

Denis with a gorgeous greenback brown

Practising your casting beforehand is an absolute must! Accuracy is key, for both length and direction, and ideally, you need to be able to gently land your fly on a dinner plate, with wind coming from any direction. We found that casting was generally in the 30 to 40 foot range. Longer casts were not normally needed, and increased the chance of spooking fish.

February is typically willow grub season, with trout stuffing themselves under the trees by the bank, requiring careful, low side casts to get in far enough. The grub season was late this year due to cool, wet weather, so we rarely used these unusual, tiny flies. Likewise we didn’t see many cicadas, which are usually quite common in February. Be prepared for any weather - hot or cold - and you can almost guarantee some rain – at least this far south.

For such huge fish, I was surprised we normally used tiny nymphs such as flashback pheasant tails in size 18 or 20, under small dries such as Adams or blowflies. (Thank goodness the guides tied them to our tippet!) Some rivers also had healthy mayfly hatches at times, giving us great opportunities to cast at rising fish using mayfly patterns, tiny F-flies and similar.

We used 5 or 6wt rods, with 6wts giving a bit extra punch in the strong winds that can be encountered, and some extra power to control these bruisers. 3X tapered leaders down to a 4X or 5X tippet was recommended. Anything lighter would mean a bust-off or a much longer fight and risk exhausting the fish prior to release.

We did a lot of walking and wading as sighted fish may be some distance apart. In heavily fished areas there are designated voluntary beats, which may be 2 or 3 km long, meaning we walked double that. The walking is mostly along farmland flats, and is generally easy going, although some bank sliding or climbing is needed. The voluntary beats are a great innovation, as you normally don’t bump into other fishos on your session.

The areas we fished were usually wide, flat farming valleys between spectacular mountain ranges. Some of us also had the chance to fish Brightwater Creek, an extraordinary, crystal clear, spring-fed creek with huge browns and a regular afternoon mayfly hatch. I landed my PB 6 pounder there, which required patience, a good drag, a guide willing to get very wet and a heap of luck, as the creek is full of weed islands.

The stunning Brightwater spring creek

Our accommodation was very comfortable with Deb Hurley cooking us amazing meals every night and providing us with packed lunches. There is even a fabulous fly shop right next door for topping up supplies such as leaking waders and broken rods (not mentioning any names, Steve).

Despite the challenges, the fishing is incredible, and will test even the most experienced fisho. That said, relative newbies such as myself can catch great fish if your casting is reasonable, and you are patient.

Another bunch of six Flyrodders flew in for the following week and I’m sure they also had an amazing time. I’ll certainly be doing my best to be there again next year.


Trip Report - South Island New Zealand

Flyrodders Group 2 (L to R);  John Vernon, Russell Walker, Andy Bryan, Max Beyer, Dave Blackwell, John Dreyer.

by David Blackwell

When fishing Southland, New Zealand it is necessary to quickly get an understanding of some of the NZ vernacular. Here are a few examples;

An Aussie Fish - any fish under 2lb.

A Kiwi Fish - any fish above 4 lb

A Good Kiwi fish – and fish above 4lb caught by a Kiwi.

A Wee Fly –  any number of small dry flies typically size 18 to 20 and in a “Dads Favourite” or  “Posted Adams” pattern. They seem to become invisible in anything more than a 3 metre cast.

A Wee Nymph – a small, typically size 18, nymph, in a variety of patterns and usually unweighted. It was our experience that the larger (Kiwi Fish) prefer Wee Nymphs.

A Moocher – a fish that moves slowly and irregularly in varying directions. They are typical of many Southland Fish and demand unreasonably accurate casting.

A Wee Touch Up - the serious kick up the bum you get when you just go a bit too low over one of the many electric fences bordering most streams.

We fished the Mataurua River and the Waikaia River. Both are about a 30 minute drive from Lumsden.  We fished varying beats on each stream. The NZ Department of Fishing and Game have tightened up the control and beats are clearly marked. It operates on a “first come gets the beat” system. The guides were able to supplement these locations by getting us onto private land where they had established special access arrangements.

Voluntary beat system 

We had a team of guides, Brendon (a full Kiwi). Dave and Gary (both Victorians but with extensive NZ experience) and Gavin Hurley.  We had one guide to two of us and we would rotate guides and teams daily.

On Day 1 we faced a strong, gusty northwest wind. Fishing was hard and getting long casts in was not possible. Despite the conditions we caught fish. Results came from using short casts into the soft water at the edge of the fast runs where some god fish were lying.  

The weather improved for the following four days, and we enjoyed warm sunny weather. This made sighting fish a lot easier. Wind and rain returned for our last day but hardened by the preceding days fishing, several of us managed to get good fish despite conditions.

Over the days we would switch tactics as we cast at sighted fish and continued to do the occasional bit of prospecting at the edge of fast runs and on the edges of drop offs where faster riffle water emptied into chutes or deeper pools. 

Will the net be big enough?

Nothing matches the trill of getting in a good cast and seeing the fish move to the dry. But when dealing with NZ fish, this was only part of the fun. Often the takes were explosive and were followed by the fish running hard, stripping line at a furious rate. I think we all admitted that this took a bit of getting used to and we all busted of a few good fish on occasions.

We typically used dry dropper rigs and varied the depth of the dropper to suit the depth of the water.

We had a few opportunities to cast at fish feeding on Willow Grubs. This demands an accurate cast between trees or good side cast at a low trajectory to get deep under the overhanging willow. However unfortunately, the Willow Grubs were not as abundant as we hoped that they may be.  

Tight loops and accurate casts

The key benefit of Southland New Zealand fishing is that it really improves your skill level. Having skilled guides to instruct and fishing to large, strong, educated fish requires you to fish at the top of your game. But the rewards are there when you get it right. 

We typically would get between two to four fish to the net in a day's fishing. But the good thing about this fishing is that all the fish are good fish (either Aussie good or Kiwi good fish) between 2 and 4 lb. However, there were plenty of break-offs and missed strikes. If I had to put a figure on it, I would say that we averaged to get 60% of hooked fish to the net.

If I have my records correct, Andy scored the largest fish, on our last day. It weighed in at just over 5lb and Andy had a total of 5 fish for the day.

Andy’s 5 pounder


Trip Report - Tassie trout and pesky cormorants

Enjoying our last evening at the Prince of Wales in Evandale. L-R Mark, Garry, Tim, Louise and Peter

by Tim Ford

An enthusiastic group of just five SFRC members gathered at Woolmers Estate in Tasmania on Saturday 24 February and having read the report from the November visit, looking forward to a good week of trying out our new casting skills in the range of nearby rivers and lakes.

The group included Mark and Louise van Dyck, Garry Dinnie, Peter Wyborn and Tim Ford – all with some previous fresh and saltwater fly fishing experience. Unfortunately, a sixth member had to pull out at short notice for health reasons, but we were fortunate that Fred Bryson, who has a little batch in the Tyne valley, and had been on the November trip was able to join for a couple of days.

We all got together on night one in the Blenheim pub at Longford with one of the recommended guides, Jason Garrett of Rainbow Lodge Guiding, for a briefing on arrangements and where the fish were biting. Jason warned that fishing was pretty slow due to the influx of cormorants that had smashed some rivers and lakes and the lack of rain that meant many of the rivers were low.  He rated some of the rivers as 2/10 etc and advised that even the lakes were not as good as normal.

Garry stalking on St Pats

How right he was!!  All of us had at least one day with a guide (Jason Garret, Martin Droz and Peter Hayes – all great guides) and, when with them, we all got a few fish due to their local knowledge, access to private property and skill at getting us in the right areas in the better rivers and lakes. On our own, in groups of two or three, we were quite unsuccessful with days of zero or only a couple of catches, seeing few rises, and no “great days” despite a lot of driving around and persistence.  Incidentally on one trip up to the Lakes we spotted 25 cormorants in the vicinity!

Louise with guide Martin on the Lakes

Having said that we all saw some wonderful lakes and rivers, beautiful looking fishing waters, lovely scenery, experienced nature in the form of platypuses, echidnas, and wonderful mountains. We tried all the normal places, the Meander, Macquarie, Mersey, Brumby’s, North and South Esk, Saint Patricks creeks and rivers and Little Pine and Kay lakes. It seemed the fish were few, very wary and spooky and hugging under banks and willows even more than normal. We tried all the various combinations of dry fly and nymphs, hoppers, emergers and spinners etc, generally with little success.  We found that using 3wt rods on the rivers and 5 wt on the lakes let us cover the water well.

Having said that it was still an enjoyable week. We enjoyed the experience at Woolmers. We have made good friends, had many laughs and experiences, got a lot of casting practice in difficult conditions and gathered some new or replacement gear at the Essential Flyfisher in Launceston. We look forward to going back to Tassie after some heavy rains and the cormorants have gone.


Trip Report - The Thredbo Thriller

Greg doing battle with a decent brown

by Jason Hemens

On a clear, crisp morning in early February 2024, a fleet of five flawless Flyrodders ascended the Snowy Mountains to trifle with a tribe of treacherous trout.

The group, in reverse chronological order according to fly fishing ability and general good looks, consisted of Dave Robinson, Greg Wordsworth, Leigh Atallah, Chris Clarke, and yours truly.

During the long drive up from Sydney, we debated our fly fishing strategies for the weekend. Should we only fish dries? Greg pointed out that being a purist gave you a handy excuse for not catching anything. It was a strategy which had served him well over the years.

No-one could argue that Euro Nymphing was highly effective, but it would require a half hour shower afterwards to cleanse ourselves of the stigma. That would limit our time at the pub in the evening, which ruled out the idea.

Dry droppers were a sensible each way bet, and we were close to agreeing on this approach, when Dave mentioned he’d recently purchased a fly called a Hopper Popper. That threw a spanner in the works. Would he be fishing a Hopper Popper Dry Dropper?

By the time we pulled into the Ski Tube car park, we were all talked out and ready to fish. Acting on a kind tip off from Graham Partington on where the fish were biting, our plan was to spend our first afternoon exploring the Thredbo River.


Over the course of a tranquil afternoon walking downstream, we managed to entice a few browns from the river’s crystal clear waters. Few were over a pound, but all were breathtakingly beautiful.

Sparkling colours

Chris, a new club member who hasn’t fly fished for years, successfully tempted his first brown of the trip on a dry. Seeing his boyish grin stretching from ear to ear was the highlight of the session.

Later that afternoon, a few of us decided to explore the Thredbo further downstream at Paddys Corner. The trout on this stretch seemed a little more educated, but we managed to fool a few as the sun slipped behind the mountains.

David and Jason fishing at Paddys Corner

This brown took a dry fly drifted tight against a bank

On day 2, we took on the Moonbah River. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring this river for the first time. The section of the Moonbah we fished meandered through meadows and held a surprising number of beefy browns in shallow water.

The Moonbah - fishing this river was the highlight of the trip for me

Dave was the star of the show and landed a couple of browns that were longer than his net. Admittedly, it was a small net, as the rest of us grudgingly pointed out. But there was no denying these fish were thick shouldered and looked to be three pounds or more. Landing them on a 4 weight in shallow, weedy water, was an accomplishment.

When you're fishing alone your selfie skills are tested. One of Dave's bigger browns

While Dave pursued the behemoths, I enjoyed exploring some picturesque runs chasing smaller browns that took a liking to a Tabanas.

A text book bubble line ran through this section and produced fish

One of the trout that fell victim to a Tabanas fly

Leigh, whose casting ability and general stream craft improves exponentially with every trip, landed a lovely little brown that day. He’d do the same the following morning. I reckon he’s well on his way now, but don’t tell him that...

Leigh working his magic on the Moonbah

It would be remiss of me not to point out how treacherous the tussock grass and wombat holes are on the banks of the Moonbah. The thick clumps of grass are chest high in parts, and the wombat holes chest deep, which makes for a dangerous combination.

Countless times, I was walking along in happy conversation with a fishing buddy, only to see him disappear as if a magician had clicked their fingers. The only giveaway he was still alive was the tip of his quivering fly rod, still visible above the offending wombat hole.

Thankfully, there were no casualties and later that afternoon we drove to another location with easier access to the river. We were hoping for an evening rise which didn’t eventuate. Nevertheless, Dave landed a few more browns and Greg hooked and lost a couple of hard fighting fish.

My highlight was spotting a trout feeding at the head of a pool. In normal circumstances, when I actually see a fish to cast to, I rush things and hook any willing tree in the neighbourhood, or tangle up in some other way. This time though, my lucky stars were shining, and I enticed a memorable surface strike from a feisty rainbow.

One of the few rainbows of the trip

And so it was that day 3 dawned, which meant we only had a few hours of fishing left before we had to pull up stumps and head back to Sydney. We decided to fish the Thredbo upstream this time, venturing into the boulder strewn, deeper sections of river.

Chris and Leigh working their way upstream on the final morning

Prospecting one of the deeper runs

The prize fish of this final session belonged to Greg. Considering his level of casting ability, in what was clearly a miracle of biblical proportions, he managed to land a Royal Wulff as gently as a butterfly with sore feet, as Leigh would say. His fly landed with precision in a ripple that fell enticingly into a deep pool.

A solid brown dutifully rose from the depths and annihilated his fly. It was a pleasure to be there and witness the commotion that followed. Sure, I would have liked to hook that memorable fish, but seeing my good mate Greg in his element fighting a powerful trout on a beautiful river was a fair consolation.

A memorable capture on the Thredbo

When I reflect on the whistle stop weekend we had in the Snowies, all the benefits of being part of this club come to the fore. Friendships with like minded anglers you would not otherwise meet, generous tips from experienced members on where to fish, casts improved through free lessons from David Caddies and flies tied with techniques learned from Dave Wilson.

I think I’ll stick around for a while.


Fly Fish Australia Fishing Championship - Invitation to Participate as a Controller

Fly Fish Australia (FFA) is hosting the Australian Fly Fishing Championships from 20 to 23 November 2024 at Falls Creek, Victoria.  The FFA is looking for volunteers to act as Controllers over these three days. The event will be held at Falls Creek and on sections of surrounding rivers.

Being a Controller involves accompanying a competitor over a designation beat and verifying and recording fish catches. No prior experience is required. The 3 day competition requires Controller volunteers to assist in 5 to 6 sessions over 3 days. Event managers will provide all Controllers with equipment needed and instruction before the event.

This is a great opportunity to see Australia’s best fly-fishing men and women in action, at close range.  Being a controller provides a great learning experience for the Controller no matter what level you are at. It is also a good opportunity to promote our Club and give back to the sport we all enjoy.

There will be an after-competition dinner where Controllers are recognised for their significant contribution to the event.

So far, we have two definite Controller attendees from Sydney Flyrodders Club. In addition, some members of the Club will be participating as Competitors. To participate as a Controller for this event, please register with the Club via the website.

As a volunteer Controller, you will be responsible for arranging your own travel and accommodation for the event. However, once we have established how many Club members are intending to participate, we can look at some car-pooling and accommodation sharing options.

If you are interested in registering, please click on this link.

Interclub Meeting in April 2024

Our club is hosting this Interclub Meeting, scheduled for April 2024, with the NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers.

The NSWCFA Interclub gives members of NSWCFA affiliated clubs the chance to get together and fish, in club teams, competing in fly and lure fishing as well as fly and plug casting events, in a very noncompetitive, social atmosphere.

For more information on the event and how to register, please click here.


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.

Jason Hemens

Editor, Flyrodder



The End