Christopher Bassano Australian Fly Range

 

Mayfly Tackle is proud to deliver custom fly ranges developed specifically for Australia by local experts and tied to the high standards of Fulling Mill. Each of our local guides and fly tying gurus has their own range of flies, which appear below along with some commentary on the best way to fish each pattern.

 

Christopher Bassano

About Christopher Bassano

Christopher has fished extensively throughout the world in both fresh and salt water. A guide with over 20 years experience, he has a knack of finding fish for clients. He has guided in the north of Australia chasing species such as sailfish, black marlin, giant trevally, tuna, queenfish and barramundi. The fresh water of Tasmania, however, is his home and Christopher has fished practically every piece of water that Tasmania has to offer.

In 2006, Christopher was the 'Coach' of the Australian Fly Fishing Team at the World Fly Fishing Championships in Portugal. He recently won the Tasmanian Rivers Fly Fishing Championships (2010), is a Certified Casting Instructor with the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) and is currently the Vice President of the Trout Guides and Lodges Association of Tasmania (TGALT). He has written extensively for many fly fishing publications, both in Australia and internationally, and has been featured on the front cover of the Japanese "FlyFisher" magazine. Appearing on many fishing shows on both television and DVD's, Christopher also presented and produced the highly acclaimed "Tasmanian Fly Fishing Techniques Volumes 1 and 2" - Tasmania's best selling fly fishing DVDs.

Black Spinner

Bassano's Spinner - Black

The Black Spinner must surely be the most popular dry fly for polaroiding on Tasmanian lakes. If not, it should be. The fly is fine and as the name suggests, black – two things that help the fly to get eaten in tough, bright conditions. Along with the “Spun”, I am not sure that I need another fly when polaroiding in Tasmania. This Black Spinner is designed to sit correctly every time it lands and is deliberately tied ‘sparse’ to remove unnecessary material. This gives the fly a much finer, more lifelike profile and less reason for the fish to refuse it.  It also means that the fly does not float as well as many dry flies as it does not have the capacity to hold floatant very well. It is specifically designed to float long enough to remain on the surface for enough time for the fish to cruise over and eat it. It is not designed for rough weather or blind fishing.

Gaining drag free drifts on rivers will ensure that the fly remains dry and is eaten with gusto. Fish it along any high banks or when the winds are light and the natural spinners are coming out over the water.

This fly can be seen being eaten throughout the ‘Polaroiding’ segments of the “Tasmanian Fly Fishing Techniques” DVD’s. During the ‘Boat Polaroiding” segment, you will even see this fly eaten by a cruising fish after it has sunk. I do not suggest that this is a good way to fish the fly but certainly proves how effective it can be.

The fly must be fished by itself on a long leader and not in a team. Aim at the fish and cast with a delicate presentation.  As is the case with the Orange Spinner, the Black Spinner should be used on any waterway that contains mayflies. There are far too many to mention. One of the beauties of this fly is that you do not have to see the natural black spinners in order to tie it on. All you have to do is see the fish and during the summer and autumn months, it is rarely refused. You can’t have too many of these in your box. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA96910 10
COA96912 12

Group 16

Orange Spinner

Bassano's Spinner - Orange

There are many orange spinner patterns available and this one is a variant shown to me former Tasmanian fishing guide, Damian How. Originally it was used on the lowland rivers of northern Tasmania where the fish would eat it in preference to many other imitations.  Now, it is regularly tied on not only when fishing the rivers, but in all other lakes which contain orange spinners. These include Woods and Arthurs Lake, Lake Leak, Four Springs, Penstock, Bronte and many more.

The fly is designed to be fished when trout are eating spinners and as such, it is fished singly to sighted fish. The fly is designed to land the correct way every cast and closely represent the natural insect.  Fished in quiet backwaters on rivers or to jumping fish, this is the most effective orange spinner pattern I have ever used. These flies are under used by almost every Tasmanian angler and although the window of opportunity to use them may be small in comparison to many other flies in the range, when the fish are locked in on this colour of spinner, you must have it on the end of your long leader. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA96810 10
COA96812 12

Group 16

Possum Emerger

Bassano's Possum Emerger

Any Australian fly fisherman should already know about the effectiveness of this fly. My guiding diary over the past twenty years clearly shows that this fly has caught many, many more fish than any other fly I have. It is clearly my number one fish catcher and many of my clients have caught their first ever trout on this fly.

It was shown to me by the former owner of Rainbow Lodge, Neil Grose and I believe that it was invented by well-known Australian fly tier, Muz Wilson.  Its genius lies in its simplicity and effectiveness. I have seen a hundred different versions of this fly and they are no doubt all effective but it is one of those flies that should be kept simple. Possum fur floats extremely well when treated with floatant and this fly is 100% possum. It can be pulled hard on top of waves, fished static to cruising fish, be used singly or in a team and it will be equally effective. I have seen more than twenty fish caught and released on the exact same fly and still have it float perfectly. It is remarkable.

It is important to remember that at times, the fly will be very hard to see. It is best fished on the point in a team and will therefore be a long way past the end of your fly line. Being small and dark, it does not stand out well. This is a positive attribute. It is subtle and as such, it is eaten with confidence. You DO NOT HAVE TO SEE THIS FLY when fishing it. Simply look around the area in which you think the fly will be and when you see a confident rise, STRIKE…. it will be your fly! If the fly does sink at any stage, just fish it back to you slowly and be prepared for a classic nymph take.

Any lake that has mayflies on it will be perfect for this fly. I have not used it on rivers but perhaps I should. Once a lake has seen mayflies hatching on it during the season, this fly can be fished blind even when nothing is rising or hatching. Foam lines and slicks are other places where this fly catches a lot of fish. Remember that when all else fails, try moving it across the surface. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA96512 12
COA96514 14

Group 16

Bassano's Polaroiding Stick Caddis

Bassano's Polaroiding Stick Caddis

This fly was designed for sight fishing whether it be polaroiding or tailing fish. Almost every trout in Tasmania has a stick caddis in its stomach at all times. This fly sinks slowly which enables you to present the fly well ahead of a moving fish without spooking it. It was originally designed to be fished by itself on a leader of around twelve to fifteen feet. That is not to say it can’t be fished in a team of flies on the top dropper or in the middle. This fly works in every lake! Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA93814 14

Group 16

Bassano's Blind Caddis

Bassano's Blind Caddis

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA97512 12

Group 16

Bitch Variant

Bitch Variant

The "Bitch Variant” is also called “Fiona” from time to time. I was introduced to this fly by another one of Australia’s top fly fishermen, Royce Baxter from Ballarat. Royce, I believe had been shown this fly by Canadian angler and world championship silver medallist, Donald Tom. The fly is quite brash and fishes as such. I mostly fish this fly on the top dropper although many anglers have more success with it elsewhere in the cast. The red and black colour combination is a great fish catcher whether using dry flies or wets this fly is no different. Unlike ‘Shrek’ and ‘Humungous’, this is a fly that fish have a love/hate relationship with. When they are eating it, they will not look at another fly. If I have this fly on the cast for half an hour and have not caught a fish on it, I will take it off because when they want it, they will eat it and pull the rod from your hands in the process. It is a flashy fly and I find it more suitable to coloured water or overcast conditions. I could not count the number of times this fly has saved an unproductive days fishing by catching numerous fish when others are struggling. Again, if a less flashy fly is needed, simply cut some of the flash out of the tail. You will be taking this fly out of the back of a fish’s throat! Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA96210 10

Group 16

Carrot Fly

Carrot Fly

As with the ‘Claret Carrot’, this fly was introduced to Australia by Englishman, John Horsey. This is the original pattern. It is very, very easy to see on the water and is eaten extremely well over the summer months. If you have trouble seeing your flies, this is a good one for you. Orange continues to be a very productive colour in Australia and the extreme brightness of this fly is more than likely the reason why it is eaten so well. As with many flies, when the trout seem locked in on this fly, they seem to ignore all others to get to it. Pulling this fly across the surface in overcast and windy conditions is a productive way of waking fish up. Being carrot shaped, the fly pushes water well and the seals fur body aids floatability.  A generous amount of floatant applied at the start of the day is usually all that is needed no matter how many fish you catch on it. The fly works well in almost all of the popular Tasmanian waterways but interestingly, it is also very good on many of the western lakes in rough weather. The fact that this fly was designed for Rainbow Trout in the northern hemisphere and is equally at home catching wild Browns in Australia, means it is worth trying where ever you are. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA96412 12

Group 16

Claret Carrot

Claret Carrot

The carrot fly was introduced to Australia by famous English fisherman, John Horsey. The original pattern was orange in colour but all other colour variations were used. As claret is a particularly good colour in Australia when our mayflies are hatching, the claret carrot was always going to be successful. Originally designed as a ‘sighter’ fly when using a three fly rig, the claret carrot is very much a fish catcher on its own. This is a top dropper fly. The floatability of the fly makes it perfect for ‘pulling’ along the surface but it is eaten static just as often. Large sizes are the norm as the bulk adds to its effectiveness. When mayflies abound, this fly is at its best and even more so when there is a good wave. For one of my guides, this is the number one fly for ‘shark fishing’ on Great Lake because it is so easy to see and readily eaten. Although you can use this fly in a ‘nymph under dry’ rig, it is better used in a team and when you are trying to pull fish to the surface when there appears to be nothing happening. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA96312 12

Group 16

Claret Nymph

Claret Nymph (Unweighted)

Claret has been my favourite colour for decades when mayflies are around. This nymph is my number one on Little Pine, Arthurs, Woods and Penstock. It needs to be fished very slowly or even static on a long leader. A slow figure of 8 retrieve is deadly. For me, this is a top dropper or point fly depending on the depth of water. Cast at a rising fish and given a "draw" past the fish, it is deadly. Be careful not to break fish off on the take as they can hit it very hard. I only ever fish this fly on a floating, intermediate or intermediate tip fly line. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA95012 12
COA95014 14
COA95016 16

Group 16

Claret Nymph - Black Tungsten Bead

Claret Nymph - Black Tungsten Bead

The black tungsten beaded claret nymph is a point fly that I use in clear water or when the fish seem very fussy on bright days. It works very well using a slow figure of eight retrieve once left to sink to the desired depth (just above the weed!). It is also extremely effective fished static under a dry fly or indicator on Little Pine, Woods and Arthur's lakes.

Both the black and copper headed nymphs work very well on the rivers in smaller sizes such as 14 and 16. Either under a dry fly or in a team of nymphs fished upstream, they are deadly. If things are quiet, use the copper bead but if the water is low and clear late season, the black bead provides the subtlety you often need. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA94812 12
COA94814 14
COA94816 16

Group 16

Claret Nymph - Copper Tungsten Bead

Claret Nymph - Copper Tungsten Bead

The copper tungsten beaded fly works best when there is a little colour in the water. Fished deep and slowly over weed beds, this fly also catches plenty of fish on the "hang" at the boat as it is drawn up and stopped. In a team of drab flies, this is often just what is needed to induce a take.

Both the black and copper headed nymphs work very well on the rivers in smaller sizes such as 14 and 16. Either under a dry fly or in a team of nymphs fished upstream, they are deadly. If things are quiet, use the copper bead but if the water is low and clear late season, the black bead provides the subtlety you often need. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA94912 12
COA94914 14
COA94916 16

Group 16

Bassano's Fur Fly - Small

Bassano's Fur Fly - Small

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA98914 14

Group 16

Bassano's Fur Fly - Large

Bassano's Fur Fly - Large

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA98812 12

Group 16

Grab All

Grab All

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA97914 14

Group 16

Great Lake Hopper

Great Lake Hopper

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA97812 12

Group 16

Hares Ear Klinkhammer

Hares Ear Klinkhammer

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA98012 12
COA98014 14

Group 16

Humungous - Flashy

Humungous - Flashy

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA98710 10

Group 16

Humungous - Gold

Humungous - Gold

The Humungous was invented by Scottish fly fisherman, David Downey. As is the case with most woolly buggers, it does not represent anything specifically, but certainly attracts fish in all types of water. Although mostly used as a point fly, the humungous works equally well in the middle. Large sizes work well even when fish are a little shy. This fly catches fish in both lakes and rivers on a fast or slow retrieve although trout do enjoy chasing it! I often catch fish in the sunshine using this fly when all else fails. Competitive anglers in Australia will rarely be without this on the cast whether fishing near the surface or with fast sinking lines. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA96008 8

Group 16

Index Fly

Index Fly

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA99006 6

Group 16

Loop Wing Claret Hopper - Flexi Rib

Loop Wing Claret Hopper - Flexi Rib

The loop wing claret hopper can be fished singly or in a team. It can genuinely fit anywhere in a cast of three flies and works in sunny or overcast weather. This differs from the normal claret hopper in that it has a possum wing which is highly suggestive of a mayfly, emerging from the nymph. The possum fur also adds floatability to what is otherwise a poor floating fly. Again, this fly can be pulled across the surface and fits beautifully with other dries that have the same attribute. I have had tremendous fishing with this on Little Pine when other flies failed. It is very effective during mayfly hatches but I have had as much success using it without a mayfly in sight and on waters with very few mayfly.  On those tricky days when fish are rising once and then disappearing, this fly will pull them up. I carry dozens of these at all times. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA96610 10
COA98112 12

Group 16

Loop Wing Claret Hopper - Mylar Rib

Loop Wing Claret Hopper - Mylar Rib

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA98212 12

Group 16

McGoo - Olive Head (Unweighted)

McGoo - Olive Head (Unweighted)

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA97610 10

Group 16

McGoo - Orange UV Head

McGoo - Orange UV Head

This fly originates from Ireland and was then further developed by Ballarat fly anglers, Vern Barby and, to a lesser extent, Craig Coltman. Although originally intended as a damsel fly imitation, the fly works very well when none are present. The slim profile makes it very effective when fish are being selective yet it still has "pulling power", attracting fish from a long way off. The fly works well on a floating line when fished from the shore on its own but really comes into its own in a team of flies on sinking lines. I prefer to fish this fly slowly but it is equally effective pulled hard and 'hung'. I have caught fish with this fly on all three spots on the leader but favour the point for the weighted version and the top dropper for the unweighted fly. Used on a DI 7 it is effective but as good as it is, I prefer it in a scenario when fishing in five feet of water or less. Not surprisingly, this fly is on the leader somewhere for almost all Victorian anglers when fishing lake Wendoree and alike. In Tasmania, there is not a lake it won't work on. In bright weather or when fish are slightly spooky, one piece of flash can be cut out of either side of the tail to increase your catch rate. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA94410 10
COA94412 12

Group 16

McGoo - Copper Tungsten Bead

McGoo - Copper Tungsten Bead

This fly originates from Ireland and was then further developed by Ballarat fly anglers, Vern Barby and, to a lesser extent, Craig Coltman. Although originally intended as a damsel fly imitation, the fly works very well when none are present. The slim profile makes it very effective when fish are being selective yet it still has "pulling power", attracting fish from a long way off. The fly works well on a floating line when fished from the shore on its own but really comes into its own in a team of flies on sinking lines. I prefer to fish this fly slowly but it is equally effective pulled hard and 'hung'. I have caught fish with this fly on all three spots on the leader but favour the point for the weighted version and the top dropper for the unweighted fly. Used on a DI 7 it is effective but as good as it is, I prefer it in a scenario when fishing in five feet of water or less. Not surprisingly, this fly is on the leader somewhere for almost all Victorian anglers when fishing lake Wendoree and alike. In Tasmania, there is not a lake it won't work on. In bright weather or when fish are slightly spooky, one piece of flash can be cut out of either side of the tail to increase your catch rate. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA94210 10

Group 16

McGoo - Orange Tungsten Bead

McGoo - Orange Tungsten Bead

As for the McGoo but used more in dirty or milky water and when rainbows are common. This fly is often a first choice for me at the start and end of the season. Barbless.

Order Code

Size

COA94310 10

Group 16

Palmered Orange Tag

Palmered Orange Tag

It is always dangerous when you mess with a great fly pattern such as the red tag! The palmered orange tag has as many differences as there are similarities. This pattern floats much better than the original red tag due to the palmer but remains very delicate. The palmer gives the fly obvious advantages but most importantly, it enables you to fish a very small fly in a fast current and still be able to see it, knowing that it is floating well. If you want to fish a small fly but have difficult seeing them, this is the fly for you. The orange tag replaces the normal red, giving the fly even more subtlety. The tying of this fly ensures that no matter how it lands, it look the same to the fish. I.e. unlike other flies, it doesn't matter how it sits on the water.

This is a polaroiding fly, and one that is best fished by itself. It is equally at home on lakes and rivers and is a fantastic searching fly, able to be fished blind and especially to difficult fish. Although you could do it, I don't recommend this fly as one to fish a nymph under. There is no particular lake or river in which this fly works best. It should be carried in various sizes and cast at any opportunistic fish. If anything, go smaller! Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA94612 12
COA94614 14
COA94616 16
COA94618 18

Group 16

Para Adams - Fluoro Post

Parachute Adams - Fluoro Post

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA97716 16

Group 16

Parachute Possum Emerger

Parachute Possum Emerger

Being tied almost entirely out of possum fur, this fly floats brilliantly. Much more robust than its "CDC winged" counterpart, the fly is very imitative. One fly could last you for days and keep floating! There is almost never any need to put silicon on your fly after the initial floatant has been applied at the start of the day. When fish are rising to mayfly duns, it is extremely effective but on any occasion when fish are rising after the first mayfly hatch of the season, it will work well. Although moving the fly is not often recommended with such imitative flies, fish will still eat this pattern pulled on lakes in overcast weather. Always try it static first!

The smaller sizes are extremely effective on the rivers and when fish are cruising in shallow water. The take is always confident and slow when this fly is eaten. Being a parachute fly, it sits beautifully on the water and once the hatch is over, it is also taken as a spent mayfly. As the body sits in and under the meniscus, the Parachute Possum Emerger will get eaten from the start to the end of the hatch without having to change from a low riding to high riding fly as the hatch reaches its' peak. Sometimes I wish I had an entire box of these flies in various sizes.

I fish this fly on every lake in Tasmania which has mayflies but my favourites are Penstock, Little Pine, Arthurs, Four Springs, Bronte and the entire western lakes and nineteen lagoons region. When fished in a team, this is NOT a point fly and suits the middle or top dropper much better depending on what else you have in your team. Remember not to strike too soon! Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA95112 12
COA95114 14
COA95116 16

Group 16

Parachute Spinner - Black

Parachute Spinner - Black

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA98610 10
COA98612 12

Group 16

Parachute Spinner - Orange

Parachute Spinner - Orange

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA98510 10
COA98512 12

Group 16

Possum / Hare's Ear Nymph

Possum / Hare's Ear Nymph

This is a top dropper fly when fish are feeding on mayfly duns or nymphs. Wherever mayflies are present, this is a great fly. It sinks slowly and represents the lighter coloured nymph very well. This fly should be fished in a team as per the Claret Nymph and at least nine feet from the end of your fly line as the top dropper. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA94712 12
COA94714 14
COA94716 16

Group 16

Roy - Gold Tungsten Bead

Roy - Gold Tungsten Bead

Top Australian angler, Craig Carey developed this fly and we named it after one of his daughters. It is reliable, colourful and attractive! This is the sort of fly that the fish can turn on and off to from day to day. When they are on it, you may as well have three of them on as they will not eat anything else. Having said that, it is more of a middle or top dropper fly and works best with a steady "pull, stop" retrieve. Unlike the McGoo, this fly seems to work better, the deeper the water is. In clear water, it can spook the fish from time to time hence, if you don't catch anything on it within an hour or so, take it off. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA94510 10

Group 16

Shaving Brush - Claret

Shaving Brush - Claret

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA98312 12
COA98314 14

Group 16

Shaving Brush - Hares Ear / Possum

Shaving Brush - Hares Ear / Possum

Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA98412 12
COA98414 14

Group 16

Shrek

Shrek

Shrek has arguably been the most successful Tasmanian streamer pattern over the last few years. It was developed/invented by top Aussie angler, Joe Riley. Utilising the tried and proven colours of green, gold and red, this fly has caught fish in every waterway I have used it. Shrek has been very well thought out.  It has an uncanny knack of catching fish when all else fails and is readily picked out of the cast no matter which position it is fished in. For this reason, it really does not matter where it is placed on the cast. Such is its effectiveness that I have even heard of people using three of them at a time! Whether on the drop, the hang or the pull, this fly works. As is the case with all great flies, many people have tried to make it even better by changing the tying. This is the original and in my opinion, the best tying. If you want to fish it in brighter conditions or when fish are shying away from flashy flies, you can remove some of the flash in the tail. Early in the season it would be unusual not to catch 90% of your fish on this fly when fishing from a drifting boat in lakes such as Arthurs, Little Pine, Penstock, Bronte, Woods, etc.  Amazingly, Shrek works just as well after Christmas as it does beforehand. You can fish this fly with the utmost confidence. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA96108 8
COA96110 10

Group 16

Spun

Spun

The “Spun” is as the name suggests, a half spinner, half dun. It was invented by my good friend and Tasmanian based fly fisherman, Cameron Spur. Cameron tied this fly in the early nineties for polaroiding and fishing to fish that are inherently difficult to catch. He was successful. While filming “Tasmanian Fly Fishing Techniques Vol 1 and 2”, this fly proved itself time and again. It is in the same mould as a black spinner but is much easier to see and floats better. The Spun is also suggestive of a spinner, a dun and an emerger. It covers so many bases. I do not fish this fly in a team as it is best fished singly to sighted or rising fish. Whether on lakes or rivers, this is a superb fly. I often snip the bottom half of the hackle off, flush with the end of the hook eye. This ensures that the fly will sit correctly 100% of the time and can also be used as a ‘spent’ pattern.

No fish in the western lakes is safe when using this fly. I never seem to have enough of these flies in my box and consequently, I save them for when we are fishing at large fish in clear water. This pattern is only ever used singly and never in a team. I put it on the end of a fine tippet (.12 - .14mm) and cast it at sighted fish. Never move this fly! Thank you Cameron!!! Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA96714 14

Group 16

Wooly Worm - black

Wooly Worm - Black

I caught my first ever lake fish on this fly decades ago and it is as successful today as it was then. Used as a point fly in a team or on its own while wading and searching early in the season, it is deadly. It sinks at just the right rate and has enough movement to be fished with slow twitches and long pulls. Although this fly works best during overcast and windy weather, at any stage when casting along drop offs and edges of weed beds, it is my go to fly. From Little Pine to Bronte and across the Western Lakes, this inconspicuous fly is best kept simple. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA93910 10

Group 16

Zulu Tag

Zulu Tag

This fly floats so well that it works superbly with a nymph hanging under it. The colour combination of black and red has stood the test of time. It is another great fly when used on its own in smaller sizes when sight fishing. In a team, it can be fished anywhere on the leader and although it floats well when "pulled", it fishes best static. I am usually using this fly when I catch my first trout on the dry fly each season. It is just as effective when used on lakes and rivers although the smaller size is recommended for the river. Barbless.

Order Code Size
COA94112 12
COA94114 14
COA94116 16

Group 16