Just in time for some holiday fishing inspiration,Tasmanian Fly Fisher, John Clark, takes our Lucky 7 Interview and shares some of his beautiful photography with us this week.
This will be our last Lucky 7 Interview for the year, and we’ll kick the series back off again in mid January 2013.
1. What’s your name and where are you from?
I’m John Clark from the NW coast of Tasmania. I’m originally from the north island, but Tassie is definitely the place to be for a trout fisher.
2. What part do you play in the fishing community today?
I’m part of the Devonport Fly Fishing Club and it’s my role each year to produce a DVD of the annual fly tying weekend up in the highlands of Tasmania where a trout guide spends some time with a bunch of us showing their “secret” patterns. We like to think so anyway. On top of that I help out as a volunteer instructor at the annual fly fishing school at Bronte Lagoon which usually sees over 100 people camping out for a week attending classes, fishing and enjoying being on the water.
3. What was it that really got you into fishing and how old were you?
I fished a little as a kid without much success and it wasn’t until my late 30’s that a mate took me under his wing and got me going fly fishing. I was pretty burned out at the time working crazy hours and my mental health was heading south and it was just the thing I needed to decompress.
Since then I’ve become slightly more than passionate – obsessed would be more accurate as I now own two Hobie’s and half a 4.5m Polycraft with a mate. My eight year old girl, and two boys at 10 and 12 love to get out with me as well so it’s becoming a dads ‘n’ lads or dads ‘n’ daughter thing too which is a great chance to find out what’s going on in their world. They think it’s pretty cool to get out of school to go fishing too.
4. What is your greatest fishing memory?
I camped on the shore of Lake Echo with a bunch of mates and it snowed overnight. In the morning I was too cold to sleep and got up while it was still dark. The Hobie Outback was still rigged up from the night before but now with a light dusting of snow covering it.
I thought “bugger it. Can’t sleep so might as well be on the water” and jumped in. I landed a small brown trout pretty quickly down deep in the drowned trees and then headed out a little deeper and started trolling a big Rapala since I thought the “munters” would be about before sun up. I trolled along the drowned tree line as close as I dared to lose an $18 hardbody and the strike felt like I’d hit a snag. I came around with the kayak and started to lift on this fish but every time I got it toward the surface it peeled line back to the bottom. I’m only using a 2-4kg Berkley Dropshot with 6lb braid and leader so I put as much hurt on it as I could but the sun had risen over the horizon while I actually fought the fish. I managed to get it on my lap and photograph it in the light of the new day. The buck went 5lb and at this kind of size they get pretty carnivorous and nocturnal so fortunately for me I was up and at it early.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The older I get the more of a family guy I am. Plus it’s easier now the kids are a bit bigger. I love hanging out with them and mucking about on the local rivers and lakes and here in Tassie we’ve got plenty to explore. I reckon in five years time, the boys will be teaching me stuff. I’ve toyed with the idea of comp angling but I’m not sure I want to turn my passion into something competitive. I’m hoping that my river skills get up to speed enough in a few years that a trip to NZ chasing trophy trout would be worthwhile. Who knows; in five years time I might be building my own rods?! I’m pretty keen to start getting more footage of our fishing trips so a GoPro Hero 3 is making me salivate right now.
6. What’s top of the “bucket list”?
The top would have to be a trip up to Alaska chasing trout, salmon and maybe a bit of shooting as well. I can’t imagine it can get any better than the wilderness they have up there. Imagine casting to a trout and trying to keep an eye out behind you for a grizzly who’s not too fussy about whether he eats you OR the trout!
7. Who do you look up to in the fishing community?
I look up to Neil Grose a former trout guide, author and current editor of Victoria-Tasmania Fishing Monthly. He’s unwittingly mentored me through his books and recently I had the chance to take him out in my boat and we had a fantastic day on the water. I also hold in highest regard members of the Devonport Fly Fishing Club for being so generous with their time helping not only me, but also my kids. It takes a pretty special person to be able to work with kids helping them cast, but also encouraging and inspiring them. Some of the members are so old they don’t fish much anymore, and just spend their time passing on their knowledge and love of the sport. Oh yeah and Hank “snap it” Patterson for taking the piss out of what can be a pretty serious sport in some parts.