Through my experience working in the mining region in North Western Australia it doesn’t take long to appreciate a good insect repellent. Not to mention just about anywhere you might go camping in the warmer months there’s a strong possibility of midges and mosquitoes trying hard to fight your relaxation. At a guess the most common and well known insect repellent would be bushmans which I used and it does work, but because we were using it so often I started to look for more natural alternatives. Now I do not have any scientific information regarding the ingredients used in insect repellents or the harm they may or may not cause but my personal choice is I feel more comfortable using more natural products directly on my skin. One of my dislikes with some of the main insect repellents is the often chemical/synthetic type smell and the feeling some of them left on my skin. One of the main areas of use is your face as it is not usually covered and some products often left me with parts of my face feeling numb.
That lead me to the product Natures Botanical. Nature’s Botanical is an Australian made essential oil based personal insect repellent. It repels flies, sandflies (aka midges) and mosquitoes. Nature’s Botanical essential oil ingredients are Rosemary Oil and Cedarwood Oil. It is available in a thick cream which is applied by hand and a lotion which can be sprayed or rolled on. Due to the rosemary and cedarwood oil in Natures Botanical it has an amazing smell. After using this repellent for a few years I can tell you it does work, there’s always some stashed in Bones for our camping adventures. If you are looking for a better smelling repellent made from more natural ingredients I strongly suggest giving this a go. I’ll leave a link below to there website which has a lot more info and a store you can purchase from.
Having recently purchased a pair of what some might call “proper” waders I was eager to get out for a fish and try them out. Over the last few years I have owned a few pairs of gumboot style waders. These were mostly used to fish surf beaches in winter which considering you don’t need to walk long distances and you are normally on sand they were great to keep you warm and dry. After moving to Victoria and fishing more in fresh water streams for trout I soon found that these waders although well priced were not the best option to walk long distances in stony creeks and can in some circumstances be quite dangerous.
After visiting the guys at Gavin Hurley’s Fly Fishing World I came away with a pair of Stalker backcountry waist waders and Simms Freestone boots. This is a great entry-level setup coming in at around $490 (the freestone boots were on sale!). Although still considerably more than gumboot waders they are a lot more affordable than some other brands and material technology has improved over the years, which has brought prices down. I will review both these products once they have had more time on the water.
Leaving home at 7:30am KB and myself headed north to our destination of Big River State forest, 30km east of Marysville. Parking the Ute, gear ready, waders on, we were in the river by 10am. The river (a small tributary of the Big River) was looking great, with a steady flow and super clear water confidence levels were increasing. Within wading just 30 metres the cost of my new waders had left my mind, they were extremely comfortable. The old saying of why hadn’t I done this earlier rang true in my mind.
Fishing turn about for a couple of riffles we were yet to see a fish. Approaching our first decent pool it was decided KB would have first cast. KB cast to the other side against the bank and half way through the retrieve a small brown trout could not resist the Strike Tiger 1” froglet he had on offer and engulfed it. After a small fight we had it on the bank, a photo and a quick release and we were keen to get lines back in the water. If you have not seen the Strike Tiger range of soft plastics I would highly recommend heading to there website/online store and check them out! I hate to admit it but after KB’s success I basically cast into the same spot as he did, the only difference was I had on a Strike Tiger 1” Nymph in copper berry. Again half way through the retrieve BANG! I was on, this time a small rainbow that leapt and danced all over the place it put on quite the show. The fish was quickly released and took off back to the cover of the depth. After all that commotion unsurprisingly the pool went quiet so we moved on.
Continuing upstream for another 1km I was rewarded with another rainbow and although there were no more landed fish we had a lot of follows and spooked a few fish so overall the river was looking really healthy. I was extremely impressed with my new waders and boots and how they felt in the water. Even after wearing them for a few hours they were still really comfortable, I can’t wait to get back out and chase some more trout. A great couple of hours fishing in a beautiful small stream in Victoria.