Talking Tactics What line for shore based lake fishing ?

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    Red Maple

    My first attempt of lake fishing at Bronte Lagoon , I managed to catch two fish. My setup was 6 wt floating line with lightly weighted streamers. I have tried a few times since , but I haven’t caught any more. I have been using the same tactics, wadding out thigh deep and flogging the water. Casting out as far as I can , fishing horizontal to the shore and casting back to the shore ( hope that makes sense).

    My main question is should I stick with floating line ? Or do I need to get the flies deeper ?

    The waters I am fishing are Bronte, Penstock etc… I guess the depth I am fishing is 1 foot deep to 6 foot deep ?

    What fly line do you use ? Any other tips would be appreciated. Thanks



    First thing, don’t wade Bronte or Penstock unless you absolutely have to.  Most of the fish will be within just a few metres of the bank, in the back marshes, behind the spike rushes, against the bank, even under the bank.  This is particular true early season with flooded margins, and basically applies to all Tasmanian lakes.  Too often I see mainland visitors wading straight out, up to their gonads and start flogging the water, and not catching anything.  I always start about 5-10 m back from the edge, shrubbery permitting, so only the leader and tippet land on the water, and then I slowly advance, covering the water if fossicking or working towards a foraging fish.  I rarely wade deeper than knee deep, unless there’s an established rise further out.  I’ll sometimes wade if polaroiding into shore.  If the water is well up in Woodward’s Bay or the Longshore, when the fish are frogging, then wading, stealth wading, will be necessary.

    Wigram commented about Penstock wading in his 1938 book “Trout and Fly in Tasmania”:

    “Wading is seldom necessary as a number of trout will usually oblige by feeding within casting distance of the shore.  If the fish are rather too far out to be covered by the average cast, it is wise to wade out to some selected spot (a stump or a log, of which there are many) and fish out the rise with as little moving about as possible.  Deep wading is on no practical value; besides, in many cases it spoils the fishing for others.”

    True story – I was working my way down the western side of Penstock mid-spring chasing fish amongst the tussocks, barely getting my boots wet.  A guide turned up with a couple of clients and proceeded to march straight through the inner foraging zone, out through the spike rushes and started flogging the lake proper in waist deep water.  I couldn’t believe what a saw.  I got within 50 m of where they entered the water and pulled up a very nice brown in barely boot deep water.  The commotion of the fish thrashing around trying to find an escape route got the attention of the clients.  I shan’t forget their look; they weren’t staring at me but at their guide.

    As for sinking lines, I’ve used them at Penstock and Bronte, but long long ago.  I got fed up trying to get the line unsnagged or cleaning off weed and algae.  Both lakes are too shallow for sinking lines from the shore.  They are not that deep, especially when Bronte is below -1.0 m.  Stick with the floating line and stay in close.



    Intermediate fly line with sink rate between 1 to 1.5 i.p.s is very good option  if you  want to fish bit deeper but not too deep. Strip staight away to keep flies just under the surface ( or waves ) or countdown to get them deeper. You can also get away with shorter and simpler straight flourcarbon leader.

    They even come in clear or camo clear coating, perfect for weedy shallow lakes ( Airflo Clear Camo Fast  intermediate,  SA Sonar Stillwater Clear Camo, Cortland 444 Clear Camo intermediate just to give you example of few lines).

    Check out Lubin Pfeiffer and Tom Jarman on Youtube on lake fishing tactics and their gear setups.



    I totally endorse DrGraham’s comments. Keep wading to an absolute minimum and use a floating line particularly for waters like Bronte, Penstock etc.



    Great advice.

    With the 5 or 6wt, what length rod do you favour here? 9′, 9’6″or 10′?





    10, without a doubt.



    Over the decades, I’ve acquired and used a number of 8’ 6” and 9’, 5, 6 and even 7 wt rods for lakes.  I’ve tried longer and found no advantage at all over a 9’ rod, especially when short distance casting.  The rods I mostly use now are a Douglas DXF 9’ 5wt as my main rod for small flies, wet, dry, nymph, and a DXF 9’ 6wt when using bigger flies, e.g. streamers, or when I need more control in windy conditions.  I also use a medium action Composite Development 7’ 6” boron 4wt for dawn patrol when I need to gently present small flies to wary fish close in.  It’s also good for getting under trees or getting into tight corners – great for short distance casting between tussocks and narrow channels. It might seem light but it still has the backbone to handle 4 lb fish.  I use Rio Lines, with a 6 or 7’ braided tapered leader, old style hollow type (rare as hen’s teeth now) which will nicely turn over a single 6-8’ 3x tippet, or a step down to a finer tippet.  I use nylon.  I see no point in fluorocarbon.  The difference in specific gravity, and hence sink rate, between nylon (1.14) and fluorocarbon (1.78) is negligible compared with a steel hook (7.8), brass bead (8.6), lead wire (11.35) or tungsten bead (19.22).  I usually want the fly to be on, in or just under the surface.  If I need any weighting, a small brass bead is more than adequate for shallow water.



    Everything the good Dr prescribed above in terms of staying back from the water.

    My best sessions at Bronte I doubt if the line touched the water.

    I also recall a local at Lt Pine voicing his opinion of tourists spooking all the fish from the shallows as they waded out to their butts to flog the water.


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