by Jon Novoselac


“Any luck?”

“N-n-n-ope,” I replied, teeth chattering.

“Wouldn’t think so. No point fishing today ’till later. Pack up your gear and come up to the Shearers’ Quarters for some coffee by the fire.”

I agreed with him before he even finished his sentence. It was so cold, my numb fingers wouldn’t obey my command to unhook my wading belt. After fumbling with it for a moment, I gave in and drove up the short path to the Shearers’ Quarters, still wearing my waders.

I stumbled out of my car and Jeff, the property owner, showed me around his perfect little site. His grandfather, Charles, built their Federation home in 1905 when he established the property. Charles’ innovative ideas improved the capacity of the land from half a sheep to five sheep per half hectare. Jeff built on the good work started by his grandfather; they both received Order of the British Empire awards for their pasture and environment protection efforts. 

The Shearers’ Quarters is budget accommodation that oozes character. Built out of stone in 1960, there’s a large living and dining area with an open fireplace, and an entire wall covered with photos of trout.

Photo of fireplace

Jeff’s property also boasts a lovely outdoor barbecue and community washhouse. It was too bloody cold to use either of them.

Image of barbeque area

As I thawed out by the fire, he shared with us a little of his knowledge about trout. And to be frank, I think Jeff’s forgotten more about trout than I’ll ever know.

“Trout eat four times a day. And by my count, you should head out around, say, 4pm.”

He reasoned that trout live their lives by lunar phases. Sometimes they’ll be on the chew. At other times, well, you’re just wasting your time.

Did his advice prove useful? Yes siree Bob.

The first fish, below. A little over two pounds, it surrendered to a black Fuzzle Bugger which was given to me by Amanda. Isn’t she just lovely?

Photo of first fish

Here’s my best fish of the trip: a four pound rainbow. This one was fooled by a Hamill’s Killer featuring a split-shot a couple of feet above it, retrieved as slowly as I could manage.

Photo of second fish

It took a bit of effort to land – my four-weight rod and cobweb-thin tippet had me more nervous than a prize turkey in November. Thanks to the patience and calming influence of Singleton Fly Fishing Club member and friend, Rod, I finally beached the fish. 

In summing-up this trip, I wanted to write something that made me sound witty, funny and experienced. But to tell you the truth, some basic knowledge of the lunar cycle and three simple words will do just fine:

  1. deep
  2. slow
  3. retrieve.