Cold Comfort

WRITTEN BY: Andrew Hart

Nick Duigan and Andrew Hart are proud Taswegians—but even the Hook, Line and Sinker boys were hunting for glue to stick the brass monkey’s bits back on during a frigid, trout-seeking sojourn…

Tasmania is famous for lots of great things, such as beautiful seafood, lovely wine and pretty scenery as far as the eye can see. It’s also famous for being cold in winter. And this can be a problem when you’re trying to produce a fishing show while being stuck in Tasmania due to, say, a global pandemic. 

With only a few more episodes needed to finish our season and our deadline running out, things were getting tight. The winter was long and dark, and while we waited and waited for a break in the weather, things only got worse. In fact, a scan of the charts showed that a series of cold fronts were about to hit us and would reportedly bring snow to sea level.

We had a choice to bunker down by the fire or to get out there and film a story chasing one of the other jewels in Tassie’s crown: the trout! Not being particularly clever, we went for Option B: trout fishing in the snow. It’s a uniquely Tasmanian thing, which anglers should try at least once in their lives. Or, at least, that’s what we told ourselves—albeit with a touch more swearing. 

With the trout season just starting and the snow just starting to dust the hills around Launceston, we hitched up our Bar Crusher 670BR to the mighty MU-X and headed into the Big Chill. The destination we chose was Great Lake, which is in the highlands. The forecast was for a little snow for the next 24 hours, before a big dump the next day. We figured we’d get in and out quickly with some snow for atmosphere and a couple of trout for dinner. 

Conditions cooled as we made our way up the hill. The MU-X’s outside temperature gauge indicated -4°C. It was actually too cold to snow and the road was becoming very icy. We took it slow and remained in total control as the MU-X felt solid on its tread. We even passed a couple of log trucks that were stuck in the middle of the road unable to move because of ice.

When we arrived at the boat ramp, the temperature on the dash had risen to a balmy -2°C. Any plans we might have had to get the Hawaiian shirts on and bust out the coconut daiquiris quickly stalled when we opened the doors to be greeted by a brisk, 12-knot wind. It was freezing, but we had a job to do. Having donned almost every item of clothing we owned, we put the boat in and headed out. We’d been casting for fewer than five minutes when it became clear our mission was becoming silly. The eyes on our rods actually froze, meaning every second cast, you had to bang your rod in the water just to get rid of the ice!

We managed to last about an hour before deciding to pull the pin. The trout must have been in bed because we didn’t see one. And as it was now starting to snow, we thought we better get back down the hill before we got stuck. That night it snowed and snowed and snowed. I only just got home to the coast as roads that never see a glimpse of snow copped a huge dump.

A few days later we decided to finish off the show and visited another lake—Lake Leake. The snow was just starting to melt, but it was still cold, and muddy too! Once again we towed the big Bar Crusher to the lake with ease before launching. This time around, however, the trout were waiting for us and they were big! We both caught some beautiful brown and rainbow trout trolling little lures. And, with that, we had a rather chilly, but very pretty, episode of trout fishing in Tassie’s winter wonderland in the can! Here’s to summer!

Hook, Line and Sinker will be back this year on 7mate, after the boys take summer to warm up!

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