VOLUME 30, ISSUE 9. April 2024

Trevor and Vorn Sweeney during the recent Big River trip (photo courtesy of Tom Jarman)


Next Members Monthly Meeting

Our April Members Monthly Meeting is at our usual venue, The Freeway Hotel in Artarmon, on Monday the 8th April 2024, kicking off at 7:00pm.

Our Guest Speaker will be Patrick Neylon. Pat is a member of the Hunter Valley Fly Fishing Club and an avid angler who has fished for a dazzling array of species around the world.

Please view further down the Flyrodder for the details.


Next Members Monthly Fly Tying 

The Next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting will held on Monday, 15th April 2024 at our usual venue in the Green Room of the Henley Community Centre, kicking off at 7:00pm. 

Dave Wilson will focus on tying Parachute Hackles. The skill and technique remains the same no matter the 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 April 2024

Fellow Flyrodders

Just a short report this month, family commitments and the NSWCFA Interclub that we are running has consumed all my time. Well this trout season is winding down and we have just the Jindabyne trip and Mitta Mitta to go but the Committee will get on and organise some winter outings and we already have a couple of ideas for the start of the new season. We will get out a program for the rest of the year in the next month or so to give you time to plan for activities over winter and spring.

In the meantime winter is a great time for your to improve your casting at David’s Casing Practice and to restock your fly boxes at our monthly fly tying. If you have never tied a fly, remember, at fly tying we have equipment and tying materials for you to use, all you have to do is turn up.

Tight Lines,


Denis Hill


From the Editor

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

Fellow Flyrodders,

In this month's edition we have two reports from the recent Big River trip. The general view was the fish were there but you had to work for them, which is why having Tom Jarman along was a gift from the gods. Thanks to Mark Skacel and Charles Arrand for taking the time to write their reports, and for all those who supplied the photos to bring the trip to life.

Meanwhile, Bob Hart continues to catch 6 pound fish in New Zealand. Thanks Bob for your report which has convinced me I need to visit NZ next year for the fush of a lifetime.

Now here's a question for readers of the Flyrodder - is there any content you would like to see more or less of, or any new ideas you would like to see incorporated?

As editor I want to make sure the material I put together is useful for members so please send me your feedback on the email below.


Jason Hemens - Editor



Last Monthly Meeting and Guest Speakers Report

Justin Duggan shared some fascinating insights from his decades of experience fishing for saltwater species.

For our March Monthly Meeting, Justin Duggan hosted an informative 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. 

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 March Members Meeting:

Denis kicked off the monthly meeting

With Justin's experience and enthusiasm no script or PowerPoint was needed

Beer glasses empty and still a captive audience


Next Monthly Meeting and Guest Speaker

Our April Members Monthly Meeting is at our usual venue, The Freeway Hotel in Artarmon, on Monday the 8th April 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 April Meeting Guest Speaker will be Patrick Neylon.

Pat is a member of the Hunter Valley Fly Fishing Club and an avid angler who has fished for a dazzling array of species around the world, from trout in the Snowies through to Bonefish in Hawaii. His Instagram account "@mrpuddingface" is a veritable smorgasboard of species, definitely worth checking out...

Given that it is only a couple of hours drive north of us, Pat is going to discuss some of the fantastic fly fishing oppotunities in the Hunter area.

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 Harry Bate, Gregg Jones and Peter Willink.

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

Another large turnout in March, particularly the numbers of new and newish members. Most of those put themselves into the ‘new flyfisher’ category, so the session involved a lot of basic skills and drills for many. Altogether there were about 20 of us.

A pleasing turnout of members keen to improve their casting skills

The new casters got on to the basics, while the others set about doing the roll cast with twist and pike – not exactly; just offside, or kneeling as if in a kayak or just being stealthy.

Helping these new casters taking their first or early steps, I was again reminded how it is daunting to start out learning a new skill (ie casting a fly line) just to even begin to go fishing. With other forms of fishing, it’s only minutes to learn how to throw or cast a line into the water and you are away. Of course, there’s a lifetime of skill development and knowledge to be acquired, but at least you are fishing. Many will recall learning at the hands of a parent or elder sibling to get the hook and bait on, or the lure attached and then the satisfaction of seeing the line in the water and eager anticipation sets in right there: “Look, I’m fishing!”

I am always struck by the earnestness of people endeavouring to get better by doing. For some reason, we humans love a challenge more than the simple. If you like simple, why are you flyfishing, I would ask. Why are you tying your own flies and building your own rods to go to distant waters to catch fish and let them go free? Because it’s challenging and the rewards are found along the way in all aspects of the flyfishing journey. With that attitude you can (and should) have a great day’s fishing whether or not you land a fish. So, to the many experts who would tell you to learn to cast better to enjoy your fishing more, I say “that’s true, but learning also has its own rewards.” So, to any beginners reading, I can confirm that as you have now picked up a flyrod, the magic has already begun: the whole game is sort of about fishing, but so much more as well.

How does better casting help your fishing? When you dig into it, you start thinking whether a good day’s fishing was because something was consistent. Maybe the fish were plain suicidal, or you generally picked the right fly, or because your presentations were good. The truth is probably somewhere between the last 2 of these. This question gets tested in ‘one fly’ competitions, popularized in the US. With all contestants having only the exact same fly pattern to use, the thinking is that anglers only have presentation skills to make the difference to their catch rate as compared with other competitors. The focus is on angler skill, not equipment (although a good oarsman can really help your presentation if fishing from a boat). Apart from that kind of ‘research’, If your casting skill and fishing knowledge is adequate to let you make a decent presentation most of the time, the payoff would be that you could more quickly narrow down the best fly to use. I’m not saying it always comes down to the fly, but if you can take the some of the variability (aka: mistakes) out of the presentation by being a better caster, that must help. It’s a nice dream, don’t you think?

See you in the park.


Thank you to Gavin Van Der Wagen for taking these photos. 


Club Monthly Casting Practice - Details and Event Schedule.

SFRC MONTHLY CASTING PRACTICE  9am Sunday 14 April 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. 

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

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. 

For 2024, we have moved to the second Sunday of the month, except for May as it's Mother's Day.

So put these dates in your diary for 2024:

14th April 2024

19th May 2024

9th June 2024

14th July 2024

11th August 2024

8th September 2024

13th October 2024

10th November 2024

8th December 2024.


Last Month's Fly Tying Meeting

by Greg Wordsworth

An enthusiastic group of members joined Dave for the evening with the focus being on tying up a Hedgehog Bibio. Dave showed members the difference between cross cut furs and zonker strips. He shared tips on how bending the leather of the fur patch gives improved access to the fibres when selecting fibres, tying in tales and wings.

Watching the maestro at work

Each step of the tying technique was meticulously explained and demonstrated by Dave. This included pinch wraps, direct dubbing and horizontal cuts to end up with a ramp and not a step.

The technique maketh the fly

It was interesting when Dave whipped out his blender and coffee grinder and proceeded to demonstrate how to turn simple materials into high quality dubbing blends.

A coffee blend guaranteed to put fur on your chest

I know some of the attendees will be visiting Op Shops to go and find an old blender and / or fur items to make up some of their own dubbing blends.

Dave also showcased a variety of dubbing brush making tools and spun up dubbing brush on one of his tools.


Next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting

Our next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting will be held on Monday, 15 April 2024, from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm. The doors will open at 6:30 pm to give you time to set up for a 7:00 pm start.

We will be learning the skill of tying Parachute Hackles.

These days parachute hackles are used on many patterns including ParaDuns, Spinners and many Emergers such as Klinkhammers through to parachute Caddis’s (Tabanas’s) and others.

The skill and technique remains the same no matter the pattern.

To make things easy we will be tying a Klinkhammer style emerger on a curved hook to a synthetic wing post.

As a result, you will be able to tie a parachute hackle to 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 - Big River

Mark Skacel plays one to the net 

Articles by Mark Skacel and Charles Arrand

Photographs thanks to Tom Jarman, Steve Peach, Paul Gordon, Mark Skacel and Gavin Van Der Wagen (apologies if I've missed anyone)

by Mark Skacel

Fellow Fly Rodders, a quick report on the Big River trip from March 16-23.

As a newcomer to the club I thought the best way to meet my fellow club members was to sign up for a trip and so I decided the Big River was for me. Unfortunately it was full initially but luckily a place opened up and Gavin the master organiser fitted me in at the Blue Duck Inn Cabins.

This was my first trip to Victoria fishing and the winding drive in from Mitta Mitta along the Snowy Creek was stunning in the midday sun. Dodging the motorcyclists travelling at 100 kph along the route was a mild inconvenience when surrounded by the beautiful creek scenery.

My first stop on the Omeo side of the range was just above the Big River bridge to watch and learn from the experts who had entered the 2 day fly fishing competition. I would describe myself as a mediocre flyman and watching the competitors was truly a revelation in how much I had to learn. With that thought in mind, I deposited my gear at the Blue Duck and headed upstream along the Cobungra River.

Two fish and an hour and a half later it was beer o’clock and time to meet the rest of the crew at the pub. I shared a cabin with Phil Burton and he proved to be a fantastic source of fly fishing information and helped me improve my casting over the week.

Phil Burton on the lower Cobungra  

Sunday arrived as a sunny hot day. A large part of the Big River was out of bounds due to the competition and so the crew of 22 set off in all directions to their preferred water, which included the Victoria, Cobungra, Bundara, Big rivers and Middle Creek to name a few.

The majesty of Middle Creek

David Blackwell took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. Coffee at Omeo was important before hitting the Cobungra. The river was low and the water crystal clear. Personally, I would describe the fishing or should I say fish catching as “not easy”.

David Blackwell comes up tight

One of the highlights of the trip for many was the presence and contribution made by Tom Jarman, a guide of extraordinary talent and fly fishing skill. I was lucky to fill a vacant slot with Tom on the Monday. Kym Goldsworthy and I were treated to an exceptional day of education in regards to fly fishing lines, leaders and tippets, flies, techniques and trout behaviour. We even caught a few trout along the way!

Tom Jarman doing what he does best

In the evenings Tom entertained those interested by tying some of his favourite trout catching flies. The whole experience of having Tom around for the week was educational and valuable to understand what I should be striving for as regards the perfect fly drift. The saying is “practice makes perfect”. I certainly need the practice after watching Tom.

Tom's CDC caddis flies and nymphs

Every evening over a beer or glass of wine the group discussed how the rivers had fished that day and I would have to summarise by saying the consensus seemed to be that “the fishing wasn’t easy”.  But, it would true to say, most people caught fish every day. A philosophical conversation one evening centered around trout and do they have a tongue? For the rest of the week every fish I caught had its mouth inspected. What is the definition of a tongue you may ask?

Tom's expertise was a highlight for members

Exchanging tall stories over an evening drink (or two) was the perfect way to end a day's fishing

Tuesday evening brought rain and with it a somewhat muddy and higher flowing Big River and this did not help in the trout catching stakes. After drawing a blank on the Big River, Phil Burton and myself headed up the Cobungra from Anglers Rest only to be rewarded by a torrent of muddy water as the river rose. We retreated back to the cabins along with a few like-minded folks for pre-dinner drinks. The rest of the week was cooler and the fishing improved for some. I am reliably informed that Peter Douglas had a stellar evening session on rising fish near the CRB camp site on the Friday. How many fish he landed on a dry fly in that session I will never know, but it sounded memorable.

Tom receiving the Flawith appreciation award as the week’s MVP

A great week was had by all and I certainly enjoyed my first trip with the club and learnt from everyone I talked to in regards gear and technique. Grant Flawith took the gold medal in the trout catching department, with a high of twenty fish caught in a day. Unfortunately he suffered a painful experience when a vicious tree attacked the back door of his SUV while he was minding his own business sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine running. How is the car Grant, fixed I hope?

A big thank you to Gavin van der Wagen for organising the event.


Trip Report - Big River

Tom with Trevor Sweeney

by Charles Arrand

Firstly, on behalf of all that went on the Big River trip, I would like to thank Gavin for organising such an enjoyable event.

We all gathered at the Blue Duck Inn at Angler’s Rest on the Saturday night for a convivial meal and to learn that a round of the Victorian Open fly fishing competition was being held on Big River over the weekend with thirty odd beats fished hard for two days. So, that was my excuse in the bag, should I end up blanking.

Water conditions were difficult, in that the rivers in the area were low and clear, though Tuesday saw some rain overnight, but not enough to radically change conditions. All the rivers in the area; Big River, Cobungra, Bundara, Middle Creek yielded fish and held good numbers of fish which were all very lean, fit and wary.

The fish were there but you had to work for them. David Blackwell in action here.

Paul Gordon in stealth mode

Happily, everyone caught fish, with some decent fish landed, though there were blank days for some, unfortunately. There seemed to be few fish rising and nymphs were the go to for the most part, though our skilled dry fly colleagues had good sport. Although the fishing was mixed Peter had a memorable session fishing the evening rise on the last day; his reward for being one of the few to fish past beer o’clock!

However, I think I speak for many when I say the undoubted highlight of the week was being with Tom Jarman. We could all see why he is #4 in the world! A session with Tom wasn’t so much a guided day as a masterclass in every aspect of trout fishing, with Tom generously imparting his many ‘trade secrets’. He probably was happy to do this in the sure and certain knowledge that we were never going to be as talented as him.

My number one take away was ‘it’s not the fly it’s the presentation’! Clumsy oafs like me can spook fish simply by walking up to a pool; Tom can stand there with two ‘pupils’ instructing them and demonstrating technique and catch fish at his feet. Truly amazing. In fact it’s more than that it’s borderline witchcraft! 

Sunlight glistening on the surface and the spray of water from a strike

Steve Peach comes up trumps

A gorgeous specimen from Middle Creek


Trip Report - Fishing New Zealand Feb/March

Bob Hart with an impressive NZ brown

by Bob Hart

I must have a lucky star shining over me, because I had good weather for my entire stay on the South Island. Oh, I might have had one rainy day, but I did not fish that day.

Anyway, in the Otago region where I started there had been no rain for the past two months. We started fishing at the Opahi which was only shin deep and this made the fish wary. I only managed to hook one which promptly took me into a bush.

While fishing other rivers and streams proved more successful, the big disappointment was that this was the dry fly season, and 90 % of our releases were on nymphs. The main reason was that this season there were very few insects flying around.

However, one day we had magnificent dry fly fishing, when the trout were feeding on spinners. Here we used # 16 dry flies with great effect. I would like to stress to the members that accuracy is paramount, and I would recommend to all members, no matter how experienced you are, to practice casting before going on a trip. Accuracy is the name of the game.

Going way down South to Te Anau, the situation was much different. The Southern regions had received steady rainfall throughout the season. Some said too much. Fortunately for me, the rain had stopped and I experienced fine sunny weather for my stay.

On our first day we hit the Mataura, which was wonderful fishing. We released twelve browns around the three pound mark, all caught on dry flies. Over the following days it was mainly nymph fishing again, which was a little disappointing. Still, we had some good days.

On the North Island they had plenty of rain, however, just like the deep south of the South Island, flying insect activity was low. Local fishermen told me they had not seen many cicadas this season. When I arrived at Murupara, my friend Murray told me that he had not only noticed the lack of cicadas, but also the very ubiquitous lacy-wing insect, which usually infests the blackberry bushes.

Although the rivers were high at Murupara, they were relatively clear, but wading would be very tough with the flow of water coming down from the mountains after recent rains.  Fortunately, Murray had a raft, so we rafted down the Rangitaiki, a river which is festooned with blackberry bushes. We released 4 on dries and 4 on nymphs - all were rainbows except for a solitary brown.

Over following days the rivers dropped enough where we could wade the upper reaches of the Whirinaki river, a small stream which feeds into the Rangitaiki. Again, with the lack of flying insects, it was predominantly nymph fishing with 10 releases an average, and fish in the 2-3 pound bracket.

I used a 5 weight for my dry flies and a 6 weight for the heavy #14 weighted nymphs. Most of the time a double nymph rig was used, due no doubt, to the swift flow of the river. Owing to the fact that fishing here is relatively tight, casts were not long, but they had to be very accurate. Vegetation behind and overhead dictated that one had to watch one’s cast carefully or a fly would hook a branch rather than a trout, which happened from time to time. I must add this was most frustrating but Murray’s happy and cheerful personality made everything worthwhile. He is a good friend indeed.

Again I was lucky that while I was at Murupara the weather was magnificent. What more can a fisherman want?  

Bob with one of 3 browns released in the 6 - 6 1/2 pound range


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.


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