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ISSUE#5

MORSE CODE CROATIAN MAHI MAHI ALPHONSE ISLAND HUMANS TAN LINES & TRIGGERS WHASSUP BRO? MAKING A MISSION www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

COVER ANDY MCKINSTRAY

JAN-MAR ‘18

ALSO INCLUDED: TI E ‘ N FLY BOX TH E TA I LI N G LOOP PH OTO C OMPETI TI O N STU FF YOU N EED


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ISSUE #5

CONTENTS 18 MAHI MAHI PHOTO COMP 34 ALPHONSE ISLAND 40 MORSE CODE 68 WHASSUP BRO? 88 THE TIE ‘N FLY BOX 100 TAN LINES & TRIGGERS 112 SPECIES SPOTLIGHT 130 STUFF YOU NEED 137 MAKING A MISSION 140 THE TAILING LOOP 158 KATKA ŠVAGROVÁ OUR WINNERS

RASMUS OVESEN

JUSTIN WEBBER & PETER MORSE ANTTI VAPPULA GAVIN PLATZ

ANDREW MCKINSTRAY

DR JULIAN PEPPERELL ITS CREW

WEBCOX FLY FISHING GRAEME COX

Photo: Rasmus Ovesen

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Bonefish snacks in every variety Photo: Andrew Mckinstray

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The award winning saltwater rods from Scott.

PHOTO: Tim Angeli

The all new Meridian saltwater rods build on our award winning ReAct technology to bring you a series of fly rods that are remarkably light, and generate exceptional line speed and power. Using increased recovery speed rather than stiffness to more efficiently transfer energy, Meridian rods help you quickly make accurate casts at any distance in demanding saltwater conditions. You’ll be amazed at how fast you can get the fly from your hand to the fish. And in the salt, that’s often the difference between opportunity and success. www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

Every Scott rod is handcrafted, beginning to end, in our shop in Montrose, Colorado by anglers who understand fly rods.

ReAct

ReAct technology combines our X-Core design with a new complex materials and taper system to create a breakthrough in fast action rod design.

Enhanced feel, incredible stability and unequalled performance. X-Core combines the industry’s leading composite technologies with cutting edge design.

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THE ED JUSTIN WEBBER THE ADS JUSTIN WEBBER THE EYE DAN CALLISON JUSTIN WEBBER THE WORDS DAN CALLISON CONTRIBUTORS KATKA ŠVAGROVÁ RASMUS OVESEN ANTTI VAPPULA GRAEME COX DR. JULIAN PEPPERELL ANDREW MCKINSTRAY GAVIN PLATZ DEB BURROWS PHOTOGRAPHY PETER MORSE KATKA ŠVAGROVÁ CHRIS BYGRAVE ANDREW MCKINSTRAY GRAEME COX ANTTI VAPPULA GAVIN PLATZ DEB BURROWS SUBMISSIONS IN THE SALT WELCOMES ALL SUBMISSIONS, CONTENT OR PHOTOS. WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO PUBLISH THE ARTICLE OR CONTENT. THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS MAGAZINE ARE NOT ALWAYS OF THE MAGAZINE OR ITS OWNERS. IT IS ILLEGAL TO COPY OR REPRODUCE THIS MAGAZINE. CONTACT US

info@inthesaltflymag.com.au www.inthesaltflymag.com.au PHOTO ANDREW MCKINSTRAY

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ISSUE #5

IN THE SALT

FLY FISHING MAGAZINE Issue#5 is here. What an exciting journey we have been on this past year and it just keeps on getting better. Thank you to all the people around the world that have shown us support, we’re only a small publication but we’ve got a big heart and it really makes us proud when we get such positive feedback. It just proves that when you put your mind to something, anything is possible. We have some awesome contributions this issue from around the globe and locally. Articles on Croatian Mahi Mahi to DIY Flats boat building, this issue has got it covered! Of course none of this would be possible without our wonderfully epic contributors, word and photographic so thank you guys and gals you make our job worth it! A big thank you to our loyal advertisers too, it’s been an epic journey and we appreciate everything you bring to the mag. We received some great contributions for our photo comp that just passed. A huge congrats to everyone that entered and to the winners. To find out more check out page 34. Welcome to IN THE SALT a fly fishing magazine dedicated to saltwater fly fishing and travel.

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LOCKED AND LOADED! Photo: Andrew Mckinstray

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Mahi Mahi

CROATIAN MAHI MAHI FROM THE BEACH Words & photos by Katka Švagrová Croatia is a favourite holiday destination for people from all over Europe who are seeking a unique vacation experience. This country has much to offer; hundreds of beaches along the stunning Adriatic coast mixed into a myriad of beautiful islands, historical towns and charming villages which preserve traditional Croatian culture while offering you a special local mediterrarean cusine at every step.

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Perhaps a surprising and little known secret of Croatia is the presence of one of the most majestic fish species in the ocean, that of the Mahi Mahi, known also as Dorado or the common Dolphinfish. These strikingly coloured fish are some of the most acrobatic fighters of the sport fish kingdom. As a pelagic species they are mostly found in open ocean environments of tropical areas surrounding the equator. They commonly take up residence around and under surface flotsam and jetsam such as seaweed lines, sargassum, floating timber, or something else that serves to create a microcosm of aquatic life and a food chain producing the bait fish upon which they feed. But, Mahi Mahi fishing in Croatia is something totally different.

last 15 years the temperature of these Adriatic waters has rapidly increased as a result of global warming, and fish species which weren‘t present here before, began to enter this area in large numbers.

When I‘m talking with people about Mahi fishing in Croatia directly from the beach they are always shocked and do not believe in the tale at first! In the

Because finding and landing Mahi from the beach is quite hard work I would like to give you some proven tips on how best to succeed!

Local people desribe this warm water invasion as a ‘disaster‘ for their original marine fauna. I found these new Dorado residents on the beach of Croatia just six years ago by accident while I was trying to target small Needlefish on fly. From that moment on, beach fishing became a new and accepted technique for Mahi fly fishing while holidaying with my family every August.

“THE PRIME MONTHS ARE JULY AND AUGUST!”

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FIND A GOOD SPOT

USE THE RIGHT GEAR

First you have to find a good beach spot on the edge of deeper water where these predators are chasing small bait fish around and actually into the shore. Schools of bait are a good sign that Mahi are more than likely lurkig nearby.

Although the maximum lengh of these beach Mahi rarely exceeds 75 cm, they are strong fighters. In that regard your most important weapons for success are fly line and tippet choices. I use a RIO Bonefish Quickshooter fly line. Even though this line was primarily developed I experienced the biggest success in the for Bonefishing on tropical flats, I believe town of Makarska two years ago, when this line is extremely well suited for this we were casting into a school of Mahi style of fishing. It works well for many with over a hundered fish in the single reasons, but the primary factor is it’s school. But actually, it doesent matter if ability to load your rod quickly and thats you flick a fly on Dubrovník beaches or exactly what you need. Usually you will those around the city of Split. You have cast around 30 feet, but in a matter of to be patient, keep your eyes open, and nano-seconds a school of Mahi can apspend time blind casting. pear right in front of you and you have to hit them immediately with a fly presentaThe prime time for you to venture out tion, sometimes with a lightening quick with rod in hand is approximately one time saving roll cast. hour before sunset. If luck turns on your side you can often hook other I usually take a spool holder loaded with species such as Bonito or Bluefish. 30, 25, 20, and 16 pound flurocarobon Just remember to use a wire trace while tippet. Anything heavier than 30 lb will casting for Bluefish. negatively effect the movement of your fly. The prime months are July and August.

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With Mahi it’s essential to use reels with good quality, grunty drag systems loaded with 300 metres of backing. If you cannot afford a well suited fly reel with an anti-reverse drag system, when the fish runs and pulls line off the reel, the spool imediatley becomes a mess. When you lose your well deserved fish because of your reel choice you will remember that mistake forever. Remember to carry a good pair of polarized sunglasses in copper, blue or rose coloured tints and I would highly recommend having a second pair as well in different colour, if the weather dramatically changes your light conditions. I wear Costa Del Mar sunglasses with the 580P green mirror lense tint which are specifically made for saltwater fishing to cut the glare off the ocean’s surface. When it comes to targeting these beauties, just remember there is no perfect fly rod weight. I would like to recomend Arcticsilver Innovation rods, but the weight choice depends on the day’s choice of location and weather. When the wind cranks up you still need to cast long to bring fish closer, so be prepared with an #8WT rod. If the day’s weather conditions are tending toward fine and still select a #7WT and hold on for a more enjoyable fight! CHOOSE THE RIGHT FLY As Dolphinfish spend most of their time feeding on small baitfish found around the local beaches and coral reefs, I found the most effective fly choice to be a small surf candy pattern in size #2 and #4. I didn‘t find any specific connection to secondary colour as they 2 4 In TheSaltwater

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seemed to key equally on hot pink, fluro green, and yellow coloured patterns. Small poppers were also effective. Many anglers avoid using poppers because they are harder to cast with a fly rod. They are often heavier and more wind-resistant than a typical aerodynamic fly. The key to making a good popper cast is to create maximum energy on the backcast effectively loading the rod. Before you set the hook on a popper fly just remember to allow the fish to submerge with the popper to prevent pulling the hook out of the mouth too soon. STRIP AS FAST AS YOU CAN

BE PATIENT You will experience days where you might cast for hours and not get a single eat, but the key to enjoying this kind of Mahi fly fishing is patience. There is a saying you might have heard many times before “A slow day of fishing beats a great day at work” Just remember to enjoy everything it has to offersunny days on the beach, cold Croatian beer, fresh Adriatic air - and soak up all that Mother Nature has to offer. As the sweetest desert for the finish of the day you might get one of these acrobatic fighters from the Mediterranean sea.

Dolphinfish can motor at 80 KPH and often leap to catch their prey. I stripped faster on Croatian Mahi than anywhere else I’ve fished in the world. Because they are so curious toward anything moving fast in the water and because they are so cautious before they eat, you cannot let them check out your fly. If they get a close look at your slow moving surf candy you have to change your fly as soon as possible ! FISH WITH SOMEONE ELSE A really effective pair technique is to use a spinning rod with popper lures to bring the target fish closer to shore. As one of you casts with the spinning rod the other is ready with the fly rod. When Mahi start to chase the popper lure simply cast with the fly near the lure. You can use that technique until the school of fish dissapears. When fighting Dorado you will need to lower your rod tip when the Mahi shows off his airbourne dance moves. 2 8 In TheSaltwater

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An amazing bull Mahi Mahi Photo: Katka Švagrová

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Cruising in style on Alphonse Photo: Rasmus Ovesen

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Photo

Bomb

CONGRATS #1 Chris Bygrave YOU have won the YETI 45L TUNDRA

DOWN THE HATCH Nice, and different angle of the fish. Makes you think what the prey must feel every day in the flats. Dangerous and fearful!

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CONGRATS #2 Stu Hastie

CONGRATS

#3 Ibrahim Macrae 3 6 In TheSaltwater

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CONGRATS

#4 Christin Breuker www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

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Locked and loaded, all bases covered! Photo: Rasmus Ovesen

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Alphonse Island

A T R O P I C A L F I S H I N G PA R A D I S E I N T H E SEYCHELLES Words by Rasmus Ovesen Photos by Rasmus Ovesen, Martin Ejler Olsen and Keith Rose-Innes

~ The Seychelles ~

The Seychelles is an archipelago located North of Madagascar, and it mainly consists of small coral islands, atolls and reefs. The Seychelles is known for its beautiful palm beaches, but it is also home to some of the best and most diverse tropical saltwater fly fishing in the world.

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I’M BEWILDERED and overwhelmed. Dizzy and languid, like a boxer who has just left the ring - humiliated and defeated. The scenes from a full week of hysterically exciting tropical fly fishing flicker before my feverish eyes, while my gazing eyes emptily skirt across the shimmering blue water, which the catamaran transects with surgical precision. We’re in the middle of the Indian Ocean on our way to our resort on Alphonse Island in the Seychelles. The shiny white flats, the moonscape-like coral formations and the riveting tidal currents, which - in combination with vast elongated, subaqueous meadows of turtle grass and toothy, weather-beaten outer reefs - constitute the heart and soul of the St. Francois Atoll and its hunting grounds, now unobtrusively fade away behind us – like a bittersweet diminuendo that quietly yields to total silence. All of it stings relentlessly inside the depths of my soul and, as I cast one last glance behind me and take in the scenery for the last time, I suddenly realize that I’ve never been so sad having to pack up and leave a fishing destination as I am now. It’s a veritable tragedy! “ETERNALLY OWNED IS BUT WHAT’S LOST”, sounds a trite, old proverb, which – unfortunately – makes good sense now that everything is over. In this very moment I feel as if it might as well have been the title of a bizarre Film Noir-like drama that I’ve just been through: An anti-climactic drama – hopeless and dark, where I have had close encounters of the third degree with the full St. Francois Atoll villain cast; Bonefish, Triggerfish, Milkfish, Permit and Giant Trevally, and where in a morass of nerves, failed technique, www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

and misfortunate circumstances - I’ve lost everything! EVERYTHING GETS OFF TO A GOOD START. My faithful fishing buddy, Martin Ejler Olsen, and I begin building our confidence by catching a handful of Bonefish on the flickering white sand flats of the St. Francois Atoll – Bonefish in combative sizes that seem completely magnetised by our flies, all the while impressing us with their shimmering pearlescent glow, silvery flanks, iridescent blue fin strokes, and phantom-like runs, which make our fly reels hiss like the hoarse winds. Additionally, we catch a Yellowlip Emperor, a couple of Groupers and a Lemon Shark of about 90lbs. And I get to cast to a Giant Trevally along the so-called Lollipop Reef – a fish that turns after the fly with inexorable resoluteness, and - heading straight towards me – inhales the fly at such a pace that I don’t stand a chance of hooking it. The line goes slack, and the fly is spat out before I ever get to establish contact. ENCOURAGED BY YESTERDAY’S GREAT FISHING we now spend our second day buoyantly scouting and blind-casting along tidal currents, depth curves and reefs in the hopes of hooking one of the atoll’s terrifying Giant Trevallies: A powerful and lightning-quick predator species, which – because of its keen eyesight, bloated ego, menacing mannerisms and inflammable temperament – has risen to near-mythical status among saltwater fly fishermen and has come to be known as the ‘gangster of the flats’. Unfortunately, on this particular day they are like flickering, ominous ghosts. They disappear just as abruptly as they emerge – and when we finally manage to get a couple of quality casts In TheSaltwater 45


in, they display an atypical apathetic indifference to our flies. AFTER A WHOLE DAY with nothing but a few side-catches in the shape of Garfish, Grouper and Bluefin Trevally we revise our plans for the following day. Here, we fish along the western reaches of the St. Francois Atoll where an elongated moonscape-like coral reef constitutes a staunch but scarred barrier against the agitated sea. The tide is high, and our plan is to sight-fish for some of the atoll’s nu4 6 In TheSaltwater

merous Triggerfish – a rather goofy looking and incredibly aggressive fish that is equipped with toothy jaws designed for breaking down coral and crushing crustaceans and mollusc. The fact that it is capable of chewing flies (and flustered fingers) clean through only serves as further testament to its reputation as one of the most exciting game fish in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. The combat fishing that ensues surpasses all of our expectations. With great assistance from our guide, Brandon, who jumps headlong on the fish with his landing net as soon as they’re hooked www.inthesaltflymag.com.au


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- we manage to land three out of the five uptight Triggerfish that gulp down our crab flies. In addition to Triggerfish we also catch three Yellowlip Emperors, a few Groupers, several unidentifiable coral fish, and a couple of solid Bonefish. With both Triggerfish and Bonefish on my scorecard today, Brandon suggests that we end off with half-an-hour’s worth of blind-casting with poppers for Giant Trevally. If all ends well, I could end up with an Indo-Pacific grand slam. Along a sandy flats bar with a relatively drastic drop off we’re now busy casting and retrieving our noisy NYAP poppers in the hopes of a redeeming strike. There’s plenty of small mullet and other baitfish around, so things look promising. It isn’t me, however, who suddenly experiences the violent burst and tug from a Giant Trevally. Ten minutes before our guided day session is over, Martin’s popper is brutally torn off the surface and he now feels the weight from a tenacious fish – one that he handles expertly, with full drag power, a low rod angle and maximum pressure. After having jubilantly landed the dirty-fighting brute of a Giant Trevally – and it’s approximately 25 lb frame has been photographed and released - I can’t help but mention how it’s a pity that Martin didn’t take time to catch a Bonefish earlier in the day. Then it would have been him who had managed a grand slam. Upon hearing this, Brandon interjects that we still have a couple of minutes on us, and that – although there are no Bonefish to be seen anywhere – Martin might as well try blind-casting a bit along the sand bar we’re on, while the boat is prepared for take off. www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

It seems like there’s no real point, but Martin gives it a shot nonetheless. And when he hooks up on the very first cast and shortly after lands a little Bonefish, we can hardly believe our own eyes. A small miracle has just happened! THE FOURTH DAY ARRIVES, and we’ve now gone into GT-mode. We see several of them - but out of casting range, and the blind fishing that we do only results in by-catches in the shape of Blue-Speckled Emperors, Garfish, Groupers, Brassy Trevally and Bluefin Trevally. The next day, where the winds have finally died down enough for us to fish the outer reefs, we continue chasing Giant Trevally - but once again they’re finicky. We see a couple passing through a tidal channel, but they’re gone before we ever manage to put a cast in. Later in the day, the tidal water comes gushing in over the outer reefs. We’re busy carefully scouring one of the flat faults when the perfect opportunity suddenly arrives. Three charcoal-black Giant Trevally - of which the fish in front is a true monster - unsuspectingly approach, and this time I manage to place a long cast ahead of them and let the fly sink a little. The suspense is almost unbearable as the fish get closer, and as I start the retrieve and speed up the fly it’s with a galloping heart and feverish hands. One of the two “smaller” fish, which are probably both around 4045lbs, resolutely chases after the fly in a state of blatant agitation – with flaring fins and flaming eyes, and 10 meters in front of me, it suddenly bursts forward and inhales the fly in an explosion of foam and water. In TheSaltwater 49


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I do as prescribed: I lower the rod tip, pull hard and resolutely on the fly line and start backing up to set the hook, but the fish just opens its bucket-sized mouth and spits the fly. In a state of pure, flustered over-agitation, my nervous hands have lost their grip on the fly line, and all my efforts to hook the fish have been in vain. And before I manage to put in another cast, the fish are gone! Beyond frustrated, I toss the fly rod scornfully into the water, and after having filled the air with all sorts of inappropriate curses and cuss words, I stand there completely disillusioned on the flat in total silence – with the taste of blood in my mouth, trembling nerves, a hoarse staccato-like breath and a heart that rages blindly behind the skeletal bars of my chest. IT’S WITH A SINKING HEART and a minimum of confidence that we begin our last day of fishing. Here, we focus on catching one of the gold bars of the flats – an Indo-Pacific Permit. These incredibly attractive and challenging fish

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often forage in the wake of big Stingrays, which dig for crustaceans on the sand flats. During the morning we’re fortunate enough to experience this phenomenon several times. I succeed in hooking one of these shrewd fish twice, and I’m connected with the latter for about 10 minutes before the fly suddenly – and without much cause or occasion – looses its hold. The disappointment is so intense that I feel like fainting. When, later in the day, the tides have gradually dried up- and exposed many of the sandy flats, there are no more Permit to be found, so we head for the outer reefs. Even though it’s still early in the season, and the sea is still relatively agitated, we can’t resist the temptation of locating a school of Alphonse Island’s mythical Milkfish – a nervous species of fish that look like over-dimensioned Mullets and fight harder and longer than any other fish. If we’re lucky, and the conditions are just right, it’s possible to trick these finicky, vegetarian fish into eating a fly.

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On this particular day, we’re fortunate enough to find a big school of Milkfish lazily cruising along a tidal seam that runs parallel to St. Francois’ western coral barrier. Our guide for the day, Wesley, shuts off the engine, jumps to the fore of the skiff with an oar, and gets us closer. Shortly after all hell breaks loose! I PLACE A CAST well ahead of the school and keep good contact with the green algae fly as the school passes. Shortly after, I feel a subtle tug on the line, and as I lift the fly rod, the fly line immediately starts gushing through the guides of my 10-weight fly rod. The fly reel now pitches in with a tormented, flanging squeal as the reel spool spins out of control and a raw amount of fluorescent orange backing cuts through the water surface and disappears into the ocean. Out of the corner of my eye - in a completely different direction than the one my backing has charted – I now see a giant, silvery fish in the vicinity of 50 lbs thrusting itself meter-high out of the water with the fly line dragging behind. It’s as if it’s suspended mid-air unnaturally long, and it isn’t until it collides with the water again - making a huge crater in a wave trough – that I realize that it’s the actual fish I’ve hooked. Several meter-high jumps later, and with a backlog of about 150 meters of backing, the pressure on the leader and the small hook become too great. The fly loses its grip in the fish’ soft mouth, and the battle is lost.

a fish of a much more manageable size than the previous ones - one that I fight for a long time – long enough to actually start believing that I’ll be able to land it. When I loose this fish, nothing much is capable of consoling me. Not even the guide’s well-meaning statistical offering when he states that only one in 10 hooked Milkfish are actually landed. Statistics don’t mean anything to a defeated and broken man! NOW THAT THE DAY IS OVER, the flats skiff is anchored up, and we’re on board the catamaran slowly headed towards Alphonse Island, a burning sense of failure – of having missed out on a unique opportunity – rages relentlessly inside me. And whilst my fingers minutely work their way across the keyboard as I write these passages – far away from the Seychelles in the cold North – the feeling comes to life again. But now it is diluted by the conciliatory bliss of time and distance - and of a deep-felt gratitude for having experienced such a heartbreakingly beautiful destination and such a unique and breathtakingly exciting fishery. The challenge no longer consists in mending my wounds but finding a way to plan and finance another trip to Alphonse Island and the St. Francois Atoll. I’m yearning to get back there with all my heart and soul, and I’m confident that I will regain what was lost there! Cont...Pg 56

This scenario repeats itself an additional three times, and the toughest blow comes when, late in the afternoon, I loose the last Milkfish of the day. It was www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

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Fact File

Alphonse Island & the Seychelles

Alphonse Island is situated in the Indian Ocean some 400 kilometres southwest of Mahé, which is the main island in the Seychelles. The island, which comprises an area of a mere 171 ha, is the home of an exclusive resort with a pool area, outdoor bar, full gourmet catering, and an array of super-comfortable private villas along the palm-strewn waterfront. The resort caters for up to 12 fortunate fly fishing guests – and in addition to being spoiled with service and cuisine in a league of its own, they are treated to some of the world’s best and most diverse tropical fishing.

that appear suddenly and unannounced along drop offs and reef formations. There are Bonefish enough to keep one plentifully entertained from morning till evening, but most people target either Giant Trevally or Permit. Or they’ll methodically sweep through promising areas, cover the water and cast at whatever presents itself – and that’s a lot!

If the impulse to go big game hunting should manifest itself, Alphonse Island also has the option of renting a charter boat. On it you can easily access deeper water and fish for Sailfish, Marlin, Tuna, Wahoo, Giant Trevally and much more. It is possible to fish on your own along Especially the Sailfishing is in a league of Alphonse Island’s flats with good results, its own and the same for the Wahoo and but the guided fishing takes place around Tuna fishing. the St. Francois Atoll, which offers varied hunting grounds in the form of flats, coral If you’re interested in booking a trip to reefs, tidal currents, and drop offs. You’re Alphonse Island, or some of the other transported to St. Francois on a catama- renowned Alphonse Fishing Co destinaran and will subsequently get on board tions in the Seychelles – including Cosone of the flats skiffs that are anchored moledo and Astove, send an email to: up there. Once there, you’ll find massive reservations2@alphonsefishingco.com schools of fully grown Bonefish, plenty of Indo-Pacific Permit, Triggerfish (YellowFor further information, be sure to check margin, Moustache and Picasso), Milkout these links: fish and Giant Trevally – in addition to http://www.alphonsefishingco.com Snappers, Bluefin Trevally, Brassy Trev- http://www.seychelles.travel/ ally, Groupers, Bonito, Parrotfish, Nurse Sharks and much, much more. A typical day at the St. Francois Atoll involves close combat encounters with Triggerfish along the coral reefs, quality shots at Golden Permit and nervous Milkfish on the flats in addition to chaotic intermezzos of foraging Giant Trevally 5 6 In TheSaltwater

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Permit tucker from the Pilbara flats. It is no surprise that crab flies with yellow highlights work well. Photo: Mark Davis

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Fact File

Transport & Logistics

The transportation to Alphonse Island is usually via Dubai to Mahé and Seychelles International Airport. Here, Emirates is an obvious choice, seeing as they have regular flights with appropriate arrival times in relation to the journey onwards: http://www.emirates.com/no/English/ Depending on your itinerary, you might experience a good deal of layover in Dubai International Airport, and it might therefore be a good idea to get some rest in the Dubai International Airport Hotel, which is conveniently located inside the departure terminal: https://www.dubaiintlhotels.com/ From the airport in Mahé you’ll continue your journey to Alphonse Island on a one hour IDC flight arranged by Alphonse Fishing Co. It departs from a hangar outside the International Airport, and getting there involves a five minute taxi ride.

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Fact File

Gear & Equipment Since the species diversity at Alphonse Island is quite overwhelming, you’ll need a versatile range of tropical fly rod-andreel setups. You’ll generally need a minimum of four setups: an #8WT setup for Bonefish and Triggerfish, a #10WT setup for Permit and Milkfish, and two #12WT setups for Giant Trevally – all of them pre-spooled with tropical floating lines. The reason why it’s a good idea to have an extra #12WT setup on you at all times is that it enables you to switch quickly between poppers and streamers when sight-fishing for Giant Trevally. Everything happens dizzyingly fast when fishing for Giant Trevally, and you have to make the most of each opportunity. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a second setup at hand, if you need to try a new fly – or if you’ve been blind casting with poppers, and a sight-casting opportunity suddenly arises you’re suitably prepared. Furthermore, Giant Trevallies are known for breaking rods, melting down drag systems and emptying backing reserves. In this regard, a backup #12WT setup is essential. While the gear required for Bonefish, Triggerfish, Milkfish and Permit is similar to that used elsewhere in the tropics, the gear needed for Giant Trevally is in its own league. Here, you’ll need the very best saltwater fly rods – like the Thomas & Thomas Exocett or Orvis Helios II in combination with a fly reel that can stop a span of wild horses - for instance a model out of this list: Nautilus NV Silver King, Einarsson, or Orvis Mirage. 6 0 In TheSaltwater

As life insurance during the utter mayhem and chaos of a Giant Trevally outburst you’ll need a minimum of 300 meters of 80 lb backing in combination with a specially designed fly line - such as Airflo’s 50 lb core Ridge Tropical GT fly line. The fly line is then linked to the fly via a two meter long 90 - 110 lb fluorocarbon tippet. It may sound completely out of proportion, but it is all due to the fact that a Giant Trevally needs to be treated with extreme strictness and pressure during the fight. Otherwise, they will run off and you’ll risk getting spooled or being cut off on coral bombies and other line severing subaqueous structures. The flies that are most commonly used at Alphonse Island are specifically designed and developed for the fishing here. Fulling Mill, in England, have launched a series of flies, which have been developed in close cooperation with the guides at Alphonse Island, and they can be found here: http://www.fullingmill.co.uk/ Alphonse Island’s Bonefish aren’t particularly picky, and they can be caught on traditional Bonefish flies like Crazy Charlie, Beck’s SiliLegs, Bonefish Bitter and Gotchas in sizes ranging from #10 #4. The Permit, however, are a chapter of their own. They’re typically caught on ultra-realistic crab- and shrimp imitations like the Alphonse Crab, Flexo Crab and Sand Prawn in sizes ranging from #2 - #8 fished on long (5m+) and thin (15 - 20lb) leaders. The Triggerfish are most effectively fished with smaller crab flies, which should be mounted with weed guards www.inthesaltflymag.com.au


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so they don’t snag on corals while retrieving them. And since Triggerfish are capable of biting hooks clean over they should be tied on the strongest hooks available. The Milkfish, which predominantly feed on algae and seaweeds, can be caught on pulsating lush-green flies such as Wayne’s Milky Magic - and then there’s the Giant Trevally! Giant Trevally are fished with either NYAP poppers or gnarly streamers tied on the strongest possible 6/0 – 8/0 saltwater hooks. They should be bulky, pulsating and have big, staring eyes – and it’s an advantage if they’re made out of materials that don’t suck in too much water. Among the local favourites are the Brush Fly, GT Mullet, Bus Ticket and Serge’s Wrasse. When it comes to wading equipment, clothing and such, you can pack like you normally would for similar tropical trips. Otherwise, Alphonse Fishing Company provides in-depth information about what to bring prior to the visit at Alphonse Island.

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Who wants a moustache ride? Photo: Rasmus Ovesen

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Rob Le Sueur with a beautful Alphose Permit Photo: Rasmus Ovesen

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MORSE WORDS BY JUSTIN WEBBER PHOTOS BY PETER MORSE

CODE

THE MAN BEHIND THE LEGEND

We were lucky enough to catch Peter Morse on one of his legendary fly casting clinic road trips to discuss life, food and of course fly fishing.

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HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?

a bit of that rubbed off on me, so that’s how I think I got to where I am.

“Where am I today?” Peter laughs loudly – “a lot of work”. I get asked that reasonably often by young fellows who want to make a living and make fly fishing their life. I guess journalism is something I have always done, a lot of people don’t realize but I wrote my first magazine articles in the 80’s for Fishing World, learnt to take photographs and started writing a really long time ago because I really wanted to, I wanted to write about fishing.

The TV stuff in the 90’s was a different thing, I just clicked with John Haenke and I guess the Wildfish series was a big thing and that allowed me to get out of whatever else I was doing, it was a good launch pad. I guess you could say there was an element of luck but standing in front of a camera doesn’t bother me, I can talk in front of a camera I don’t get phased by it. I always took the view of it being like talking to a friend, I talked right down the barrel of the camera or like I was talking to the person behind the camera I guess I had that naturally, so I was very fortunate in that the television series was very successful but the other thing that happened there is that I knew someone at SBS who commissioned programs, you know and you get little lucky breaks in life like that and you make the most of them!

My background was actually the wine industry and being drunk for a living, although it had a little bit of appeal, was not a long-term proposition and I really just wanted to fish. I had grown up fishing and I really wanted to work out some way of making a living from it. I worked hard at my writing, I read a great deal, I read the other day that if you want to write a book you need to read a 1000 books. I am a very avid reader on all sorts of subjects. Read, learn how to write, do writing courses, learn how to take good photos, do photography courses; you’ll learn more by doing a weekend course, like for example a fly casting course. In doing things like that your skills will bloom and your knowledge will grow exponentially. Go fishing LOTS and work hard at it, aim to become the best at it that you can be - why settle for anything less? Robert Huges wrote a great essay on elitism and elitism for him is simply trying to be the best that you can possibly be and not settling for mediocrity and you know a lot of people have a problem with that but certainly in fly casting I want to be the best teacher I can be. Maybe becoming the best caster around is not possible these days because the young guys have so much information and they are starting young, they have the hand eye coordination, so you know, there’s some great young casters around. Becoming the best teacher you can be, you know these are all the things that I’ve aimed to do. I used to work for a guy named Len Evans in the wine industry and he was a great elitist, who always said, “never ever, ever, ever drink crap wine,” don’t waste whatever you can do in your life on crap or garbage, do the best you can possibly do. I guess www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

HOW DID YOU GET INTO FLY FISHING? That’s a good story. My father and my grandfather were both fly fisherman. My grandfather ran a hatchery for the Central Acclimatization Society just west of the Blue Mountains and he was a World War I veteran and I guess they looked after a lot of guys like him. He ran this hatchery in a place called Burraga. I have a photo of my father when he was about 12 I suppose, with a fly rod in his hand and when he died I inherited a Hardy Palakona split cane rod with a Hardy Perfection reel and a silked fly line that had sat on the reel for 20 years. I picked this thing up and was “Oh shit, I like that” I think there’s a gene, I really do, I think there’s a fly fishing gene and at that point that gene kicked in! I started casting and I taught myself initially. I pretty quickly realized that the rod and line was crap, it had just seen better days. I went to a good shop in Sydney and bought a Hardy Jet which was a fiberglass rod, a D.A.M reel and a Scientific Anglers Aircell line and I just started learning how to cast. I lived in Cremorne and walked down to the oval right at the bottom of the bay every evening, I don’t know how many stairs there were, I started casting and casting and casting. Then I met a fellow named Gordon Dunlop, Gordie’s still around, he was a taxi

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driver at the time studying accountancy at night and ended up working for Fairfax. Gordon was a great student of fly casting, he had a book by a fella called Lefty Kreh that was full of notes and annotations and studying the pages they were thumbed and worn. He had a boat and I went fishing with Gordon and the first day he pulled out this Rodon Bore cast rod with a…I forget what the reel was, but it had a shooting head on it and he threw the fucking thing so far, suddenly I went “WOW” my universe just exploded. Gordon was a big influence on me early on, we used to cast together and fish together a lot too. By then the gene had really kicked in, I do believe that some of us just can’t help it, “we just can’t help it!!” WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER HOBBIES? Reading, reading I do a great deal of but also rugby, rugby union. I grew up in Fiji and packed into my first scrum when I was about five; hooker. I played it all through boarding school. I guess for me it’s a distraction from everything else talking fishing. You know I avoid staying with people who fish a lot because I have had all those conversations but I’ll sit and talk to you about rugby or history. I guess I’m a history buff, specific history, Napoleonic wars, recently WWI but the big events in history and I’ll read all around them. I really enjoy reading, you know you learn a lot about the world and life by reading good histories. I read a lot of novels too, I read several books a week. I’ve got a library in my van that I’m working my way through I’ve just got a lot that I found in a second-hand book shop a month or so ago a huge collection of Hemmingway’s journalism a big volume I didn’t even know there was a book like that. So, you know I make my way through it and fly fishing pops up in it, all sorts of things pop up. So, I’m really interested in literature, writing and history and that kind of stuff. And rugby. There’s Ying and Yang thing happening there, and fly fishing is right in the middle it’s got both aspects to it, the physical and the mental. And cooking, I LOVE FOOD, love food, good food, good food especially, good wine sitting www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

around a table with good people and with good food and people who appreciate good wine, I love that. My wife is French and we both cook, my eldest son’s wife is a chef, my youngest son is a chef, so we’ve got this whole food thing going on throughout the family. Good food and good wine are some of the great parts of living, they certianly are. I can’t stand the notion that food is just fuel, just body fuel, it’s so much more than that. DO YOU HAVE MAN CAVE? Oh shit, I’ve got one of the best ones in the world! Friends walk into my man cave and go “HOLY SHIT” (I’ll send you a photo ha ha) it’s a beauty, it’s a real beauty! 25 rods across the roof, book shelves, magazines, there’s 50 fly lines hanging up, just shit everywhere. There’s awards and photos, it’s a pretty cool man cave. It doesn’t have a beer fridge, I just don’t have room for a beer fridge. It doesn’t have a arm chair, I’d love an armchair in there so I could read in there. Its got all my fly tying gear in there (sighs) yeah it’s a beauty. CHEESE AND WINE OR RUM AND CIGARS? I guess that goes without saying Cheese and Wine. WHO’S YOUR BIGGEST FRIEND IN FLY FISHING? Hmmm my biggest friend in fly fishing…. I guess Alan Philliskirk the grumpy old bastard ha ha ha yeah Fish Philliskirk, Fish and I go back a long, long way back to I guess 1988. He hadn’t even fly fished at that stage and he was living on Groote Island and I went up and I spent a couple weeks and a guy named Raz Reid came out from the US. Raz is an ex professional tennis player and a bloody good fly fisherman and he’s actually the SAGE rep for South East US Florida he’s their man down there Florida, North and South Carolina etc. So Raz came out, I met Raz at Rod Harrison’s place on Briby Island he was down here to catch a Black Marlin. He said he wanted to come down and fish. Fish at that stage wanted to learn how to fly fish so Raz and I went up and stayed with Fish up on Groote and Fish

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and I have been very good mates ever since. In fact I am going up to stay with him in a couple of weeks in Weipa. He’s a guy that doesn’t need any real introduction. I operate in a fairly small fishing circle, I try to separate work and my fishing mates. I have a whole bunch of guys, too many to name, that I call friends and these are guys who I really want to fish with. We were talking about this yesterday on the boat, when I was with Adam Mcloflin and Neil Cunnington, about who you want to fish with and who you want to learn stuff from. You don’t want to be out there having your brain sucked out all day because I do that when I am teaching. When I am teaching I am there 100% but when I’m on the boat I want to fish. I really like to observe other really good anglers in action and what they are doing. We talked about that, you know they were watching what I was doing and I was watching what they were doing and we were all watching but no one was asking any questions. So, the air space on the boat is not taken up with conversation or interrogation or whatever we’re just fishing, learning by observation and those are the guys I like to fish with. I have a great story of fishing with my step-son and two of his mates in Weipa quite a few years ago. We hired a boat, a nice big Grady White, up there and because I had guided and worked up there for a number of years I took them fishing. From the FIRST moment we woke up in the morning the questions started, they were just… just…and one of them used to have six short blacks before he went fishing and the questions were just going, going, going! Third day and we’re heading out and the questions are firing at me, “what are we going to catch today?”, “what fly?”, “what about my leader?”,” how’s my casting?” blah blah blah…I turned the boat off, “SHUT THE F@#K UP! No more questions. You’ve got two questions a day each and they include, would you like a beer?” just shut up and fish, just enjoy the fishing. That’s become a great joke between me and my mates… JUST SHUT UP AND FISH! A lot of guys who I fish with are superb anglers and I want to fish with them because I want to learn what they are seeing. I can read a trout stream and lake but then you get guys who are

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real specialists like for example Simon Chu in New Zealand, the guy is just a wizard an absolute wizard and those are the guys I want to fish with. You end up catching far more fish and you learn so much in that process. Observe and learn. Just shut up and observe, you don’t need to ask questions. Questions for me sort of break the spell, I call it the Cormorant Zone, where like you’ve got to catch these fish to survive (which you don’t have to) but that’s how a Cormorant works and you’re just doing this the most efficient way you possibly can. I call it the Cormorant Zone and conversation just breaks all of that process, chitter-chatter, gossip. JUST SHUT UP AND FISH! WHAT’S THE MOST MEMORABLE FISH YOU NEVER CAUGHT? Oh dear…. I wrote about it in my book A Few Great Flies. It was a monster Bonefish. New Caledonia, 15 plus pounds…. (gulps) I didn’t hook it if that’s what you mean... Coming straight at me, so big it had its own school of little Queenfish with it, put the fly out, Bone’s approaching, see it accelerate, little Queenfish shoots out and grabs the fly. I didn’t see the Queenies there they were all sort of following it. Tighten on the Queenie, didn’t strike, I knew it was the Queenie, just held it, held it. The Bone’s turned he’s following the contour, turned across the front of me and I’ve just tightened on the Queenfish and held it. When the Bone’s got out of range, not casting range, but out of visual range I popped the Queenfish, caught it, it was 10 inches long, caught it under my arm, pulled the hook out, dropped it got a going away shot at the Bone but it was too late then I felt this warm stickiness and realized this Queenfish had spiked the hell out of me. So that’s a fish that really, really sticks in my mind. That was a bloody special fish. It was a monster, big single, big green back, when I think back a full nine inches, a full hands width across the back. That thing was coming straight towards me bright green…oh man that thing was a donkey! It haunts me to this day.

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TOP FLY FISHING QUOTES?

DO YOUR KIDS FISH?

• Shut up and fish. • Make the first cast count. • Become the best caster you can possibly be. • Buy well and buy once, even if it means waiting longer. • All fish, all waters. • I’ve never caught a bad fish. (except maybe that damn little Queenfish ha ha)

No neither of my boys took up fishing. My eldest son lives in Townsville, he’s a very keen bow hunter. My youngest son lives in London, he has a rod and a reel and has gone fishing a few times. I suspect they were both pretty good casters as kids, I suspect they have the gene, but it was so overwhelmingly my thing, they should have gone fishing with other people. I think we can kill it for our kids because dads neh neh neh well I was as a dad anyway neh neh neh expecting perfection from kids. Don’t do it, they just want to bend rods and have fun. Give them bait, they’ll come around to fly fishing eventually if they want to. Some don’t want to. I think fly fishing, there is this big thing to introduce kids to fly fishing and I was at the Fly Fishers International Conclave in Montana this year and the big talk was about bringing kids into fly fishing, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

ARE YOU A BELIEVER “IT ONLY COUNTS ON FLY”? Yes, I only fish fly, that’s all I’ve done for years. It defines me. WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE LOCATIONS TO FISH AROUND THE WORLD? New Caledonia No question of that but it’s bloody tough. Fortunately, I have a French wife and she has relatives over there so that does help. I have old friends there from Fiji days, so I do have some connection there so that does make visiting New Cal a bit easier. It’s just the size of the Bonefish and the French culture, it’s a pretty special place. It’s the whole package. There’s a bit of crazy politics. I have been chased down by a machete wielding local who though it was his flat. But you know that’s the way it is. Exmouth Exmouth is a superb fishery for flats, reef, blue water, dredging, whatever you want to do. Weipa Weipa is an incredibly hard place to beat just for the variety, the numbers of fish, the fact that the wind blows off shore. I was talking to Alan Philliskirk the other day he’s lost two days to weather in 17 years. Because there’s creeks and rivers, there’s the big lee shore, the huge range of species its sort of been overwhelmed a little over the last 10 years. Everyone goes to Christmas Island their annual trip is Christmas Island. Christmas Island is pretty special, but you know as Aussies they are missing out on a huge slab of amazing fishing by not visiting Weipa, it’s a very special place. www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

“OH SHIT, I’VE GOT ONE OF THE BEST ONES IN THE WORLD! “ Fly fishing is something we take up later in life when we have the maturity and the money. Some kids do it like young Jarad Boshammer. There were a couple of kids at the show and I’ve seen young Kyle who’s itching to go fly fishing, he’s eight years old. So there’s some kids with the gene and there are some that it’s going to emerge much later in life they’ve been through the childhood, they’ve been through the adolescence, they’ve been through the booze and the fast cars and the girls and then they settle down and they discover fly fishing. I don’t think we should panic about numbers coming into fly fishing, I think there’s always plenty there. You hear from fishing clubs oh you know everyone there is really old well that’s mostly fly fisherman. It’s something we do when we mature, and we can accept the challenges that this is not an easy path, this is frustrating and

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difficult and if we want to catch more fish well then get a prawn and put it on a hook.

just shut up and fish and learning from each other “on the job” as it were.

But we’re mature enough to take on the challenges and I think, yes, it’s nice to have kids in fly fishing but they will never be the core fly fishing community. Generally, from what I see on my casting days is guys and ladies in their 30’s. That seems to be the age where the community is growing.

In casting terms there’s a whole group in the IFFF and I respect the work that they have done to improve the fly casting internationally. I’d put Paul Arden in there as well as a bunch of European fly casters who have done so much to lift the standard of fly casting around the world and as a group I admire them. Hard to single out anyone in particular. All those people who want to throw better, better loops, I guess they are my heros. People who aren’t prepared to settle for being mediocre, mediocrity sucks!

IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ONE FLY FOR SALTWATER, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY? It’s got to be a Clouser hasn’t it, tan and white, yellow and white…does it? No, I fish crabs a lot these days, I don’t need to catch another Tuna. I do really enjoy my flats fishing and in the salt, it’s got to be one of Scott Sparnon’s Sparwolf Crabs. He ties beautiful flies and I buy them from him and that’s what I fish with a lot of the time. It’s like an Avalon, it’s got the beads on the bottom, it was developed between him and Brett Wolff in Exmouth and it’s a killer fly and yeah, I’d probably tie that on in most situations most of the time. If I was fishing for reasonable size pelagic’s and Mackerel are a fish I love catching I generally fish a Bucktail Deceiver. Clousers, I don’t tie them on much these days because I’m often trying to avoid fish that eat Clousers. Now I know that sounds terribly snobbish but I’m at that point where I don’t need to catch everything that swims I’ve been there and done that. I’m quite relaxed these days to sit back and take photos provided there are good anglers on board. WHO WERE THE GUYS YOU LOOKED UP TO IN YOUR EARLY DAYS? Rod Harrison was a big influence to a lot of us in the early days. Rod played a big part of developing fly fishing in this country. Lefty obviously, Lefty Kreh, we devoured everything he wrote. I did a lot of fishing with mates who were on the same sort of level and we just fished hard and there was no one who really showed us to much we just fished hard and worked it out. There weren’t a lot of people around doing it, I’m talking 70’s and 80’s, so it was a case of

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HOW OFTEN DO YOU GET TO GO FISHING THESE DAYS? Not as much as I’d like to. I probably fish around 60-70 days a year, a few years ago it was up over 200 but these days I’m a little more specific on what I do. I do a fair bit of Carp fishing, I really enjoy that going out into the bush. I spend a fair bit of time on the South Island of New Zealand every year. I go to Exmouth annually and then try to get to go Bone fishing somewhere every year in New Caledonia. I try to fill in the gaps with fishing here and there. I try to do these tours while I’m fly casting and do a bit of fishing on the way, meeting people and it’s been great. YOUR PARTING PEARL OF WIDSOM Become the best caster you can be. Shut up, fish, listen, don’t tell people about all the fish you have caught it’s so boring. I know you’re itching to tell everyone about the latest Queenie you’ve caught but don’t keep a lot of it to yourself. Target anything and everything. Become all ears, you can’t listen while you’re talking, listen to those who have more experience and chase everything and absorb everything. Many times, in my life I wish I had shut up and listened rather than talked, because thinking back, that was an opportunity missed all I wanted to do was tell this guy about all the stupid little fish I’d caught when he could have told me so much more than I could ever tell him.

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There’s a saying a Sage, Marc Bale, who’s the head of sales at Sage when they introduced the warranty program, and everyone was sending him little descriptions on how they’d broken their rods, “jammed caught in car door”, “broken while landing fish” blah blah blah. Mark sends this memo to everyone he said. “I don’t want to hear how you actually broke it, make up a good story.” “You were fighting off a bear, you were fighting off a machete” just make it interesting! You can’t listen while you’re talking. WHATS YOUR FAVORITE SPECIES TO TARGET? #1 BARRAMUNDI, No question. I really, really enjoy being up tight mangrove systems in the Northern Territory and fishing for Barra. Barra is still my number one. #2 BONEFISH, #3 PERMIT, #4 TROUT and it goes on from there. IN YOUR OPINION WHERE HAS FLY FISHING GONE WRONG AND WHAT HAVE WE DONE RIGHT? I don’t know that it’s gone wrong anywhere, I know that there’s been an awful lot of clashes between ego’s and you could say that’s pretty wrong all of it. But when you read histories and you read the outright hatred the allied generals had for each other in World War II, fashion designers, chefs so many people from the same walk of life it’s just jealousy and there’s a lot of that in fly fishing and I don’t think it’ll ever change. We’re all standing on the back of others and some people think they invented the sport but we all know it has a long long history. I like to think that there are little pockets of fly fishing around the country where people are doing some really unique and special things. The Kurratha guys for example, some bloke in Port Headland who’s the only fly fisher there who’s discovering shit and tying flies from whatever materials he’s got, that’s catching stuff if we knew about it our eyes would be popping out of our head. Harks back to Ron Pearson a sort of father of fly fishing, saltwater fly fishing in Australia and his days in the Kimberly he had a fly tying vice welded to the bulbar of his Land Cruiser and he used to get Cocky chicks out of nests and tie flies out of them. So he was doing unique stuff and I like to think there’s lots

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of that going on around the country but don’t turn around and think you’ve invented the sport. You’ve contributed something special to it, but you haven’t invented the sport. We’re all standing on the back of giants who have gone before us. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST WHATS ON THE HORIZON FOR PETER MORSE? Son’s wedding in Scotland this year. I’m actually working on my two-handed instructor certification at the moment I’m testing in October this year. That’s been a hell of a journey learning to handle the big spey rods. I’d like to become an instructors’ instructor so teach other instructors which I’ve done a bit of and just to become the best instructor I can possibly be. As far as species is concerned I really want to get that annul fix of Bonefish, don’t we all! Spending some time in New Zealand with my friends working on my light double handed casting #4WT stuff fishing three flies a tungsten bead head on the point with two light soft hackles and absolutely slaying them. It’s not new but its new to me and I’m loving it. I really want a Striped Marlin, I’m a bit of a species hunter I’ve got over 300 now and Striped and Blue Marlin are not on that list, so I’d really like to add them. Really want that Stripey! If you take fly fishing life as collecting species like bird watchers, you’ll always have something to aim for. In Scotland I have a contact to get on the Avon river and I am so excited to hopefully catch my first European Grayling and maybe a Pike. There are always goals I set myself and I’m going to keep chasing them! I really want that Striped Marlin ha ha ha!

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Maori Sea Perch are tough fighters on fly! Photo: Peter Morse

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CXI Bonefish, always hungry Photo: Andrew Mckinstray

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Critical fly selection Photo: FlyCastaway

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“Whassup Bro?”

SUPPING WITH A DIFFERENCE

Antti Vappula from Vision Fly Fishing takes us through some useful steps when first trying fly fishing from a SUP Words & Images by Antti Vappula

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“SUP BOARD AMONG BLOKES IN SPEEDOS &

CHICKS IN BIKINIS!

ES-YUU-PI Stand-Up-Paddle boarding, commonly known as Supping, is a popular sight along beaches almost everywhere under the sun. Exploring, Sup-yoga, Surfing and SupBall are all different formats of utilising a SUP board among blokes in Speedos and chicks in bikinis. But fly fishing on them? It sure gives an angler massive advantage on saltwater flats or estuaries. Here paddles in a few points and things to consider before stepping onto your board!

DIFFERENT BOARDS There are various types of boards which all serve a purpose. Let’s leave out the ones that are solely made for wave surfing, as their capacity rarely holds you and the board still enough for casting, for they are made more to carve a turn while travelling at high speed. However, the shape of the board can be easily used as a rule of thumb similar to surfboards. The more narrow gun-shaped board you have, the faster and more effortless it is to paddle for distance, but it lacks in balance due the narrow width, especially when floating still. The wider the board, the better it is suited for an angler who still needs to find his/her balance point when launching that 90ft cast from a wobbly surface.

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For most of us who have to travel or fly to fish, an inflatable board is a must, as it normally folds into a backpack alongside of the extendable paddle and air pump. If you live by the flats or have a roof rack, go for the fibreglass/epoxy boards. Inflatable ones are often more vulnerable to wind with their greater thickness. When it comes to size, this time it really does matter. The volume (length X width X thickness) of the board is what floats you and your gear. Specifics of the volume equation effect how steady or balanced your platform is. Some inflatable/exploring boards come with a sort of trimaran setup with separate pontoons on each side, making it nicely suitable to put things like your rods on the deck without worrying about them rolling off. Detachable fins are good to click in place as they have an impact both on the straight glide of your board when switching from a paddle to a rod, as well as reducing the board’s sideways movement under forward progress.

ON THE DECK Less is more when it comes to the stuff you should carry with you to avoid extra hassle during your adventure. You will quickly find your own routine with respect to how to www.inthesaltflymag.com.au


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paddle, where to stand, and what to do when you spot a fish. When you have found your balance and are comfortable in paddling, a good way to quickly turn the board around for a nicer casting direction is to either paddle normally as well as backhanded or use a broad sideways stroke from in front of the board if you can reach it. Also, a step or two back towards your rear fin lifts the board’s nose from the water and allows the board to turn around on itself. Try to avoid big steps when moving around, and always give yourself at least a shoulder width of stance. Keeping your knees bent lowers your centre of gravity, and gives you more balance, especially if you are paddling for distance. The paddle (if extendable) should be adjusted so that you can barely reach the grip while standing on the ground with your arm up high. Practise you casting in places where you can easily jump off in waist- deep water if you lose your balance. Playing with fish is always better while wading, just make sure you remember to attach the leash as well as check the depth before catapulting overboard.

FOR GEAR JUNKIES Let’s cover a few gadgets that might help you on the flats, just keep in mind you have to be comfortable to have all these on board as aids to help you, rather than as dead weight. It’s always a compromise! ANCHOR: Any rock or a bottle of sand will do, you just need to be able to kick it off the deck for fishing when needed. STRIPPING BASKET: a waist/belt model will leave more room on your deck and will follow you no matter which way you cast. LEASH: Only take it with you if the conditions allow. A rubber band or a spring reduces the cord on your deck, as long as it holds the board’s weight. STRINGS ACROSS: Good for extra gear, rods, drinks etc. Look for slim attachments and avoid hooks that can cause your line to tangle. ROD HOLDER: A vital piece of equipment as you often have only a blink of an eye to drop your paddle, grab your rod and make a cast. Attach it either on your vest, stripping basket or

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to the board itself. PADDLE HOLDER: As above unless you just want to drop the paddle to the deck. FLY MAGNET: A handy gadget to ensure your fly isn’t tangled or piercing you or the board when its ‘go time’. ESKY: Needless to explain this. Take it if there is room, take two to keep your beer drinking mates happy. LEAN BAR: Some sturdier SUP’s come with a similar lean bar to those found on flats boats. Definite advantage in casting but clumsy when travelling.

WHY & WHEN? Everyone who has fished In The Salt knows that the day’s conditions often favour certain types of fishing tactics like wading, boating or fishing from the bank. So, there is a place and time for SUP- fishing too. Clear advantages are that you simply get to fish places that would have been inaccessible before - sometimes too deep to wade, sometimes too shallow or reefy for a boat. You do cover more water on a SUP day than while wading, and another advantage is you get to move quieter than when you’re in a motorized boat. Compared to a person wading in waist deep water, one solid advantage is the increased visibility you get when standing more than a metre higher on your board. The disadvantages come when currents, swells, tides and wind come to play, but they have always been trying to ruin our good day out anyway. Be constantly aware of these factors when you’re out, as we can all get carried away when the fish is on and a long paddle back up against the wind or a current is not ideal. That’s if you don’t have an esky full of refreshments and time to wait for another incoming tide! Wait for another incoming tide!

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Finding your balance is not easy on your first go. Add a few choppy waves, a beer or two and your rushed three second window to cast to a spotted fish gets most of us submerged. Here are few usable basic exercises you can do in your backyard, on the beach or in the front of the telly with minimal equipment. Although we all know the phrase “beer builds better bodies� there is a huge benefit to giving your core muscles a wake-up call and improving your balance.

TRAINING EXERCISES FOR SUPPING

CORE/BALANCE

CORE/BALANCE TRAINING

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3

Plank/one leg plank / side plank: way to exercise your core while wat Try to better your planking times by and see how far you can go. Make butt is aligned with the rest of your b

5

Superman: A nice workout for b and strength. Take an exercise belly to ease it off a bit. Opposit simultaneously.

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up exercise, make sure your Step-turn (Swiss ball, stick or a towel): a good warm above a 90-degree angle. back leg/knee is aligned, and front stepping knee stays

2

Plank to pike/crunch/one-leg plank/side-k ick: A great overall exercise for your deep core mus cles. Look for suitable variations, add a pus h-up in between moves to give that upper body som e pump.

A great tching TV. y 5s / day sure your body.

4

ercise to improve your One leg squat: Good ex ll as your balance. Find lower body strength as we or put something under a slightly downhill surface epen the movement. your heel to ease and de

both balance ball under your te arm & leg

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A healthy slab of Bonefish. Photo: Antti Vappula

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©Stephan Gian Dombaj

pass me some

sea saLT

.COM

AUS & NZ DiStribUtioN: Kickelly P/L Email: antti.vappula@visiongroup.fi | tel.:+61 4020 51759

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THE

FLY BOX FLIES BY

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Popovics Bead Minnow Bob Popovics is the most innovative fly tyer in the world today. The thing I like about Bob Popovics is that he seems to do all the same styles of flyfishing that we attempt to do here in South East Queensland. From chasing tuna with small baitfish imitations on open water, to fly casting off a surf beach, Bob seems to be in our own back yard. Many fly tyers change one or two things on a fly and proclaim they have discovered a new fly and name it after themselves, not Bob Popovics. He developed new techniques based around a whole new range of tying materials. He called his range of new creations ‘Pop Fleyes’. His most famous ‘Pop Fleye’ was of course the Surf Candy. His aim was to develop a ‘no fouling’ and indestructible fly that accurately matched the baitfish his fish were feeding on. His early candies were a little rough, just like our first attempt at copying his pattern, but like Bob Popovics as soon as we got our head around the fact we could control the sag and drip of the epoxy our Candies became works of art just like Bob’s. The ‘Pop Fleye’ patterns he developed have a beautiful simplicity to them, which anybody can easily copy and fish successfully.

the fly. This can be achieved by tying eyes on the hook or, like Bob and others have done, by putting a bead right behind the eye of the hook. The reality is the further forward you put the weight the more the fly will head dip with the use of less weight. The less weight used in the construction of a fly the more the materials are allowed to move and do what they are supposed to do. If the weight added to a fly makes it sink to the bottom like a stone, it will probably have the same reaction from the fish as throwing a stone at it. The other interesting attention to detail that Popovics has used is to add a small amount of bucktail into the fly’s construction. Bucktail is honeycombed internally and therefore has air trapped inside each hair and with the Bucktail toward the back of the fly, the slightly buoyant material will lift the back of the fly and help increase the speed at which the fly will head dip. Making this a very simple fly that is quite complex in its action. Typical ‘Pop Fleye’ characteristics. Brilliant. So, let’s get to it and tie one!

I wasn’t surprised when I discovered a cute little Bonefish fly created by Bob called ‘Bead Minnow’. What is interesting about this fly is its simplicity of construction and the way Bob addressed the issue of the head dip action on a fly. Bonefish flies are made to drop onto the bottom during the pause while stripping 1 02 In TheSaltwater

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Popovics Bead Minnow As tied by Capt. Gavin Platz Step 1 - Fit a Gold bead to hook.

Step 2 - Wrap Mylar Tinsel on shank of hook.

Step 6 - Wind two wraps of Estaz around the tie in point.

Step 7 - Tie off & glue

Step 3 - Tie in 6 st Flash behind the b

This amazing little the surf and estua tates small Glass but I thought it loo should tie a few a Have fun tying.

Gavin

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w

MATERIALS Hook Thread Head Body Wing Collar

Tiemco TMC 811S #2, #4, #6 Flat waxed nylon Gold Bead to suit hook Mylar Tinsel Mirage Pearl Krystal Flash & Bucktail Estaz

trands of Krystal Step 4 - Tie in a small clump of bucktail white. bead.

Step 5 - Tie in a small clump of Bucktail Tan.

e Bonefish fly has been one of my favourites, not just for Bones but really for anything in aries of the Sunshine Coast. Bream, Dart and Flathead love them. Bob says the fly imis Minnows and some members of the shrimp family. I don’t know what it really represents oked good, so I started tying them and fishing them successfully everywhere. Maybe you and try them for yourself.

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Punching it out into the wind. Photo: Rasmus Ovesen

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R

E T IT F T U O G IN H IS F Y L F R E T A W T L A S T IS L IA C E P S Y AUSTRALIA S ONL ‘

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PRIL V YTER & A O R A IN T IS

OKEY

! U O Y S A E T A N IO S S A P S IS A O H W E N O E M O S M O R F E IC V D A D N A R A E G R U O Y ET ‘

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FIND US AT

BE GUIDED BY CPT. GAVIN PLATZ ◦ Saltwater & tropical Freshwater Fly Fishing Specialist ◦ FFFcasting instructor ◦ Hardy Pro Staff ◦ Tuna, Mackerel, Billfish & Saratoga

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◦ ◦ ◦ ◦

Sunshine Coast & Harvey Bay Christmas Island Bonefish and GT trips Purpose Built 6.7 tri-hull in-shore boat 4.5m impoundment dory

Shop 1A 8 Point Cartwright Dr Buddina Beach QLD 4575

P. 07 5444 0611 E. flyshop@tienfly.com

W. www.tienfly.com

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A stonker Tassie Bream Photo: Peter Morse

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Beauty in the eye of the beholder! Photo: Chris Bygrave

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Tan Lines & TRIGGERS

TAKE A JOURNEY TO CHRISTMAS ISLAND WITH FLY ENTHUSIAST ANDREW MCKINSTRAY An international fly fishing trip as a first may come across as odd, but my thought process worked otherwise. With only a few ever fly orientated experiences and a species list I can still count on one hand what better way to experience the fruits of fly labour than to visit some of the best flats in the world. Words & Photos by Andrew McKinstray

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rmed with the only #6WT I owned, some borrowed gear and a bought box of flies, I was set. Off we travelled on a guided trip by Brett Habener to CXI for seven days at Ikari House. With no recollection of boarding my flight I was in a for a real treat. I started my trip with a long bumpy van ride with no aircon to Ikari. Four of the boys had been to CXI prior and some had even done multiple trips. For three of us this was our first time seeing the island, catching our first glimpse of white sandy (shelly) beaches and the crystal clear water, really set the mood. Everyone seemed equally effected as when we arrived it was a frantic rush to unload rod tubes, tie leaders and get ready. An early morning arrival at Kiribas meant after our travels and some lunch we were able to fish an afternoon session. I armed with my BCF reef booties, #6WT rod, some sun smart clothing and 15 flies. Off I went for my first taste of some salty flats. Being that I had NO clue what on earth I was doing, NO idea how to tie tapered leaders and NO idea how to cast into the wind, this was definitely the most nerve racking time of the trip. I fished with a guide also named Andy, Andy didn’t talk much but he did have very good eyes. This really helped as I was struggling to pick out fish, he made life much easier since as at least he could point in a direction and I could attempt to punch a fly into the wind until he said drop it. Mathew Scholz literally fished within yelling distance this whole www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

session and I watched him pluck Bone after Bone in a small channel running off the flat while I struggled really hard to put a fly within range. After watching me struggle for God knows how long my guide kindly said “Can I help you?” I replied “I thought you would never ask.” Andy showed me a far easier and effective manor of casting into the wind and it changed the pace of the day dramatically. Within a few sightings of fish I had done it, I had hooked my first Bonefish, my first saltwater fly fish in fact and it was such a rewarding feeling! After that I felt like my walking / stalking on the flats turned into a triumphant strut. On this day we fished well into the afternoon, as I don’t think anyone actually wanted to stop fishing. The boat was off the edge of a deeper more rocky flat waiting for us. We were all scattered around the flat, so myself and the guide decided to slowly make our way over to the boat with Craig Bonnor not far behind us. As we did my guide says “Trigger fish!” and points ahead of us while stopping me from moving any further. I spot a colourful orange tail waving in the air with a fish very happily feeding underneath it. I don’t even know what fly I had on but Brett definitely tied it! I put a cast in toward the fish his tail instantly disappeared and so did my ability to strip. I couldn’t actually believe the first Trigger I ever got to do a shit cast to, ate my fly. I set the hook as hard as I could and just started running backward full speed (I have seen this move in fly fishing videos) I managed to land my first Trigger, on the first day even to my guides disbelief and even more so In TheSaltwater 11 7


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to Brett Habener’s. He had been on a seven trip Trigger dry spell and young Macca over here comes and gets one on his first trip and first cast on Bretts fly ha ha! Beginners luck, it certainly wasn’t skill. Catching fish on day one was a massive confidence boost, but I was still very unsure as to how the rest of the trip would pan out as I struggled hard and really had to put in work. The question arose at the drinks table that evening around rod weight preference and I heard that not many of the boys bothered taking a #6WT because of the wind, so I borrowed an #8WT and was set to use that the next day.

“SCREAMING STRIP, STRIP, STRIP!” Again I guess this is why knowing or having some experience in fly fishing would have been handy because my casting the next day improved dramatically. I even had one of the guides say “your casting is fine, you just can’t aim,” nothing like putting a fly on a Trigger’s head 10-15 times in a session to the point the guide starts laughing before my fly even hits the water. Pete was a great guide and very patient with me. I’m sure I would be one of the least capable casters he had ever worked with but we did our thing and come the end of the trip he was really stoked with how my fishing progressed and said “Next time you will be even better, as you eyes will be better.” www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

I did a lot of fishing with Mathew Scholz and I would take the appointed guide and he would wander off on his own and do his thing off to the side of us most days. I was with a guide named Pete walking the edge of a flat to look for Triggers. Pete was carrying Mat’s #12WT so Mat could chase Bones on the long walk down the flat, and boy was I glad he did. He pulled me up really quickly and pointed 12 O’clcok 40ft, GT’s and I mean GT’s ranging from 15-25 kgs. Without even asking he was stripping line off the reel prepping for me to take a shot. This would be my first time ever casting a #12WT with a big fly tied on. I worked hard to get the fly moving and the line out of the water and somehow managed to put the fly somewhere within 15 feet of the fish, and the second the fly hit the water the fish lit up and charged at the fly. Pete was screaming “STRIP STRIP STRIP” and I came tight to a fish as the rest of the pack all shot off the flats. Pete said “Small one ate it!” A smaller fish of about 5-6kg beat the three big black dogs to the fly. I was however, still very stoked. Pete asked if I wanted to stand and wait a few minutes to see if they were doing laps of this specific corner of a lagoon, too which I agreed. Sure enough, after a slight wait potentially the same and/or a new pack of GT’s started swimming toward us. I waited to get the all clear, threw all my line out in front of me and started hauling for the hills. This was a better placed cast and I stripped like crazy to have a fish eat right at the rod tip and explode on my fly. I went to strip but the fly line wasn’t there any more and when I had finally fumbled and found it, I had lost the fish off the edge of the flat. In TheSaltwater 121


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This was still so cool that even Pete who’d seen everything was just as excited as I was. I think as a first time fly angler I did incredibly well. I spent six of the seven days fishing and walking the flats with some of the most enticing bluewater to fish on offer, my discipline stayed strong. The idea of Bonefish taking a whole fly line on the first run, or a Trigger smashing me into a hole over-ruled slugging away 200g lures on heavy gear all day. Walking on uneven rock and sand all day takes it’s toll on your body, but a hot shower and a few beers accompanied by all of what were great dinners really takes the edge off.

ence something new. The service at Ikari House was second to none, from the food and always cold beer, to the clean rooms and freshly washed clothes, there wasn’t a lot we really went without on that trip. It’s a travel destination I will most certainly make my way back to and most certainly hope to arrive with a far better grip on fishing as a whole. But hey! How good is stepping out of your comfort zone on the odd occasion and things all just come together, new friendships, new skillsets, new stories and an epic set of new tan lines!

I think CXI outlined as a trip/destination is something that still fits nicely within a lot of angler’s budgets, especially if they find themselves wanting to experi-

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The peach faced prize of flats fishing. Photo: Andrew Mckinstray

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Species

SPOTLIGHT

HUMANS FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND BY DR JULIAN PEPPERELL, PhD. Dr. Julian Pepperell, PhD, is one of the best-known marine biologists in the world and a leading authority on Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna and Sharks.

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‘Tread softly’ is a phrase that the environmental movement has repeated for a long time. The meaning of this message is basically – when you move through natural environments to experience all that nature has to offer, leave only your footprints, and prefereably, small ones at that. Naturally, that also goes for four wheel tyre tracks or any other mark you might leave after passing through a pristine environment. But there is more to the concept of leaving footprints than those of the bush bashing variety. The concept of the ‘ecological footprint’ gained traction with the general public and media some years ago, with the idea that by consuming energy and other resources in our daily lives we are all responsible for using the equivalent of varying areas (footprints) of productive land and water. Thus, one definition of the ecological footprint is “a resource management tool that measures how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its wastes under prevailing technology”. Naturally, this means that people in western countries such as Australia leave much bigger ecological footprints than those in developing countries. There are a number of websites devoted to this interesting concept, some of which even allow you to calculate what your personal ecological footprint is. And when I did just that on one site a while back, I was somewhat taken aback to find out that my footprint is a whopping 6.7 hectares! This apparently means that if every other person on earth lived like I do, it would take 4.2 Earths to support global consumption. The trouble is, according to the same calculator, if I only ever walked or cycled everywhere, shared a small super-energy efficient house with six others, conserved renewable energy, recycled most of my waste, thought that 40% of all usable land should go to other species and was a vegan, it would still take 1.6 earths to support a world full of people like me. Hard to win really. But let’s get back to actual, rather than virtual footprints, or more specifically, footprints we leave during the act of fishing. In thinking www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

about this, apart from carbon created by travel we should consider both direct damage to the environment and effects on fish stocks themselves. Of course, when walking through the bush to that secret, remote fishing spot, every footstep must inevitably tread on something. Experienced bush walkers take care to step over rotting logs and animal burrows, but inevitably, they will do at least some damage to unseen flora and fauna. It is arguable that many anglers, perhaps especially fly anglers, are more tuned in to the environment than most and therefore take special care on fishing trips. After all, the lure of nature, especially wild places, is a big part of the attraction of fishing in the first place. Unfortunately though, not everyone takes heed and littering of river banks and rock platforms can ruin the reputation and image of anglers very quickly. In fact, the littering argument is sometimes used as a reason to exclude anglers from the foreshores of proposed marine parks, with photos of empty plastic bait bags used as evidence. And speaking of marine parks, while just about everyone would support their concept in principle, calls for exclusion of fishers from sanctuary zones within such parks are sometimes tinged with a holier-than-thou approach. After all, the purpose of a sanctuary zone is to protect the full range of biodiversity within these special places, but inevitably, virtually unlimited diving seems to be always permitted within their boundaries. But let’s not forget that divers leave foot(flipper)prints too. The accumulated effects of large numbers of divers in the very areas deemed to need maximum protection can and does have real environmental impacts. Now compare such effects with those of, say, a small number of swoffers practising catch-andrelease only in the same area. At the moment, proponents of such low-impact fishing will always lose the argument for access while the divers will win because of a rather simplistic conclusion that fishing, even if 100% catch-and-release, still causes some mortality of fish, and is therefore by international conventions not permissable in sanctuary areas.

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“EVEN

IF 100% CATCH-ANDRELEASE, STILL CAUSES SOME MORTALITY OF FISH” Recreational fishing by its nature affects fish populations in some way. Taking even small numbers of wild fish from their natural environment might be totally unacceptable to a small minority of critics, but a little awareness of fisheries science will quickly show that fishing at low or even moderate levels can indeed be perfectly sustainable. And over the full spectrum of recreational fishing, the impact of fly fishing in both fresh and salt water would intuitively seem to be at the lower end of effects on fish stocks – although as always, it would be nice to have empirical evidence of this ‘small footrprint’ hypothesis.

So, until such a definitive study is carried out, as you go about the practice of the gentle and noble art of swoffing, may you always walk softly, but carry a big fish!

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STUFF WE THINK YOU NEED

A COLLECTION OF FLY RELATED PARAPHERNALIA

THE YETI FLIP 18 RRP AU$399.95 www.au.yeti.com

SIMMS DRY CREEK Z BACKPACK RRP AU$599.95 www.manictackleproject.com

XPLORER COMPACT TRAVEL TYING KIT RRP AU$499.00 www.tacklesafari.com.au

VISION AQUA ‘BIG MAMA’ FLY BOX RRP AU$65.00 www.bwcflies.com.au

HARFIN LR100 RRP AU$695.00 www.harfinflyreels.com

WASPY FLIES RRP Various www.facebook.com/WaspyFlies

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TRIGGERS! Enough said Photo: Rasmus Ovesen

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Making A Mission I’M A FLATS MAN

Words by Graeme Cox Photo’s by Webcox Fly Fishing

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Affectionately named and formed out of a stinking hot shed in Central Queensland, “PermMission” was a love project of the editor and mine. The idea of a flats boat in Australia was somewhat of a dream, hearing of a few up north and almost crashing the car passing one near Townsville, the idea came to us to try and build our own flats boat. I think the rum and island air may have added to the thought process of “how hard could it be?” Now by no means is this a step by step do it yourself guide, consider it to be just a bit of knowledge sharing so you can embrace the itch. My advice to you off the bat is to phone Beast Master Boats and see if they can provide you with a boat for your budget - hands down the easiest path. If that fails, see if there is an import you can buy off Boattrader or the like (read on with caution and don’t curse me if you decide to take the last option). However, if you are financially constrained

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by wedding budgets, life choices or a significant other who doesn’t quite grasp the need to spend a small chunk of money on a boat that resembles a door with a ladder strapped to the back, welcome to the world of the home modification / rebuild / YouTube / what on earth have I started. PermMisson started its life as a very simply laid out 1990 odd Boston Whaler 4.1m (13ft and some change) and the road was rocky from the start. On buying the boat from down south the boat arrived and we were happy, the trailer however had no VIN plate and looked like it had been pulled through the jungles of Africa backwards, “buyer beware” aka unethical seller hiding issues. After multiple phone calls and giving up on dealing with what I would describe as a true bottom feeder, we cut our losses on the trailer (I am counting on Karma to sort it out eventually). So, cost incurred number one, new trailer needed - not a great start but not a bad hull at all.

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The boat sat for a while in the back of Justin’s workshop while the creative juices were flowing, they were supported with the “I have never dealt with fibreglass and a project like this” juices. This happened for a while until Justin basically said we need to start now as we were boatless and the constraints to our fishing were real! So the saving grace of the whole construction is having a partner in the build. Nothing tests a friendship, but also makes sure you don’t stuff up, like having someone who has a vested interest in the outcome of the project standing two metres away from you at all times! Now once the refit started the negativity started to fade, with help from one of our local boat builders here in Mackay (Murry Craft) who was more than willing to share information on fibreglassing, we had a plan, well maybe not so much of a plan as a sketch and vision.

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So layout done we now had a vision of what this could become, excitement levels were buzzing!

PHASE 1 THE LAYOUT So as I’m assuming one of the biggest helps was the fact that both Justin and myself are mad keen fly fisherman, this boat was made for one purpose and that was to fish the areas where we live with fly, any other forms of fishing (and excuse my language here) like spin, would just have to fit in. To start off we got a whole lot of cardboard and formed what were to be the stringers and outline of the storage holds. This was followed by the front deck. We were lucky enough to be given a 45litre fuel tank from Peter Behrens who had just removed it from his boat. Low and behold it was a perfect fit for the layout we wanted to achieve. Well maybe not perfect but it meant we had additional deck space which turned out for the best. We subsequently learnt that using timber is a much better option than to use cardboard for the stringers (learnt after the fact but this will help anyone trying to complete their project) 1 46 In TheSaltwater

PHASE 2 CONSTRUCTION HAS STARTED We used a Thermolite board hardened foam fibreglass reinforced sheet to mark out the pieces of our new puzzle. This stuff is more expensive than a replacement fly rod on an isolated atoll, so a lot of time was taken to maximize our usage - how we wished for a CNC Router machine - two sheets at roughly $440 each were required to complete the build and allow for some overzealous cutting. Now cutting this stuff is a dream, however the dream is you running down to a stream filled with fish and there are stinging nettles elbow high everywhere!!! So, the usage of a white suit or a long sleeve shirt is strongly recommended. I also highly recommend using a guide rather than the clamp method, this made for straighter, easier cuts which for the most part had to be sanded a little bit to allow for fittings.

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Ample supports were made to allow for the full usage of the deck space without creaking, cracking or flexing, needless to say gravity holds me tightly as I hover around the triple digits in kilograms so it had to be built quite sturdy. Factors that came into play in the design were the hatches had to be able to fit a threepiece rod in the tube lengthwise, fold away oars had to fit and of course one hatch per angler to stop any arguments.

place and fill gaps a flapper disk made short work of the gel coat!

Once we had roughed the fit out in and were happy with it bring on the next super fun stage.

PHASE 4 FIBREGLASSING PHASE 3 SANDING

It’s amazing what you can learn off the world of YouTube and a few handy tips from those in the know, using a tightly What can I say about sanding fibreglass woven fibreglass made the harder to other than I think we put someone’s child reach areas a lot easier to get into. It through university with the amount of made for some hectic speed required on sandpaper purchased, that and I learnt some of the larger areas but for the most how to fall asleep with most parts of my part the actual fibre glassing was probbody feeling like I had walked through ably the most enjoyable part of the build mangroves in a budgie smuggler and for me, areas came together quite simthe sand flies had a field day! Pro is that ply, and we only had a few issues with I can withstand itches like never before, the smaller side steps towards the back so the island trips are a breeze now! For of the boat, but it’s just a case of remove the tough areas that were going to need and start again. a lot of peanut butter to hold sections in www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

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PHASE 6 PAINTING

PHASE 5 REPEAT PHASE 3

Okay for this step we cheated, this was handled by someone who knew what they were doing because we didn’t have the budget to stuff this up. It’s amazing what the beer economy will get you these days, most people are willing to help where they can add expertise and for the most part they were intrigued with our project. A light sand and a second coat and the gleaming white hull was sorted. This is when it looks like a real boat and now the sense of achievement starts to creep in.

Sending their second child through university, the sanding continues, this part I got over quite quickly. After about 15 min I was looking for some way to pay someone to do it because this is like casting at a Blue Bastard, you just keep going and going and going until finally it eats, or swims off which can be equated to me throwing the sander up the driveway when it ripped a newly inserted strip of paper for the 300th time, Graeme 1 - sander 0, new sander needed though, so maybe patience could have been exercised. PHASE 7 POLING PLATFORM So trying to explain what we wanted and looking for a pre-made version in the USA proved hopeless. Step in more mates with skills far superior to this desk jockey and we managed to fabricate our own, well we had the ideas and a few mates made it happen. A few jigs to help hold everything together didn’t go astray either, so if you are going down this path look to add them into your build. 1 48 In TheSaltwater

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www.eastcoastangling.com.au

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PHASE 8 THE ELECTRICAL GOODIES We tried to keep everything to the bare minimum to allow for as little clutter as possible, but the inevitable need for a sounder / chart plotter came into play. A Lowrance HDS 7 has done the trick wonderfully and serves the purpose perfectly. A few LED strip lights to allow for night fishing in the dams were added thanks to Paul Dolan and the DK dancer hot tip proving time after time that big barramundi can be caught at night and well sometimes headlamps just don’t do the job. That was pretty much it! Well until we realised maybe a bilge was a good idea in a few of the rougher water test runs.

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So, after a few months of weekends spent building our flats boat, would I do it all again, well surprisingly, I probably would, as what I learnt and the laughs had (minus the stressful moments) that came out of the build made it all worthwhile. It also tested a fishing partnership to the nth degree through a few Mexican standoffs with measurements and clashing ideas, but if you can build a boat together dam straight you can chase Permit together on the flats! If you would like any details on the build or what was done in certain areas feel free to drop the magazine an email info@ inthesaltflymag.com.au and it will get passed on. Just include boat refit or similar in the subject line so it can get passed on..

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Flats for days! Photo: Andrew Mckinstray

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BASTARDS OF THINGS! Photo: Peter Morse

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Keith with a beautiful Indo-PacificPermit Photo: Rasmus Ovesen

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TAILING LOOP The Final Fathom Trials & Tribulations of an almost fly fisher By Graeme Cox

The essence of a fly fisherman is always pictured with tranquil mountain streams trickling and bubbling whilst the silent cast lands perfectly upstream from a fish. The presentation is perfect and the sip off the surface nothing short of textbook, “So what the bloody hell am I doing wrong?”

cursing that can go on whilst I’m on the boat. Side, side note: establish where your boat clock is before encountering fish)

Eyes to Brain: “There’s a fish” Brain to Arm: “I need you to work now, the fish is swimming in that direction, cast 5m to the right of it, calculate it and embrace it.” I am by no means what I would call Eyes to Brain: “It’s a big fish!” an expert fly fisherman, but I do have Brain to Eyes: “No eyes I just need a a few years under my ever-expandlocation and direction size and species ing rum fuelled belt. But by golly can I cock things up, nothing can stuff up my is not important right now, my fly usually solid ability to cast like a fish on pattern will work” Eyes to Brain: “It’s a Permit - in fact the flats. it’s a bloody HUGE Permit “ Casting at structure, bam inch perfect, Brain to Unknown area: “Loop and knot that shit as quickly as possible.” sink, strip, happy. Cast in the dark Emotions to Brain: “Why would you where I can’t even see what I’m really doing and it’s just the feel of the rod no do that to me!” trouble. On the flats this is my amazing It is this unknown area of the brain that thought process summarised. I hope this is not a unique condition because I has become the target of 2018, I will master this section so the seduction in don’t want to agonise in solitude. my presentation can return, and poster First to paint the scene it usually starts boy status can be embraced (I do like a good photo) I will stand up to this brain something like this, with my fishing partner saying “fish right in front of you, bully of the flats and make it my own or I will just have a few more laughs to no not there right there 12 O’ Clock, share. like right F*#king there...THERE!”, (side note: if we had a daytime fishing Untangling fly lines and learning show there would just be background music with the amount of swearing and through laughs for now. 1 58 In TheSaltwater

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Final Offering

From the editor

ISSUE 5 marks one year of IN THE SALT and all I can say is “HOLY SHIT” its been an epic journey so far! Everyone has been so supportive in what we are trying to do and this love child of mine is becoming a little toddler now, not quite a teenager just yet but with every issue under the belt I think we are getting there. We have so many exciting things happening this year for us so WATCH THIS SPACE! I can’t wait to share more stories, photos, jokes and just the general shenanigans that surround our wonderful sport. CALLING ALL WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS we love hearing from our readers so if you think you have an article brewing please send it through to us. We are always looking for fun, engaging stories to share with everyone. After all, besides hitting the water and practising, thats how we all learn. We will have another photo comp coming up soon so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that one. As always, thank you for reading our publication we hoped you enjoyed it as much as we did. Thank you to all our incredible contributors with out which none of this would be possible. Thanks also to all our advertisers new and old we are super stoked to have you all on board and look forward to this continuing journey together. In closing please practise catch and release as often as possible helping sustain our incredible fisheries and those that we visit. Be sure to like us on Instagram and Facebook. Sign up to our newsletter to get this publication delivered direct to your inbox and also stay up to date with what we’re up to. Till next time, stay vertical amigos! Justin Webber Editor & Publisher

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In The Salt - Issue #5  
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