My husband Jeff (Bassboy on FAOL) has enjoyed fishing for
the most part of his life. He started as I guess most fishermen
do with the spinning reel and salt water in front of him. Over
the years he has progressed through rock fishing to river fishing
for our native Bass. While Jeff still enjoys Bass fishing he is just
as keen nowadays on fly fishing both salt water species and of
course fresh water species, especially trout.
This meant that Jeff's knowledge of fishing fundamentals, fishing
gear, lines, methods of fishing, stream craft etc are much better
than my own and that can be an inhibiting factor in women fishing
alongside their partners.
Although I always enjoyed catching fish, my experience was
very limited and very raw. I decided a little while back that
I wanted to participate more in Jeff's fly-fishing world and
went along to a casting practice day being held by his fly
fishing club, Lakeside.
Lakeside is a club which encourages women to participate on
equal footing with the men. I was immediately impressed with
the welcome I received and the total lack of sexism displayed.
I met several other women club members there who embraced
my attendance and encouraged me to join the club. This initial
experience was probably the most important factor in my deciding
to sign up. I felt like I would be valued. Nobody claimed to be an
expert in fact everybody I met was humble about their
own abilities. Fly fishing is a sport, they said, but also an art form
that was always going to teach you something new.
So I signed up for fly casting lessons with our club's resident
instructor, Jeff Brown. Jeff Brown runs his own guiding business
and is a qualified fly casting instructor. This was just the sort of
instruction I needed. I didn't want my Jeff teaching me. I suppose
it is much like a husband trying to teach his wife/partner how to drive!
Jeff Brown said not to listen to Jeff about anything other than where
a fish might be and he told my Jeff diplomatically that he could
inadvertently teach me bad habits if he tried to instruct me further. I
was happy about that! It is enough to know yourself when you have
maybe cast the wrong way or messed it up
we don't need to
be told any further!
On the day, another member named Deborah said she thought
hat casting was a bit like meditation. I have to agree with her
there. The mind is so focussed on casting to a particular spot
that nothing else enters your thoughts! By the time I had finished
my casting lesson I was absolutely relaxed and hadn't a worry
about anything else all day.
I decided to join the Lakeside Fishing Club. I now attend their
monthly meetings where everybody talks about where they have
fished, what happened, any fish caught, upcoming events etc.
There is a real sense of comradeship borne from a love of fishing
and the enjoyment it provides. The achievements of all are
Our club provides numerous outings during the year and it was
to these outings I wanted to go with Jeff to enjoy the weekend
away, participate in lovely natural settings and enjoy the company
of these new people.
My first trip was to stay at Adaminaby and fish the Eucembene
River in our Snowy Mountains. The opening weekend of the
trout fishing season was chosen by our club to attend. This
just happened to also be a long weekend and so many club
members chose to come along.
Fishing the rivers for trout is a limited season starting 4th October
2008 and ending the first weekend in June of course
allowing the trout to spawn and breed in between.
The club managed to book a small cabin park allowing
everyone to either share a cabin or couples to have their
own. A large BBQ area in the middle of the park meant
that we also had a great place to gather at the end of the
Jeff and I toured along the river looking for a good spot
to park ourselves for the day. We met up with several
of our fellow club members as well. In fact, many more
people had come to the area to fish the river of course
because it was opening day! This created quite a crowded
scene at times with fisher people trying to claim a piece of
the river for themselves.
Part of the Eucembene River
We went climbing over hills following the path of the river
looking for a good clear spot which we could fish. In fact,
we had trouble finding a spot until one fisher person moved
to look farther up the river and left his lovely little spot open.
Eucembene River, Adaminaby NSW Australia.
So we settled down to fishing that part of the river that was
left to us. Nice little piece of stream which had both little
pools and rocky parts. What fun we had! A few areas in
our little spot were harbouring fish and it was really quite
relaxing just trying to cast out to where we thought they
were. In fact, I used the day as casting practice
never thinking I would actually catch one.
We were there for about 4-5 hours and had a ball. We
saw large wombat holes dug into the side of the hills (wombats
are a native Australian marsupial- refer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wombat), ate lunch by the
side of the water and funnily enough caught a few fish!
I was very fortunate to catch two fish on the day. My first
was a respectable 47cm (18.5 inches) which is shown in the
picture below. My second was a little smaller but just as
much fun to catch. Of course, they were both released. I
enjoyed every moment of the time I spent there and enjoyed
the company of the fishing club members that night around the
barbeque telling their tales of the day.
Me and my first catch a 47cm (18.5") Rainbow Trout
I found a great bunch of people who encourage me in my
efforts at fly fishing and are non-judgemental about both
my gender and technique but at the same time very happy
to assist me when I need it and applaud my efforts. This
will always set the scene for any interested woman to
become involved in the sport and I encourage those out
there who would like their partners to become actively
involved with them to do the same.
I will certainly be taking more lessons in the future to correct
any bad habits I'm picking up and learn some more for
I have lots to learn! I take enjoyment from not only the
varied and beautiful surroundings we find ourselves in when
fishing but also from the learning, the people and my efforts
to constantly improve.
Jeff (Bassboy) fishing the Eucembene River ~ Kathryn