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Australia Fly FishingIt’s hot, it’s windy, and there might be another cyclone forming, but the tides are good, and it’s a free weekend. What do you do? Do you A) Sit at home and moan. B) Find something to do on the land that’s connected to fishing in some way. C) Find something to do on the land that’s NOT connected to fishing. D) Just go anyway. Now, needless to say, option C is obviously a joke, and no true fly-fisher would actually consider it. Still, it was looking pretty appealling, and I was still feeling a little unsure when we found ourselves adrift in a boat amongst some mangroves during a dropping tide. There wasn’t any real predator activity, and most of the boils and splashes were from baitfish, or very small predators that would better qualify as being baitfish. It was all very uninspiring. The only two redeeming factors was that the tide was dropping, and there were some nice deep snags. “Ah, this snag looks like it might be good…” A fly lands to the left hand side, and a soft plastic is worked down the middle by your friend who owns the boat. Nothing. The boat moves forward a little under the power of the electric motor, and just to make sure, the fly is delivered on top of the snag and left to sink for a little. Twitch, twitch, pause, twitch, twitch … THUMP! The little 5wt fly rod loads, fingers tighten around the fly-line, and you hold on for whatever it’s worth until the boat is steered out into the middle of the creek. Here, you play the fish. It steels a little line with quite some force, and you strip it back. There’s no distance to the fight, just sharp acceleration and power. It doesn’t seem like a barramundi, or a trevally… That’s when a red flash shines up through the murk. Ah, it’s a mangrove jack – a cousin to the US ‘snappers’. Eventually, it’s landed and measures out to 43cm. There’s a lot of whooping, hollering and carrying on while photos are taken and then you start to think of dinner. Most fish you catch are released, but sometimes, just sometimes, you catch a fish that makes your stomach speak a little louder. It could have been a dull day, but this time, a touch of desperation and a willingness to do a little exploring delivered the goods. A tough fish in trying conditions on a light fly rod and a fly you tied yourself. How could it get any better than that?