by Carl Hyland
Whilst small stream fly fishing competitions attract anglers from throughout the world in the island state, a group of people decided to hold the Spin Fishing Championships recently as an alternative to fly fishing. Some time ago, a few members of the Tasmanian fishing website, Fishtas.Com decided it would be a good idea to get together at a location somewhere in Tasmania and have a competition against each other to see who could catch fish (namely trout) and be the ‘reigning’ champion of fisher people throughout the state.
The deck overlooking the Huon River.
Such was the success of the first event in 2011, another was held last weekend in the South of Tasmania and was very well attended. Held on the Huon and Russell Rivers at Judbery, members of the site traveled from around the state to stay at the local Community Hall at Calverts Park a great little area with toilets, kitchens and plenty of room for competitor’s to bed down in swags for the night in air conditioned comfort. Overlooking the pristine Huon River, we listened to tales of a night, from local anglers, of big sea trout coming upstream to our location and being caught off the very pontoon attached to the hall facilities.
The return of some competitors after a brief foray into waters at the head of the Russell River where it meets the Huon got everyone excited especially when a nice 2kg brown trout was presented for viewing plus tales of another four captured and released. This bode well for the coming day’s action where teams of eight anglers (two per team) would be vying for the crown of Spin Fishing champion. Some great trophies were on offer plus a multitude of fishing lures, dvd’s magazines etc.
One of the beaut trophies on offer.
The cooking facilities were well patronised with a member cooking vast volumes of pasta and meatballs on the Saturday evening plus hosting a great barbecue lunch after the event.
Sunday dawned sunny and no wind and early fly hatches around the hall indicated that it was going to be a pearler of a day on the water. Most arose early at 5.00am and with the comp kicking off at 8.00am on the Russell, many were keen to get rods ready and look at the lay of the land.
Pools were deep and clear.
That time soon came and in convoy with many onlookers also following, participants headed to the Rivers Edge Wilderness Camping area, where for a gold coin donation, people can camp with great facilities at the water’s edge. A Girl Guide get together had no bearing on participant’s enthusiasm, so the starter’s pistol was fired. Contestants had been allocated a ‘beat’ and this meant that they could fish this stretch of water for the allotted time, which was three hours. The three hour limit was a loose time as travel to the destination etc. was included in that time.
Conditions in the river were very slippery, with a green algae covering most rocks and it w wasn't long before one the entrants took a full bodied dip. Fishing was very hard and not many fish spotted in the gin clear shallow water but anglers used up all of their time and allocated areas to try to raise fish. Whilst bait wasn't allowed in the event, anglers opted for small bladed lures such as celtas or small floating bodied minnows or smaller soft plastics. The event was won by a Southern based team who caught a total of three fish which included two brown trout and one small Atlantic salmon. All were returned to the water but there was no requirement for anglers to do so. Many contestants reported hooking up to small river fish but couldn't stay pinned to them, for what reason remains unclear, but no larger fish were spotted nor hooked.
One of the team winners with his brown trout.
The event was declared over and members returned to the hall where the barbecue and prize presentations were held. Many prizes not allocated were deemed to be used for other competitions in the Christmas break. Organizers were very happy with the turnout and there is already talk of another event around Easter next year, probably on the East Coast in saltwater.
To join the Fishtas site go to www.fishtas.com where membership is free.
carl hyland fishtas