Sunday, August 30, 2009


The Beauty of Little Mountain Streams


Mick Hall

Sitting in my office doing those things that are necessary and tedious, it is difficult not to think of Spring and walking the banks of many of the little streams that surround the charming little village of Eildon in North Central Victoria where I live.

The steep-sided valleys that abound in this district hold some of the most picturesque mountain streams and to my mind, they are unequalled and stand alone. Their bubbling waters are home to both Brown and Rainbow Trout. Rarely larger than 500 grams, these magical little fish feed freely and often take the artificial fly with gusto.

Countless hours can be lost strolling their banks, watching the bird life and other animals going about their daily business. Flicking a fly so that it drifts around a partially submerged boulder or along the edge of some overhanging tussock just seems a pleasant thing to do. It does not seem to matter if you attract the attention of a trout or not, the beauty of just being there makes life worth living.

I personally have a very close affiliation with a little river not far from my home. Over the years I have become aware of its moods and how the seasons can change its character. Newly fallen trees will change the course of its flow. Pools that were once highly productive become dormant, and vice versa.

Pic by my close friend Don Wilson

To fish these water continuously as I do, I somehow feel I have developed a special relationship that I tend to believe is mutually shared. There are many fish that I have caught in this stream more than once; these trout have become like friends and when they are taken or die, there seems to be a loss of balance that takes some time to repair. I am a great believer in that old saying of the great Lee Wulff that a good fish is worth catching more than once. In today’s world, where it seems there are as many fishermen as fish, it is easy to believe in the philosophy of catch and release.

Pic Don Wilson

There are many firsts in life and most we cherish. To a fly fisher the first trout that actually takes your fly is one first that stays deeply embedded in your soul. It is not just the fish, but it is also the feeling of achievement, knowing that you can do it and that it’s a first stepping-stone to a lifetimes journey.

My Grandson's first trout on a fly (so proud).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Joseland Society

I can tell you there is no secret handshake in this organisation but there is at times a lot of side glancing, a touch of greed, extreme competition, envy and heaps of one-up-man-ship. Hopefully by now you would be thinking, 'what the hell is the Joseland society?' Well it is a book collecting club specialising in fishing books. Why the name Joseland? It was named after Howard Joseland who wrote Australia's first book on fly fishing way back in 1921 "Angling in Australia and Elsewhere".

A small group of ardent collectors started the society around twelve to fifteen years ago. Back in those days we wanted to keep the numbers to a minimum of twenty. Security was one of the reasons as some of those guys had a serious investment in their collections, plus we wanted something easy to manage. It was not long before the word got out that such an organisation had been started and a waiting list for membership began to grow. I suppose you could say we were a little surprised at the reaction that it had generated. Well times change and today the Joseland Society is open to all those who share the same interest and its membership is now Australia wide.

Joselands, as it is loosely termed nowadays, only meets around three times a year. The meetings are held over dinner followed by a book auction. They are light on business, heavy on eating good food, talking books and buying books and occasionally some fishing tackle.

Over the last few years we have seen a dramatic increase in the collecting of Australian and New Zealand books. Some of the rare works that have come across the podium for auction at Joselands in recent times has been incredible and the prices paid for these rare works is somewhat breathtaking, running into the many thousands of dollars. That is truly a result of supply and demand. At any meeting books can sell for just a few dollars, right up to serious investments; that's the way book collecting is.

The Joseland Society has produced two 'members only' books, one a reprint one of Angling in Australia and Eslewhere by Howard Joseland (40 copies) leather bound and boxed with a fly (The Bredbo designed by Joseland in 1896 tied by Mick Hall and inserted on the fly page).

The second work was a new work published by Michael Stevens of Launceston, 1998, illustrated by Trevor Hawkins, entitled Memories of the Shannon Rise by Roy Dean. This time only 38 were produced. Again this work was leather bound with a Shannon Moth tied by Mick Hall inserted into the inside of the front cover.

As you can imagine both these works are the envy of most, if not all, serious collectors. There is even talk of other works being produced and I guess we will only have to wait and see what eventuates.

Can you join the Joselands? Yes, you can. Contact me and I can put in touch with the Secretary; it is no big deal.

Mick Hall

Saturday, August 15, 2009


'Time, tide and rising trout wait for no man'.

Arthur Ransome

Seasons come and go and with each season new lessons are learnt; some we hang on to, others just drift way back into the memory.
Trout caught or lost also leave an implant; a perfect example of this happened a while ago.

It was on a Monday the 28th of November 2005; I was fishing on the Rubicon River with Lyndon Webb and showing him a short line nymphing technique that I frequently use. As I stood beside Lyndon in knee deep water watching intently as his nymph drifted back down towards him, I felt a slight bump on my right leg. I took no notice as I was too absorbed in what was going on, until it happened again. To my utter surprise when I eventually did look down, a large trout had taken up station beside my leg. The fish would have been close to 2 kilo in size. Those who fish this wonderful little river in Central Eastern Victoria will know that this is a very large fish for that water.

Did we catch it? No, it simply swam over towards Lyndon and slowly drifted down away from our range of sight.

Each time you walk past a point of battle the scene is flashed back and it in turn leaves the hope that your opponent is still there, maybe just a little larger than last season and maybe a little wiser. Such is the life of a trout and the trout angler.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I met Nik via the Sexyloops fly tying forum where he is a frequent participant. His passion is tying flies and of course fly fishing.

Nik lives in Sweden and he has taken an interest in our Aussie bugs and flies that I and others have posted on the Sexyloops site.

A while back Nik posted a pic of some really small flies tied on size 28 hooks. I jokingly told Nik that he could do a couple of hundred for me. Well would you believe he sent me a few different patterns and that Tiemco hook that he used is small, I mean really small. On the other hand he also posted a pattern that he had designed from a pic of a Kossie Dun from the website and to my surprise that turned up in the package as well. What’s the point, you may ask. Well it is well and good looking at pictures of flies on the website but to hold them in your hand is another matter.

I must tell you that Nik as far as a life time goes has not been tying all that long, with only a handful of years under his belt. Looking at his flies and the skill level that he has attained over that period is exceptional and I can tell you I am looking forward to see what else comes from the vice of this young man.

Congratulations Nik and thank you for the flies, they will not be fished but added to my collection.

One very small Caenis and a tiny Red Tag,

one of Australia's favourites.

Orange Spinner

A small Spider pattern

Many thanks Nik.



Saturday, August 8, 2009

EP Caddis - An Independant Review

Emails come and go but every now and then one has a bit of a story to tell as this one does, from a young Melbourne fly tying flyficker who loves the sport as much as I do. Read his story, it may be of interest to you.

The EP Long Horn Granite Caddis Tied & Designed by Mick Hall

You can call me a cynic, especially when something new in fly tying comes around but if it is recommended by Mick Hall then it is worth a second look. To start with, the colours lend themselves to most of the flies I tie and if they are not exact then I can mix them.

This wasn’t the case when I tied Mick Hall’s “long horned granite caddis”, the colour available in EP Trigger Point International Fibre was spot on. I tied up a couple for my next visit to the Rubicon river but mother nature dealt us a severe blow and I put my fly fishing on hold in that area for a while.

Left: Enrico Puglisi Trigger Point Dark Dun winging material

The little flies stayed in my fly box until I had the opportunity to travel to Austria where I decided to sneak one in my travel fly fishing box. Too accompany this fly were the standard deer/elk hair caddis ties that I favoured at the time as well as some mayflies and various dries.

It was pouring upon arriving at our destination, the Murzz River. There was no hatch so I tied on a deer hair caddis going on my local companion’s advice. With only one trout landed, I decided to change to the mayfly pattern. This got a little more attention but the flies were only lasting a couple of trout each before being destroyed, it was time to rummage through the fly box. I tied on the long horned caddis out of curiosity, I could always go back to the mayfly pattern if it was did not catch fish.

What happened next was nothing short of amazing. I caught trout after trout on this fly. A couple of false casts and it floated as new, it held its shape and appearance all day long. Best of all, towards the end of the day polaroided another trout that took this fly. To my delight, it turned out to be my first grayling. I then repeated this a minute later with the next fish I polaroided and happily landed another grayling.

The Granite Caddis from the Goulburn River in Victoria Australia

This was a really robust little fly with the wing giving the exact grey mottled appearance of the real insect, furthermore it lasted over four hours and was pounded by more than twenty fish, rainbow trout, brown trout and grayling.

I’ve gone from cynic to converted and can’t wait to tie more flies with EP Trigger Point International Fibres.

Ben Le Vagueresse

Sunbury Victoria


Footnote: Thank you Ben. You can read the full story of the Granite Caddis and more on

Friday, August 7, 2009


Tying Catskill-Style Dry Flies

As many of you who visit my website would be aware, one of our guest fly tyers, Mike Valla, has written a book about the history of the dry flies of the Catskills and his close friends the late Walt and Winnie Dette; Mike tells how they taught him to tie flies and fish the many streams that encompass this world famous region.

Well, guess what, I just received my copy and all I can say it is simply fantastic, great photography, great layout and production work.

Mike has done a wonderful job in writing a book that is destined to become not only a very wanted addition to any library but a true classic.

Famed American author Eric Leiser writes of this book:

“Valla’s insatiable desire for perfection shows in this text. He has done his homework”.

You may say I am a little biased in my review because Mike is a friend of mine and that I am in this book but I can honestly say this it is an honour to be included in a work of this calibre. If you are into the Catskills, its history its fly tyers and those other fly fishing legends that have thrown a fly over these waters, then this book is a must for you.

Mike, congratulations, a job well done.

You can order Mike's Book direct from the publishers:

Headwater Books for$49.95 us.

The ISBN 978-1-93475-01-9