Everything always starts innocently enough. Two mates enjoying the afternoon sun, while wolfing down burritos at the infamous Bondi beach.
“Maybe I could join you on your next fishing trip.”
“Yeh, I could film you and we could make a short documentary.”
Daniel Mylonas, a Sydney designer and hipster, had always been curious about flyfishing. Although not a fisherman himself, he had recently branched out from design into film and had a high appreciation for the art of the sport.
With my hands messy from the overflowing burrito, I said, “Where do you want to go?”
And within the next 15 minutes, between mouthfuls of beef and sour cream, we had planned our ten day film and fly-fishing adventure. And we had chosen to explore the wild, beautiful and barren region of flyfishing heaven: Patagonia.
But during the following months, over more burritos and even more discussion, our plans became as large as our excitement. Without thinking too much, we booked two more trips and expanded our adventure across two other countries.
Once confirmed, the plan was simple. We were to fish and film the three trout meccas of the southern hemisphere in one summer: Patagonia in December, Tasmanian Western Lakes in January and South Island New Zealand in February. Three meccas, three months. Needless to say I was a tad excited.
Our journey to Patagonia in December was amazing. The culmination of the people, the wine, the food, the scenery, the culture and of course the fishing, made me wish time could stand-still. Our initial days in Chile were cold and slow, but as the weather improved, so did the fishing. By the time we crossed the Andes into Argentina, the weather was clear and dry. Caddis hatches larger than I have ever seen ushered in great days on the river. Brook trout with a masterpiece of colour were the climax of the highland lakes. A tangible pain hit my heart when it was time to leave. We hardly scraped the surface and I so badly wanted to extend the trip!
Tasmania was a new experience for me. I had always intended to visit the famous Western Lakes, but never made time to do so. We planned the trip for the end of January in the hope of some nice weather.
I set to the lakes with local angler, Brendan Turriff and what I experienced was nothing short of world-class. Sight fishing in the endless web of tarns soothed my every desire for a good day of dry fly action. This trip was topped off by an all too memorable trophy moment, and time will reveal the full story. In short, the lakes are a fishery not to be missed.
Now for dessert. The South Island of New Zealand has become one of my world favourite trout fisheries. It was an essential feature on our trout mecca tour. During our trip, the rain fell and the wind blew hard but this just made the good moments all the more heavenly. Aggressive rainbows taking big cicada patterns from the surface; leisurely sipping browns on slow moving pools; and the back country experience: it makes me wonder why I still live on mainland Australia.
When people ask about our trout tour, and my favourite location to fish (as if that were as easy a question as my favourite colour) I normally say that, Patagonia is the ultimate holistic experience, South Island NZ is the ultimate flyfishing experience and Tasmania is somewhere in between.
And that’s why I love the sport. It’s not just the fish, but everything else that comes with it. And lucky for us, trout often choose to live in some of the world’s most stunning locations.
It was a summer to remember, and the countless hours of film editing have been an endless source of good memories.
The filming experience was new and at times proved to be tough. I believe that a successful day’s flyfishing is one where you find rhythm without any hindrance. I quickly learnt that filming trout and their capture was a drawn-out process. I’ve kept my tales here deliberately short and I’ll save the full story for the release of our summer adventure. Stay tuned.
Special thanks to Patagonia Australia, Thomas & Thomas Fly Rods, Rio Products, Harfin Reel Co. and Costa Sunglasses for the support of this summer fun.