April Vokey in Ballarat

On the Monday night of Victoria’s Labour Day long weekend, the Ballarat Fly Fishers Club were honoured to host April Vokey for an awesome evening. April is the flyfishing equivalent of a movie star and from the moment she arrived at the clubrooms with Charles, her Sydneysider fiancé, the room was abuzz with energy.

April & Charles

April & Charles

This articulate Canadian was soon chatting and mingling her way through the hundred-strong audience who were there to see her presentation on swinging flies for wild steelhead. The presentation was well received and definitely had me thinking about how I could adapt the techniques to places like the Goulburn, Mitta Mitta and Swampy Plain tailwaters. And perhaps I should even learn some Spey casting, which no longer seems such a foreign concept – particularly after April’s description of landing an embarrassing number of fish on the Tongariro River just minutes after four upstream nymphers had flogged the same section of water to a froth.

April addresses a keen audience while BFFC President Chris Doody looks on.

April addresses a keen audience while BFFC President Chris Doody looks on.

For others who attended, the vision of numerous 20 lb wild steelhead tail-walking for thirty metres after being hooked will inevitably result in a trip to British Columbia, for there is no other cure available!

To describe April as passionate about wild British Columbia steelhead – and fishing for them – would be an understatement and her knowledge and experience make her a genuine authority on this great fish. I would even go as far as describing her as one of the most passionate, knowledgeable and engaging flyfishers I have ever met – as well as being a lovely person with a great sense of humour.

The hundred-odd audience was one of the largest the club has hosted.

The hundred-odd audience was one of the largest the club has hosted.

Following the presentation, April stayed around signing caps and chatting with everyone, keen to learn as much about Australian flyfishing from us, as we were to learn from her. Something tells me that it won’t be too long before we see her holding a fly-caught Murray cod.

John Billing, Ross Virt (Kaos Cod Flies), Ash Dunsmore (Harfin Reels) and FlyStream's Philip Weigall were among the many who enjoyed a great night.

John Billing, Ross Virt (Kaos Cod Flies), Ash Dunsmore (Harfin Reels) and FlyStream’s Philip Weigall were among the many who enjoyed a great night.

All in all it was a fantastic night enjoyed by everyone who attended, including apparently April, who was the very last person to leave!

We couldn't have asked for a better venue (except maybe BC!)

We couldn’t have asked for a better venue (except maybe BC!)

Special thanks go out of course to April Vokey and her company FlyGal Ventures for making the night possible. But also to Oliver Dickston from Patagonia Australia for being so supportive, Nick Taransky, Ashleigh Dunsmore from Harfin Reel Co., Ross Virt from Kaos Cod Flies, and Mick Hall and Jarvis Walker who all contributed some amazing raffle prizes. The night helped raise plenty of much-needed funds to help cover the costs of BFFC members competing in international flyfishing  competition.