What do rabbits, peacocks and possums have to do with trout fishing? ALEX DRUCE talks tackle with Daniel Hackett.
TROUT season is three weeks away, and Daniel Hackett is making frogs out of rabbit fur.
"This one's a Tasmanian design," the 34-year-old says, holding the green tuft of hair.
"It has been dyed, folded on itself, fastened to a hook and tied with nylon, trimmed, and I've got a peacock feather there too.
"Basically, when it hits the water, it pulses like a frog would. The fish seem to love it."
Mr Hackett has crafted fly fishing lures for 20 years.
The RiverFly Tasmania owner says he makes about 4000 flies a year sometimes up to 100 a day - each one imitating a variation of bug or crawler, only with sharpened metal.
Mr Hacketts lure- making kit is itself a menagerie.
White tail deer and ostrich from America, feathers from genetically modified roosters and hens, rabbit fur, hares, ducks, calf tails, brush tail possums, peacock and pheasants - each creation as seasonal as the fish it is hunting.
"There are two ways to get fish to bite," Mr Hackett says.
"You either make something that looks as close to their food as possible, or you make something that is suggestive to their instincts."
One of the most effective triggers is UV material, which sets off a primal reaction in the trout, who recognise a flash of light as food.
With trout season looming, Mr Hackett is making frogs and worms.
"The frogs spawn around September, which is when the rivers and dams are full, and the fish go in looking for something to eat," he says.
"Same for the earthworms, they're brought out because there's so much water around."
Worms are made using a material called shaneel like a pipe cleaner without the metal core.
"It looks like a real worm in the water, the fish even try and chew it like a worm."
By the time November rolls around, fishermen have stocked up on mayfly imitations (made mostly from possum tail), and summer is the time for dragonflies, damselflies, and grasshoppers.
"They've got a lot of foams and synthetics in them, which is where the future is I think," Mr Hackett says. "You can really go as far as you want, the only limit is your imagination."
A Tillins is one way to tackle the trout
FOR 50 years, a shed at Blackwall has produced the goods for Tasmanian anglers.
And as thousands of trout-mad fishermen gear up for their annual inland pilgrimage, Scott Grey's production line is firing.
Mr Grey operates a workshop just outside Gravelly Beach, producing the famous Tillins fast-retrieve spinning lures that grace tackle boxes across the world.
Mr Grey, who grew up using Tillins lures himself, bought the business from long-time owner Alan Best 18 months ago.
He said the production of Tillins Cobra, King Cobra, Devon and Ashley lures had become a year- round pursuit, given the rise in international markets.
"With trout season around the corner, we're getting all the orders in from across Australia - Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia mostly," Mr Grey said.
"But while winter down here is a bit quieter, it's always summer elsewhere, and we're getting quite a lot of interest from places like Canada, USA, Ireland and Scandinavia."
The Burnie-raised fishing nut said there were no secrets in the making of a Tillins lure.
"We melt down down 25 kilogram gringotts, shape them into cores, paint them, and coat them in a plastic mould," he said.
"I can do anywhere between 500 and 1000 a day.
"A lot of people try to figure out the science behind it, but the fact is, they're just really good for catching fish."