Tasmania – Mossie Swamp Lagoon – 4 January 2012

Wednesday

It would be my last day in Tasmania. It had taken me the best part of a week to get the hang of a new style of fishing and just as I was beginning to work it out, it was time to go. That’s fishing – it just means you have to come back again – soon.
I had looked over the map and had found a canal that links the Pump Pond to Mossie Swamp Lagoon – another dam, near Taraleah. I had been having success fishing in the faster moving water at the mouths of the lagoons and canals, so I decided to go and have a look.

The weather was windy and had cooled off dramatically overnight, as a front was moving through. It had rained in the morning but, by the time I set off to fish, at about 3.00 pm the wind was dropping and the sun was out again.

I headed up the road to Lake King William, then parked and walked for 15 minutes, along a track to Mossie Swamp Lagoon. This was another beautiful spot and I stopped well short of the edge, to observe what was going on. Predictably, I could see two Brown Trout rising in the shallows, at either end of the dam wall. I cast out a GULP 3” Minnow soft plastic in the Rainbow colour on a 1/12th oz jighead and watched through my Polaroid glasses, as one of the Trout followed my slow retrieve all the way into the bank. I stopped the lure right at the edge and the Trout just sat 10cm away, staring at it – but it would not strike. I switched to a grub tail soft plastic and the same thing happened.

I decided to move on. I walked along another track through the forest that brought me out next to a broad, fast flowing canal with a couple of weirs on it. The bottom was weedy and the wall lining had broken away in places, so that it looked more like a natural river bank. The water was fast moving but there were lots of eddies in the shallows, at the sides.

I had run out of the Peppered Prawn coloured Jigging Grub soft plastics, so I reverted to an old favorite – the GULP 3” Minnow Grub in the Pumpkinseed colour. I cast it forward, up stream into the canal and gave it a couple of jumps as it sped back in my direction. The response was instant. A small Brown Trout raced out from the darkness and attacked the lure. It took two bites and then fled. I reeled the soft plastic back in, less its tail. I put another on and moved another ten metres up the canal. I repeated the process and after a few more casts, came up tight on a fish. It was another nice Brown Trout, about 30cm long. I photographed and released it.

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I walked along the river bank and past a weir. I kept casting and got plenty of bites from smaller fish and lost a few jigheads to the rubble and weed on the bottom. I worked my way through my soft plastics – the 3” Jigging Grub in the Camo colour, the 3” Fry on the Banana Prawn colour, the 3” Powerbait Minnow in the Pumpkinseed colour. They all got bites but the GULP Pumpkinseed Minnow Grub with its paddle tail, seemed to be the most attractive and I caught three more small Browns on this one and dropped two more, close to the bank.

I fished up and down this stretch of water until about 6.30 pm, when I simply had to leave. It had been a great afternoon and a suitable finale to a great week. I had spent a lot of time fishing for relatively few fish, but I learned a lot about the wily Tasmanian Brown Trout and I am already planning my next visit.

Tasmania – the Pump Pond Reservoir – 3 January 2011

Tuesday

Tuesday was a clear, still, hot morning. At about 7.00 am I drove back up to the Pump Pond and fished around the shore. The fish were there but they were not interested in the soft plastics in such clear, still water. I moved back down along the canal to the reservoir and fished the spot where I had found the fish the day before. I was now using the GULP 3” Jigging Grub soft plastic in the Peppered Prawn colour, I got a bite and a short run but the fish spat it out.

Swirling water in the Pump Pond Reservoir

I decided to try the other side of the mouth of the canal and moved around to a clear spot on the bank. I saw a fish rise and cast just up river of it. Before the soft plastic reached the bottom I felt the bite and then the line started peeling. This was a better fish than the day before and again it tried to get down into the weed.

The best Brown Trout of the trip - 42cm

I already had the drag set reasonably tight and the 6lb leader had been strong enough the day before, so I was confident enough to pull the fish free of the weed and up the bank. It was my best fish of the trip so far at just over 2lbs.

I fished on in a few other spots around the reservoir but could not find any more Trout, so I gave up at around 9.00 am.

Tasmania – The Pump Pond Reservoir – 2 January 2012

Monday

I was up early on Monday, convinced that my soft plastic lures would have a basketful of fish on the table by lunchtime. I decided to go back to the southern end of Bronte Lagoon where I had missed a few trout on the fly, earlier in the week.

This area is close to the road, easy to access and has lots of fish holding terrain. The tree line is close to the shore, providing shade on hot days and also encouraging lots of insect life. There are also clumps of strap weed, tree stumps, boulders and fallen trees all along the bank. I had my waders on but started by fishing along the bank with various GULP soft plastic lures.

Bronte Lagoon - lots of structure but perhaps I was too early for the fish


I think I was a little too early at about 6.30am. As the week went on I began to realize that the Trout prefer a bit of warmth or sun, before they start actively feeding. I suppose that the warmth brings out the insects and that’s when they get going.

I walked up and down the bank but could not raise a bite, so I drove back to another small reservoir, just south of the Pump Pond, near Taraleah. This reservoir is fairly deep and is filled from two sides by canals. Where the water flows in, there are some good eddies and I thought they looked worth a try.

It was about 7.30 am and I decided I would try a hard bodied lure. I had picked up a couple of RAPALA XR4s in the Brown trout colour , before I left Brisbane so I tied one on and cast into an eddy where the water was running out of one of the canals, into the reservoir. I put in about five casts, retrieving the lure slowly with plenty of pauses and twitches. On the last one there was a great swirl and a good sized Brown trout knocked the lure flying out of the water as it struck. Unfortunately the fish and lure did not hook up and I was left standing there, replaying the scene in slow motion on the bank.

I cast around a bit more but the fish did not strike again. At about 10.00am I gave up again, resolving to try again later in the afternoon. I was gaining a healthy respect for these fish, they were far from easy to catch.

A 35cm Brown Trout from the Pump Pond Reservoir

That afternoon I came back to the same spot at about 5.00 pm. I decided to try a soft plastic lure and put on a GULP 3″ Jigging Grub in the Peppered Prawn colour. I rigged it on a 1/12th oz jighead and cast it into the swirling eddies again. A few casts produced nothing so I moved round the corner towards the slack water and put out a few more casts. On the third, there was a solid thud and I struck hard. Line started peeling and after a few lunges, I felt the line slow as the fish tried to bury itself in the strap weeds. I tightened the drag a little and pulled it free. I soon had it on the bank – a Brown Trout – just over 35cm long. Delighted, I kept this one for dinner and it certainly tasted sweet.

Trout are definitely harder to catch than I expected