Page 1

ISSUE#1

JAN-MAR ‘17

PERMIT AS A

PRESENT GRAEME COX

EAST COAST

BONEFISH JUSTIN WEBBER SHALLOW WATER

REEF FLATS WEBCOX FLY FISHING

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT

GOLDEN TREVALLY DR JULIAN PEPPERELL MY FAST TRACK

TO SUCCESS STEVEN CHALMERS IN THE SALT

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HAIL TO THE KING! Photo: Aussie Fly Fisher

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Precision Crafted

Precision Crafted

Precision Crafted

T-50

GUIDE II

CLASSIC II

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*Expires 30 April 2017

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ISSU

CONT FEATURE ARTICLES PAGE 16

PAGE 56

EAST COAST BONEFISH

PERMS AS A PRESENT

PAGE 30

PAGE 86

GIVE THEM NOTHING

FLY FISHING STOKE STORY

FINDING THE GHOSTS OF THE FLATS

SHALLOW WATER REEF FLATS

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A BIRTHDAY TREAT - MY FIRST PERMIT

MY FAST TRACK TO SUCCESS

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UE #1

TENTS REGULAR ARTICLES PAGE 46

PAGE 78

THE TIE ‘N FLY BOX

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT

PAGE 68

PAGE 99

STUFF YOU NEED

FINAL OFFERING

HOW TO TIE CPT. GAV’S FAVORITE FLIES

GEAR AND PARAPHERNALIA

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THE GOLDEN TREVALLY

FROM THE EDITOR

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ISSUE #1

IN THE SALT

FLY FISHING MAGAZINE THE ED JUSTIN WEBBER THE ADS JUSTIN WEBBER THE EYE GRAEME COX JUSTIN WEBBER THE WORDS GRAEME COX

CONTACT US info@inthesaltflymag.com.au www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

PHOTOGRAPHY GRAEME COX, PETER BEHRENS, GAVIN PLATZ, JUSTIN WEBBER, NICK MOORE, JONO SHALES, EXMOUTH FLY FISHING, TIE ‘N FLY OUTFITTERS, GRANT ZIETSMAN, AUSSIE FLY FISHER, JACK MARRS, JOSH HUTCHINS, VINNIE VERSVELD, BEASTMASTER BOATS & STEVEN CHALMERS

SUBMISSIONS

@inthesaltflymag IN THE SALT WELCOMES ALL SUBMISSIONS, CONTENT OR PHOTOS. WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO PUBLISH THE ARTICLE OR CONTENT. THE OPINIONS EXPREESSED IN THIS MAGAZINE ARE NOT ALWAYS OF THE MAGAZINE OR ITS OWNERS. IT IS ILLEGAL TO COPY OR REPRODUCE THIS MAGAZINE.

PHOTO.CPT GAVIN PLATZ

THE LOOK JUSTIN WEBBER

CONTRIBUTORS JUSTIN WEBBER, GRAEME COX, GAVIN PLATZ, STEVEN CHALMERS, WEBCOX FLY FISHING, DR JULIAN PEPPERELL

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SALTWATER FLY FISHING’S A PASSION... GET YOUR GEAR & ADVICE FROM SOMEONE WHO IS AS PASSIONATE AS YOU!

BE GUIDED BY CPT. GAVIN PLATZ ◦ Saltwater & tropical Freshwater Fly Fishing Specialist ◦ FFFcasting instructor ◦ Hardy Pro Staff ◦ Tuna, Mackerel, Billfish & Saratoga ◦ Sunshine Coast & Harvey Bay ◦ Christmas Island Bonefish and GT trips ◦ Purpose Built 6.7 tri-hull in-shore boat ◦ 4.5m impoundment dory www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

FIND US AT

Shop 1A 8 Point Cartwright Dr Buddina Beach QLD 4575 P. 07 5444 0611 E. flyshop@tienfly.com

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IN THE SALT

It’s our mission to bring Australian Saltwater Fly Fishing & Travel to everyone!

We love fly fishing and everything to do with it. We talk fly when we see our friends, it finds its way in to the office at work and around the coffee table there are countless magazines of far off destinations. We collect not only knick-knacks but knowledge from our travels and experiences. Salt is in our veins, it’s where we come from and why we fight so hard to get back to it as often as possible. Saltwater fly fishing isn’t easy, it’s a challenging way of catching fish but anyone who has ever caught a good fish on fly in the salt will almost always tell you it was worth it! We want it to become a common topic when talking about fishing and dissolve the idea that it’s “too hard” or “people who fly fish are old and all they do is walk river banks in search of small trout”. Don’t get me wrong there’s a place for it but we’re about getting onto the flats and stalking down big permit and GT’s or searching for bonefish in ankle deep water. Feeling the blistering run of a large Spanish Mackerel and getting your knuckles so busted up, you can’t make a fist! IN THE SALT was born from the need to get more information on Australian saltwater fly fishing and everything it offers. The essence of our magazine

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isn’t just knowledge and photos, we want to help you experience the passion we have for the sport and show you how you too can be a part of it. You will certainly find lots of great articles throughout our pages and hopefully, not only will you grow and learn new things, but also be inspired to get out there and cast a fly. For those just starting out, that you can see it’s not hard to get into fly fishing and the rewards are so great. This should be one hell of an adventure and we are super stoked that you’re a part of it. Our cover shot is a very special fish! Sharing the excitement and experience with our friends is what fly fishing means to us. We want to share our passion with the rest of Australia and the world to show case what we have on offer! We have world class saltwater destinations on our door step. You can choose anything from a luxury 5-star resort with permit flats out the front of it or rough it in some real back country type areas with tents and bug spray. However, you like to do things, one thing is the same…you LOVE SALTWATER FLY FISHING and so do we! Welcome to IN THE SALT A fly fishing magazine dedicated to Saltwater fly fishing.

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A solid Mack Tuna on the Reef Magic! Photo: Grant Zietsman

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The colourful face of a ferocious reef predator. This coral trout fell to a well presented “Reef Magic” Fly Photo: Graeme Cox

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Bonefish EAST COAST

FINDING GHOSTS O N T H E F L AT S by Justin Webber

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“HE WAS HOOKED AND POWERED OFF LIKE A FREIGHT TRAIN!”

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How It All Started

Our trip started on Friday afternoon after reaching the first of the many flats we fished this weekend we saw good movement. The sun was low in the sky which made sight fishing difficult but not impossible. We cast at seveal shapes which we couldn’t identify when finally, Pete hooked up and landed a nice bream of about 40cm. It was the first of eight, unfortunately we weren’t armed with a camera at that stage so no photos of those fish but they are a great target in shallow water up on the flats. We also managed a few flathead & whiting until it got too dark to see. So, we called it a day and went back to the boat for a few rums and to go over our game plan for the next day.

Rise and Shine

We woke to a dead calm sea, light breezes and a cloudless sky, everything a flats fisherman dreams of! We set off in search of permit (Trachinotus Blochii) Pete has been frothing for one so the was our goal for the day! We arrived at the first flat and parked the boat, jumped out and started hunting. It wasn’t long and I heard Pete shout that he was on! He bought a nice dart (also a member of the Trachinotus family) to hand but this wasn’t the illusive permit he was after. We fished that flat for about an hour landing only dart so we decided to move. Good call! Once we got the boat anchored up and jumped out we immediately started seeing permit on the backs of sting rays not big fish but permit non-the-less. I was lucky enough to land the first fish it was a small fish but when it comes to permit like many will say “a permit is a permit no matter how small” so I shouted to Pete to head over and by the time he had waded back to me I had lost another and was in the middle of fighting another. This was a better sized fish that put up a great account of itself on the Xplorer T50 6wt even getting me into my backing on its initial run! We decided that we had to get Pete onto a fish so we stalked another feeding school and it didn’t take long until we saw a fish

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breakaway for the pack and engulf his trusty CXI special. It was also a great fish and even better we got to share the whole experience from the eat to the photos! After that the pressure was off and we started getting stuck into a few good-sized dart but no more permit unfortunately. The flats had filled up to the point that we decided to jump into the boat and hit the deeper parts of the flats hoping for some good Queenfish or GT’s that are generally prevalent at that stage of the tide. It wasn’t long till we started seeing a few fish and with a well presented fly I got an eat from a good-sized Queenie. Unfortunately I think I had used up all my good luck on the permit I had caught earlier because it wasn’t long into the fight and everything went slack only to find i had been snapped off at the loop! After retying we hit another of the flats we had always wanted to check out and it wasn’t long until we saw a huge dark shape patrolling the edge. I put in the cast and got the eat, it was a big Queenie about 7-8kg’s, after a lethargic take this fish realised he was hooked and powered off like a freight train! In the madness that is a take from a big fish your line tends to fly and shoot around till it gets clear. This time my index finger was at fault and somehow got a loop wrapped around it which as every fly fisherman knows means one thing, SNAP and the fish is off! I had resigned myself to the fact that 2 permit in one day, well that was all my luck done. So, with Pete on the bow we started cruising again. We found the same large queenies a little while later, Pete thought he could get some redemption for me but after a few follows it headed back off into the deeper was and was gone from sight. We cruised the flats for some time until we decided to swap again and Pete took the wheel and I was up the front hoping to break my last 2 losses. With a full flat it is all but impossible to see fish clearly but we thought we’d give it a shot as you never know! Still hoping for a geet we carried on.

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Casting At Blurs

were stumped at what we’d hooked but kept plugging away. I finally managed to get this fish up near the surface where Pete After about 10 minutes something caught my eye, shouted he thought it was a mackerel with its long and they were in about 2m of water so couldn’t make slender shape.... that was until it came right to the out what they were but there was a school of fish surface and we clearly identified it as a BONEFISH!!!!! 30ft to our right. I shouted to Pete to kill the motor, I composed myself and put in the cast. I left my fly sink for a few seconds, it did have heavy eyes but I wanted to make sure it was on the bottom. I started to retrieve and almost immediately we saw one of the shapes break from the school and my line went tight! We saw a flash of what we thought was gold and called it for a good sized Permit. The fish put up a superb fight on my Xplorer T50 9wt which made us second guess our call and thought it’s probably a good sized golden trevally. Since it was deep we still

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“ALL I COULD DO QUIETLY CRA

From that second on I fought this fish so carefully with lots of coaching from Pete with words like “stay calm” & “concentrate” all I could do was agree & quietly crap myself! I had hooked one of the most

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elusive fish in our waters and every second felt like an eternity! We debated if we should try and tow the fish into shallower water to try and land it but decided against it as land was too far away!

O WAS AGREE & AP MYSELF!

the fish got a few quick photos and sent this beautiful bone back to his watery depths! We have finally done it and cracked the code of the East Coast Bonefish. They are not as plentiful as CXi but fight just as hard (if not harder) that’s why it makes landing one of these fish in our fishery so rewarding! We have finally confirmed our suspicions and landed a bone, what’s next...well lots more we hope!

With so much pressure on Pete he calmly lent over the side as I guided the fish to him, he grabbed the leader and then the fish! We had done it!!!! Screaming, shouting and high fiving we boated

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Cpt. Gavin Platz from Tie ‘n Fly Outfitters with a cracking Wahoo Photo: Tie ‘N Fly Outfitters

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Underwater torpedo from New Zealand Photo: Josh Hutchins

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Sharky Mackerel up close and personal Photo: Graeme Cox

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A solid Black Spot Tuskfish from the Exmouth flats Photo: Exmouth Fly Fishing

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Graeme with one of his bucket list fish Photo: Webcox Fly Fishing

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R E T A W W O L L A H S

S T A L F REEF y Fishing by Webcox Fl

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SHALLOW

WATER

REEF

FLATS

Recently we have been experimenting on shallow water reefs in and around our region chasing usually bottom dwelling species which on the right tides come into the shallows to feed on the plentiful organism’s and bait fish which they so love. Using mainly 8-9 wt rods loaded with intermediate and floating lines with sink tips we have been casting at some very treacherous looking bommies and shallows knowing only to well that once we hook up it’ll be a fight to the end! You need a heavy rod because although the fish you catch aren’t as big as GT’s they often fight just the same, F*%king Hard!!

“GIVE THEM NOTHING!” Fish like the Coral trout give up a very intense but short lived fight, once you get them away from their watery lair they tend to put up one or two short bursts of energy but soon subdued. The ever so humble Grassy Sweetlip Emperor on the other hand gives a solid account for itself in the very shallow waters they like to frequent on the right tides. These fish go hard and in the words of Peter Morse “GIVE THEM NOTHING” he was of course talking at the time of a Long nose emperor but still these fish go just as hard as their cousins. Bluey’s we have found take almost anything that passes by them hitting a variety of flies with vigour and ferocity. Flies that we have found to work are Clouser variations and shrimp patterns. You need something that can sink fast to ensure your fly is in the zone as quickly as possible. On occasion, you’ll get hit as you fly lands but this is usually in the depths of 0-1m.

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The hard pulling Sweet Lip Emperor(Lipper) Photo: Graeme Cox

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A Coral Trout pulled from his home in a near by bommie Photo: Graeme Cox

We have found either white or orange and Queenfish, Sharks, Tuskies & Longtoms white Clousers work best in this area but are also ever present too. colour patterns all depend on where you are and what sort of bait fish reside there. On the right tides and days with good visibility water and sky we urge anyone to get out there Other fish we have been finding feeding in with a fly and cast at otherwise over looked the shallows are a large variety of Trevally areas close to shore or on the outer reef you’ll be species, Mackerel in all forms, Milkfish, Permit, amazed at what lurks in these shallow depths.

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The Spanish Mackerel, not a true reef species, but something you find often feeding on the shallow flats. Photo: Justin Webber

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Another spectacular Spangled Emperor from Nick Moore Photo: Graeme Cox

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Someone caught crabs in Christmas Island! Photo: Graeme Cox

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Another day in paradise 10 Day Hosted Trips to Anna, French Polynesia in 2017

20th – 29th Apr | 4th – 13th May | 14th – 23rd Sept | 12th – 21st Oct Join us on this unforgettable saltwater fly fishing adventure.

Anaa, French Polynesia

We’re proud to be supporting the people of Anaa build a community driven, sustainable fly fishery in one of the most unique and spectacular parts of the world. From the crystal clear lagoon and flats to the untouched inshore and outer reef edges, the fly-fishing opportunities are endless.

In TheSaltwater 39 www.inthesaltflymag.com.au For reservations and more information email enquiries@flyodyssey.com.au or call +61 499 900 816


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It’s not always about the fishing! Photo: Jono Shales

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Graeme with his PB Milkfish Photo: Graeme Cox

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A beautiful underwater Mahi Mahi (Dolphin fish) Photo: Jono Shales

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THE

FLY BOX FLIES BY TIE ‘N FLY OUTFITTERS

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Pseudo Minnow By Cpt. Gavin Platz

MATERIALS Hook Gammakatsu .SL12 s Body Diamond Braid Silver Underwing Pseudo Hair Lateral Line Flashabou Pearl Overwing Pseudo Hair Head Epoxy Eyes & 3D Stick on Eyes Thread Mono Thread

Step 1 - place hook in vice and lay a bed of Mono Thread on shaft of hook

Step 2 - tie in a short length of Diamond Braid and wind onto shank of hook

Step 3 - tie in a small clump of Pseudo Hair right behind the eye of the hook

Step 4 - cut 6 strands of Pearl Flashbou and double over and tie in over tie in point behind the eye of the hook.

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Step 5 - tie in a small clump of Pseudo Hair on tie in area behind the eye of the hook

Step 6 -Tie in another small clump of Pseudo Hair to represent the back colour of the baitfish.

Step 7 - Add eyes to suit and coat with 2 coats of Epoxy. If necessary rotate to create an even head shape

This is a very easy fly to tie in all sizes from #4 to to #4/0 and if epoxied past the bend of the hook will never tail wrap. Fill your flybox with a few you won’t be sorry. Tight lines, TNF Team

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A well stocked fly box and how its arranged says a lot about the angler who owns it! Photo: Exmouth Fly Fishing

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MEDIUM FAST AND FAST ACTION

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Sydney Harbour Salmon fest Photo: Jack Marrs

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PERMS AS A PRESENT A BIRTHDAY TREAT - MY FIRST PERMIT

It’s not often as adults we get super excited about birthdays. But as fly fishermen the treat of having all the elements align allowing you the opportunity to spend your special day with good friends on a sandy beach casting flies at one of the most revered fly species in the world.... well thats a birthday worth talking about! Photos by Peter Behrens & Justin Webber

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DELAYS, DELAYS, DELAYS Last weekend, I finally had the chance after seven agonising months away working and seeing photos of this little permit honey hole that had been discovered, so finally it was my chance to go chase permit on the flats. It was a weekend of highs and lows to say the least, we had planned to head over Friday afternoon get a bit of a fish in, set up camp and repeat on Saturday. Throughout the week, the wind decided to mess with our emotions, kind of like the fish we were chasing it would give you a little glimpse of goodness then disappear. However, the call was made, it’s only a bit of sea spray anyway. High point we are going chasing Permit. Come Friday we get a call from Pete who was flying up from Sydney and I was meeting him at the airport to go grab the boat and leave. The call was not good, 30 min after he was supposed to depart the plane was still firmly on the apron, “adverse wind conditions” were playing havoc with Sydney air traffic. We hoped this was not going to be the theme of our weekend. Two hours late Pete touches down and we are off to pick up Justin hook up the boat and head out! I must admit that never in the history of mankind has a boat been packed, hitched and out the drive so quickly! Low point: Delayed Start High point: Efficiency through eagerness So, by the time we arrived the sun was setting and it was the peak in the full tide, apart from a few scattered milkfish there was not much around to be seen so we headed off and set up camp, prepped our gear for what we were hoping would be a day to remember. High Point: We are fishing THE NEXT DAY The next morning I was woken up but what has now been dubbed the hangover bird, whose sole purpose is make your head feel like you have a hangover when in fact you don’t. I am a nature lover but this bird was pushing my boundaries, a lot!

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Anyway, after our beautiful morning of nature we jumped on the boat and headed to the spot with the milkfish just to have a look around, whilst wading the flats near the mangroves I saw a pretty small bream just cruising past so I thought why not have a cast at it, I did and well I didn’t see the substantially larger blue bastard skulking along in the glare, now these fish aren’t notorious for being hard to catch for no reason but this one climbed on my fly like a partygoer on a 3am kebab. It was just crazy. It then proceeded to knit me through a few mangroves before my hook broke, a perfect way to mess with someone’s emotions. After a few less than choice words and a bit of laughing it off, we headed back to the boat (we also saw two of the biggest milkfish we have ever seen in our region on the way back to the boat, they bow waved in took one look at us and bow waved out) STARTING TO PUZZLE Anyway, Milkfish we are coming for you another day, this day was to be the day of permit. So, we headed off to our honey hole and it didn’t disappoint. Between Justin Pete and myself we caught a good number of Dart which put up a spirited fight for their size but no permit as yet. After seeing a few and getting myself too worked up in a state of anger and duffing a few casts. I stopped I composed myself and convinced myself it’s only a fish (I’m good at lying to myself), I looked around and saw the quintessential stingray feeding. I put in my cast to which Justin said “ah that was perfect”, and perfect it was a few strips and bam I was on. We didn’t clearly see it at first but it took off and we caught a glimpse of it, yup permit on. Now this was my first hook up on a permit and my earlier lie of it only being a fish went flying out the window. I was now quietly bricking it to the extent that I could feel my heart racing. After a very decent fight on the Xplorer Guide II 7wt I got it closer and closer and finally landed it much to my relief. A few quick photos and it was released and swam away strongly. Job done a permit on the eve of my birthday what a way to celebrate! And yes, they are as special as everyone makes them out to be!

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“IT CLIMBED ON MY FLY LIKE A PARTYGOER ON A 3AM KEBAB” 6 0 In TheSaltwater

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High High High Point: Graeme’s first Permit Check. HOW IT ALL PLAYED OUT We then went on to have an absolute blinder of a session with five permit landed heaps lost and numerous other species that decided to turn up to tangle. Notable catches were a decent queen fish by Pete and a monster Dart as well, with our 10 kg queenie that was just out of reach tormenting Justin as it hasbeen dubbed his nemesis. High Point: fish fish and more fish. Now most people would have been content at that session but we went for a little stroll back to where I got permit number two, Justin then saw a yellowish change difference in the deeper water, cast his fly in on his Xplorer 6wt T 50 and was on yet again. He hooked up to who know what but man it took off and headed towards the horizon, so much so that Pete went to grab the boat after some should we, do we need it, maybe we do, nah maybe wait kind of conversation. It was at the point where Pete was about two steps from the boat that Justin managed to turn the fish and coax it back towards the shore. We were all at a loss for what it could have been until we say the yellow fins and tell tail stripes, an awesome specimen of a golden trevally made even better by landing it on a 6wt. This was a perfect way to end off a crazy mornings fishing we were back on the boat by 2pm and heading home! I must admit this was quite a special weekend getting to spend my birthday weekend on the flats with good friends chasing and catching permit all adding up to why I love fly fishing so much, its days like this that we dream of and the dream seems to keep on being a reality for us up here in Central QLD.

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“I WAS NOW QUIETLY BRICKING IT TO THE EXTENT THAT I COULD FEEL MY HEART RACING!” www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

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Peter Behrens with a nice Trigger fish Photo: Webcox Fly Fishing

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Join Aussie Fly Fisher, Joshua Hutchins, for an unforgettable adventure chasing trophy trout and kingfish on the North & South Islands of New Zealand. From the rugged back-country to the wide-open saltwater flats, these trips encompass the best of New Zealand’s fly fishing.

2018 NZ HOSTED TRIPS

SOUTH ISLAND

TRIP 1 & 2: February 2018 NORTH ISLAND

TRIP 3: March 2018

aff-mag-ad-APR-2017-v2.indd 1

13/4/17 8:54 pm

An epic NZ kingie pulled from the back of a crusing stingray Photo: Aussie Fly Fisher

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God Save The Queen(fish) The release is almost better than the fight! Photo: Nick Moore

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STUFF WE THINK YOU NEED A COLLECTION OF FLY RELATED PARAPHERNALIA

XPLORER T-50 FLY ROD - 7wt This is the T-50 model you’ve been waiting for, sleek lines, curves in the right places and she won’t break the bank! No, we not talking about the latest car from Ferrari but this rod could possibly be the Ferrari of the Xplorer range. We have tested its predecessors to the extreme from GT’S to bonefish and this rod fills the gap between the ever popular 5wt and 9 wt. It can punch a fly into the wind with ease and is light enough to cast all day every day. If you’re in the market for a new wand jump onto www.tacklesafari.com.au to find out more.

A FEW GREAT FLIES... AND HOW TO FISH THEM This is a must have if you’re a keen saltwater fly fisherman. It’s a fantastic selection of flies that are tried and tested in Australian waters and destinations that we Australians have easy access to. This insightful book has a wealth of knowledge between its pages written by the Australian god father of fly fishing Peter Morse. There are not only great flies in there to tie but also some very entertaining stories gathered from a lifetime on the water. If you have $40 to spend on anything then make sure it’s this book! Get it now at www.wildfish.com.au

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SAGE HUMIDOR If you’re like us then you don’t mind a good cigar on the flats. We have found a product by Sage that helps keep your cigar as fresh as the day it was rolled on the inner thigh of a Cuban goddess! It has a gasket seal and cedar insert to keep your stogie’s dry and fresh for that special moment when you need to spark one up. For more info jump onto www.sageflyfish.com

YETI RAMBLER They claim it can keep your drinks as cold as science allows, well we think these things could even produce ice! In the balmy tropics, nothing stays cold for long but pour your favourite poison of choice and enjoy not having to refill you drink with ice every time you get a freshy. SERIOUSLY these keep drinks as cold as an Eskimos twig and berries! They come in a few sizes and YETI now ship to Australia so there’s no excuses. They also have bottles which are great for keeping anything in really hot or cold. Engineered from 18/8 stainless steel this is the real deal and they don’t even sweat no matter what the outside temp is! Visit www.intl.yeti.com to of there awesome products.

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A “flats style” boat makes fishing shallows a lot more enjoyable & productive! Photo: Beastmaster Boats

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There’s no arguing, fly fishing takes us to some special places! Photo: Aussie Fly Fisher

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Awesome underwater shot of this Exmouth Permit Photo: Exmouth Fly Fishing

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A catch of a lifetime on fly! Photo: Exmouth Fly Fishing

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Species

SPOTLIGHT

Golden Trevally BY DR JULIAN PEPPERELL

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Vinnie really stuck gold on this fish! Photo: Aquaventure Fishing

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Golden Trevally (Gnathodon speciosus)

The golden trevally is one of those sportfish which is very highly regarded by anglers, but because it is of no particular commercial importance, has attracted virtually no scientific attention. One of 64 species of the trevally family (Carangidae) which occur in Australia, the gorgeous golden really does stand out from the crowd.

Distinguishing Features The golden is a distinctive species of trevally which has been placed into its own genus due to various features, the main one being its complete lack of teeth (the name Gnathanodon translates as ‘toothless jaw’). In addition, its overall appearance also sets it apart from other species. Its coloration does indeed tend to be golden, with its belly and sides flushed with a beautiful metallic yellow, usually broken by four or five indistinct vertical bars (these bars are often faint, but can sometimes become quite marked even on large fish). Golden trevally also usually have a few dark blotches on their sides, although not all fish show this feature. The variable vertical bars on adult fish are remnants of much more vivid dark black bands which juveniles of this species characteristically show. These distinctive babies are bright yellow with five or six prominent black stripes, one through the eye, with narrower, less distinct stripes alternating between the broad ones. Small golden trevally may be regularly seen swimming near the heads of much larger fish, especially sharks, in much the same way as pilot fish, which they somewhat resemble.

record of 14.1 kg and the South African spearfishing record of 14.8 kg. In fact, a 10 kg specimen is unusual. On the other hand, the fisherman’s bible, ‘Grant’s Guide to Fishes’ cites the maximum size as 37 kg, which, if true, would make the golden the second largest trevally after the giant trevally (GT). However, since this huge weight is so much larger than any official record, even of other trevally species, and since no further details are given of this capture, it is more than likely that the fish mentioned by Grant was in fact a giant trevally.

Sporting & Eating Qualities Around the pristine sandflats of northern Australia, famously including those of Harvey Bay, the golden trevally is the perfect saltwater fly adversary. It can be polaroided in the crystal clear shallows, reaches a respectable size and when enticed to take the tinsel, like most of the trevally clan, puts up a phenomenal fight. As to its eating qualities, I can safely say I have never partaken of this particular species on the table.

Targeting Goldens Usually fished for by sight casting, these fish are a great visual target easily given away by them “tailing.” When you see this, they are busy digging out crabs, shrimps and other crustaceans to forage on. Not surprisingly crab and shrimp imitations work well for these fish, however they will also eat clousers and CXi specials.

Distribution This species is found around the northern half of Australia, extending south to about Exmouth in the west and northern New South Wales in the east. It is a widespread species, occurring throughout southeast Asia, and around the northern rim of the Indian ocean. As is the case with many trevallies, the habitat of the golden trevally ranges from estuarine (mainly over sand flats) to inshore reefs.

Size and Growth The maximum size to which golden trevally grow is a little uncertain. Most available literature sources put the maximum weight at about 15 kg, which is consistent with the Australian game fishing

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Nothing can compare or prepare you for your first Permit Photo: Peter Behrens

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Just around the bend! Photo: Exmouth Fly Fishing

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My Fast Track TO SUCCESS WORDS AND PHOTOS BY STEVEN CHALMERS After a few months of casting practice in the front yard and dropping flathead in the local Pioneer River, it all began to make sense very quickly thanks to a day on the water with local fly fishing guide Andy, from Andy’s Fishing. Most would know Andy from his YouTube channel ‘Andy’s Fishing’. Andy is a Whitsunday local who on this occasion travelled a little south in the middle of winter to give me a lesson in a river with similar features to our local systems around Mackay.

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s a novice fly fisher, I had very little experience and no real preference for target species. So, when the weather lined up with an available day, Andy had a plan in place to show me a few different techniques in varied environments. We left the ramp and headed out into the bay at sunrise to join a gathering of locals fishing a small exposed rock in around 8 meters. As the sun began to peak through the clouds, a few mackerel were falling victim to dead baits on hand lines nearby. With no surface action to be seen, we counted to 30 waiting for our lines to sink before stripping the fly’s quickly toward the surface, a technique known as “dredging”. Andy managed to get one Mackerel aboard to show me how it was done. No matter how uncoordinated at the time, the technique has since worked for me pulling some great fish from deeper waters. As the cloud overhead gave way to a little sunshine, we moved onto a coastal mudflat with prominent rocky features. At the time the flat was a little challenging to find feeding fish, however pushing up into the mangroves along the coast was an absolute eye opener. Andy standing high on the poling platform started to spot a few Barra within the root systems of the mangrove’s. The Barra did show a little interest, yet not enough to set a hook. However, as the tide dropped and the sun became more prominent, it was as if we were in an aquarium. A school of Barra pushed around us in the shallow water from shadow to shadow, whilst a massive Jack lay just out of reach watching from the protection of the dense mangroves root systems. A few blind casts between prominent trees brought my first fish of the day. From what seemed like nowhere came a solid “whack” on the 8wt Redington combo. A solid Grunter (Javelin Fish) was soon aboard, followed by one of its companions not long after. I thoroughly enjoyed the short fights with the Grunter on the edge of the mangroves, and seeing such a large group of Barra schooled together was an absolute thrill, there may have been 20 fish! With the water level decreasing quickly, it was time to check another habitat off the list. So off we motored over to a nearby rocky headland chasing Jack’s. We may not have managed to pull any Jack off the headland on that day, however I did have a ball pulling cod from the rocks. The techniques were very simple and similar between the flats and the rocky headland, two short strips followed

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“...A BIG CROC SLIDE, THE LINE SHOT FORWARD & I SET THE HOOK”

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by a pause. For deeper water, a pause to let the intermediate line sink and shortening the strips to leave the line down deeper. We targeted lone prominent trees and rocks from all sides available as well as looking for ledges, gullies and gaps between trees and rocks to cast. Then came my favourite part, moving into a draining river system with Barra set as the target. There were many blind casts over prominent rock bars. Learning to roll the head of the fly line past my snagged fly to free it, was incredibly helpful around the oysters. Andy spotted a few fish for me to cast at, and several Flathead fell victim to the Pink Thing along the mud banks. However, we couldn’t stop to open the pack of Tim-Tams until a Barra was aboard the boat, so we pushed higher into the river on the electric. The main structure targeted along the way was no real secret, we were targeting drains and fallen trees along the mud bank, landing the fly on the mud bank above to soften the noise of it entering the water by the structure was the plan, however I did manage to hook my fair share of tree’s. Then finally as we approached a gully formed in a big croc slide, the line shot forward, I set the hook and pulled the rod back as a Barra gave a short burst of energy ripping line through my hand. The Barra did me a huge favour tearing past the boat out into the channel away from any snags. After the hook survived a few head shakes, I regained control of the line and ever so cautiously brought my first Saltwater Barra on fly into the net with Andy’s help. Although it was open season, this Barra was quickly released to fight another day. The Tim-Tams were broken out in celebration, and the smile couldn’t be wiped from my face! As the day came to a close, Andy spotted what must have been a meter plus Barra that had been either over a dam wall or through a net. It was almost all white with red lines over it. The monster fish lay glowing in the weed on a rock bed in very little flow, high in the river system. I did manage to get a few casts quite close, however as a beginner, I also managed to spook it. Overall it was a sensational day on the water, and a great introduction to saltwater fly fishing as a beginner. I feel I came away with a better casting technique, a basic knowledge of fly fishing tactics, some new ideas on cast placement as well as where to look for fish in different environments. Now 18months down the track I’m having a great time fly fishing my local coastline and estuaries, landing a variety of species in good numbers each trip. As practice makes perfect, I’ll keep fishing every available day and I hope to head out for a few more lessons with Andy in the near future. We have an incredible variety of species in some spectacular environments locally, which are only getting better with the introduction of the net free zone nearby at Seaforth.

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The very toothy Spanish Mackerel is a superb target for fly fisherman Photo: Aquaventure Fishing

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Peter Behrens with a Bludger Trevally caught in under a meter of water on top of a coral sea reef flat Photo: Webcox Fly Fishing

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Release the GT! Jono with a big flats brute Photo: Exmouth Fly Fishing

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Grant with his first East Australian Coast Bonefish Photo: Graeme Cox

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Final Offering

From the editor

A

s a fly fisherman, all I want to do is talk to fly fisherman about fly fishing and in particular saltwater fly fishing. I find myself uncontrollably walking into the local tackle store having a look at the fly section to see who’s there and what they might be looking for. I will always take the chance to have a meet & greet and to find out what they are doing, fish they are targeting and hopefully if I have any prior knowledge of the area or species they are chasing I will gladly offer my input. I hope that with future issues the great articles from a range of contributors can be enjoyed by everyone, we can learn and enjoy what we have on offer in Australia and abroad. I have already gathered some epic articles fo r Issue 2 and hope to land a few more before the June deadline. I am also appealing to our readers to please submit your content & short stories that will suit our saltwater magazine.

good vibes and positivity none of this would be possible. Thank you to all our advertisers that had the guts to back this first issue, I hope this is going to be a long and prosperous journey for us all. Please practise catch and release as often as possible to help sustain our incredible fisheries and also those that we visit. Be sure to like us on Instagram Facebook and subscribe to newsletter to stay up to date everything we are busy

and our with with.

Justin Webber Editor & Publisher

With the IF4 Fly Fishing Film Festival already underway the Australian fly fishing fraternity is a buzz with the new official selections. Some of my picks to look out for are “The Jungle's Edge”, “Pescadora” and of course April Vokey’s “The Dorado.” Finally, I hope you have enjoyed our magazine it has been a long journey to get here but I think that every issue from this one on will grow and eventually become a journal for Australian salt water fly fishermen. I will do my best to keep it interesting and fun with great photos and awesome articles, information and fly patterns. I want to thank everyone that helped get this first issue off the ground you all know who you are. Without their stories, photographs & general www.inthesaltflymag.com.au

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In The Salt - Issue #1  

A new fly fishing magazine dedicated to Australian Saltwater Fly Fishing & Travel. Full of fly stoke, photos, products, travel, comps & more...

In The Salt - Issue #1  

A new fly fishing magazine dedicated to Australian Saltwater Fly Fishing & Travel. Full of fly stoke, photos, products, travel, comps & more...

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