Lord of the Rigs : One rig to rule them all

Ahhh….. my title puns just keep getting worse but I can’t help it.

Well, I’m going to preface this entire blog by saying that most of it is mere observation as I really can’t claim to be an expert at all even if I did manage to catch some really good Trout this weekend in the Snowy Mountains. The first big observation of mine is that if you thought Bream fishos were cagey and tight lipped, then Trout fisherman are right up there with them. Lureandfly.com is not about secrets though and as much as a few people weren’t huge on the idea of me writing anything about this type of fishing the fact is it really isn’t much of a secret at all.  4330

I am talking about the Glo-bug rig. Whether you are talking about using it on a spin rod or a fly rod it has been around for ages. I remember how much I wanted a Millerods Jig Flicker from the Harbord Tackle Supply catalogue (the one with the three ladies game fishing on the cover…. anyone who remembers that one shout out!) when I was 14 or 15 years old.Thats more than 20 years ago people. They were making rods with this kind of technique in mind. As for the location… Snowy Mountains rivers that flow into the lakes. Google (or Bing) maps people…… They are as obvious as hell.

The super new technique

The super new technique

At its simplest it is a brightly coloured ball of fluff or a “Glo-bug” that is meant to represent a Trout egg or small bundle of eggs then tied off the bottom of that hook is a dropper to some sort of nymph fly. Voila, add the needed weight with split shots and add water. At this time of year the larger lake dwelling Trout move up the rivers in an attempt to spawn. Brown Trout first, followed by the Rainbows.

Super secret river

Super secret river

Now from here I get a little blurry on exactly why this rig works because as a general rule the fish are not in feeding mode but this past weekend it was the only thing that caught fish and it caught a lot of them. Whether the female trout see what they think are eggs coming from upstream that are presumably not their eggs, and in a survival of the fittest kind of way try and take them out of circulation by eating them or they figure the eggs have not bound to the river stones, which once fertilised must do and are useless and figure they may as well put them to some use. Again by eating them. The males definitely  try and do the business with the Glo-bug sometimes and get hooked in the bum. 4294

Again, as a pure observation from a layman who is learning as he goes, the nymph below almost seemed like a second bite of the cherry if the Glo-bug hook missed and more than a couple I caught were foul hooked on the nymph part of the rig. Maybe there are times when the fish are eating it but it didn’t seem that way this weekend. 4288

My second big observation for the weekend was the animosity between those anglers fly fishing and those with spinning tackle which I thought was absolutely hilarious because both sets were using the exact same rig…. and I mean exact same. Some of the fly fishers even had more split shots on than could actually be cast at all and simply used the extra length of the rod to pick the rig up and plop it back upstream rather than winding in a casting out. Me, I did a bit of both and found both had their strengths in different situations. The deeper, faster runs were definitely for the spin rod and the shallow water rapids and backs of pools were for the fly rod. Maybe it’s because I’m no expert but all my fish on the fly felt so much more special (probably because I’m crap at it) 4303

Using the rig is easy enough. You simply cast it upstream and let it float down with the current as natural as possible and watch for the bite. I found this much easier with fly as a strike indicator would simply make what was very definitely a move the wrong direction in the whereas with spin gear it could be a pause or the line pulling away. If you don’t get a bite simply present it back up current and drift it down again. Over and over until you get the perfect drift through where it needs to be.

The Eucumbene Hilton

The Eucumbene Hilton

It sounds totally stupid but there are plenty of times the rig will get stuck in the river stones as it drifts down and you come up tight to it and then other times that rock then starts to shake its head and run off down stream. My biggest for the weekend did just that. it felt like I came up tight to a big rock, it shook it’s head, came up and jumped then tailwalked in a way that would make any Barra of Marlin jealous (which isn’t usual at all). 4273

At the moment it certainly seems as thought the Trout bug isn’t going away for me any time soon.

13 responses to “Lord of the Rigs : One rig to rule them all

  1. Hey Joshy,
    yep I so wanted a Miller jig flicker after reading a Starlo article in Modern Fishing mag back in the eighties, never did get one. Anyway planned a trip after the article motivated me and lo and behold who is there at the Eucumbene but Starlo, Miller and Booth doing exactly as the article explained, times haven’t changed.
    I used to fly fish (globug) the spawn run on the Kanangra River in the late nineties early 2000’s up until the drought hit and they could’nt get out of the dam. It was a nine hour walk in and the same out but uphill, a real killer walk with a full load. The water is pristine and drinkable, I spent eight days in there one year in July living on the trout I caught, and one day an Eagle swooped down and took a hooked trout right in front of us . That year the highway at Blackheath was closed for a couple of days due to snow and bad weather but I knew nothing about it down below, those were the days my friend.
    Buz

    • I can almost guarantee we read the same article in the late eighties. I was searching for the pic of Boothy all rugged up holding a Trout that I remember so well. That sounds like an awesome story going into the Karangra Al…..

  2. Great piece Josh, really gets me thinking about cancelling my plans for the weekend and trying to catch some trout but seriously, “Lord of the Rigs”?

  3. Hi Josh,that was nice of you to let me have a couple of casts on the Sunday morning,the photo turned out pretty good too I see.

    • Thanks for taking the photo mate 🙂 We went up there again on friday and met another guy you and Scott went to school with in the same spot. It wasn’t quite as red hot as it was that weekend but still plenty of fish caught.

  4. Ah, the Eucumbene spawn run — those were the days! I was recently asked a question about Harbord Tackle Supply that I didn’t have the answer to, so I Googled the shop name and came across this thread.

    While we were at Eucumbene fishing, it was less about catching fish. Pre-dawn starts with the 4WD windows covered in newspaper to beat the ice; the wheels chocked with rocks and the handbrake left off because the cable would freeze; wading just that teeny bit too deep and having your thigh waders fill with icy cold water; a tot of Drambuie from a hip flask to celebrate every successful trout landing; fish freezing to the bank in minutes; line seizing in the guides every half dozen casts; #0025 drag grease turning to goo; a mid-morning celebratory beer from a six pack left beneath the engine so it didn’t freeze, and then back to the cabin for a heart attack-inducing fry-up of bacon, eggs, sausages, chops, tomatoes and more beer. This was followed by a nap before returning to the river late arvo for another session. Dinner was more of the same, with trout sometimes thrown in for variety.

    The key to better fishing was a ‘fresh’ coming down the river. If the height rose overnight, you were in for a torrid time. Otherwise it was a case of just putting in the hours and the miles, although some pools and runs were better than others.

    The trout season ran much longer back then too, which may have addressed the overcrowding issue that seems to be a problem these days. Fact was, there weren’t a lot of people about (man, was it cold in late June!), although weekends could become busy. It had quite a social atmosphere too, and over the years you’d recognise the same faces working the same runs. It was nice to sidle up for a chat, flick out in front of them and pluck a trout out, especially if they weren’t fishing glo bugs and nymphs.

    Some people were using Celtas (and not catching much), others were fishing minnows (hand-painting spots on Rapalas also kept us amused in the evenings), but the glo bug and the trailing nymph was king.
    I’m sure the late Andrew Brzoz of the Australian Fly Fisherman in Rushcutters Bay used to despair whenever we turned up at his shop in May each year like some outlaw bikie gang, to buy up his stocks of black and brown nymphs and orange fluff. Of an evening it was a lot of fun drinking beer, repairing rigs and creating new flies, the weirdest of which came from the tassel off a travel rug — and it caught fish too!

    I was editing Modern Fishing at the time and the downside of all this frivolity was the incredibly nasty, hate-filled letters from fly fishers aghast at us fishing the spawn run — and then telling everyone about it in print. One guy from Cooma, who we nicknamed the Trout Nazi, was especially vitriolic. Unlike some of the others, at least he had the balls to sign and include his address on the letter. There was muttered talk about stuffing his letterbox full of trout heads as we left town, but it never came to pass.

    Ian’s wonderful rods made fishing difficult conditions so much easier, but I wonder what it would be like to fish the spawn run these days with micro-fine braid and fluorocarbon leader? Back then, fluoro yellow two kilo Platypus pre-test was the line of choice, but this was eventually superseded by even brighter coloured two kilo Siglon. The only reel to use was a Daiwa SS spin reel, which was about the first long cast spool design we’d ever seen in Australia, and made casting those delicate rigs almost a pleasure.

    Great times for sure, but i don’t think i could handle the cold these days!

    Glen.

    • Wow Glen, it’s such an honour that you found, and not only read but left a comment here. I remember reading so much of your stuff when I was younger. In fact, one little editorial you did about fishing a small system with Steve Starling whilst travelling south to Bermagui used to be laminated to the inside cover of my high school folder.

      I wish I could bribe you with a bottle of Drambuie to come down and try it again when the season opens. I know I’ll be somewhere in the Snowies chasing Trout once it does.

      • For a bottle of that hard to find chocolate flavoured Bundy, you might just have me!
        I’ll give a shout out to Barra and Starlo – I’m sure they have a mile of great memories worth hearing about too.

  5. Ah yes, those were indeed the days, Boothy! So many great memories.

    Frank Prokop got me started on “drift rigging”, using little leadhead jigs with squirrel or possum hair skirts. I’ll never forget arriving at Frank’s van at Providence Portal the first year we did it. I’d spun a stretch of the upper Murrumbidgee on the way down and was pleased as punch with the brace of 13 inch trout I’d landed on Celtas. Frank opened the door to let me in and asked how I’d done. I held up my troutlets and replied “got a couple of nice pan-sized ones on the way here!” Frank raised one eyebrow, let out a long “Hmmmmm” and flicked open the door of the caravan fridge. As I gazed in awe at a couple of beautiful, 2 kilo browns, he offered the comment that “some people obviously had smaller pans than others”… It was his version of “Bazinga”… and come to think of it, there’s definitely something a little Sheldon Cooper about Frank!

    A season or two later we got into the whole Glo Bug and Nymph routine, along with the “Spotted Dog” and “Night Fighter” hand-customised Rapalas, which performed really well a little earlier in March and April. By mid-May it was all drift-riggng with Glo Bugs and Nymphs.

    Like I said… Sooooo many memories. Thanks for re-kindling a few.

  6. Haha – great read guys – is that really me in that pic? Looks like some young bloke. Actually that pic was taken way, way up in the gorge on a nice day; I’ve fished up in that narrow steep-walled country when it was sleeting and blowing so hard the wind would bend the rod more than a big trout, and simply impossible to fish other than in-between gusts. Didn’t worry the fish though – and yes, it was on a nice rise of water level which is why I even walked up there.
    Those certainly were the days… but as for the question to those rods work in the modern era? Yes, but I can’t say too much! (Although the braid lines have their pro’s and con’s…) 😉
    Might see you on the river in October then, eh??!

    • You’ll definitely see me up there in October 🙂

      Maybe I can borrow one of your original Jigflickers for the day and live out my 20 year old dream 😉

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