Big River Trout, New Waders


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.



Bones the Hilux


The early days, just after purchase August 2015


I thought I would take a moment to introduce to you Bones, my trusty Hilux. We’ve only been together for a couple of years but have shared some good times and she is yet to let me down, no surprises there it’s a Hilux. Bones is a 1993 2.8L diesel single cab Hilux, solid axles front and rear with leaf springs all round. I have owned three different generations of Hilux and to many peoples surprise this would be my favourite. I gave up comfort and power for simple mechanical reliability, not to mention saving a few pennies while I was at it.


Aluminium tray, Suspension and tyres fitted.  Canopy in the background on my old new ute!


This vehicle is built as a weekend tourer with the capability of longer trips with some slight changes. One of my main aims is to have a comfortable, ready to go, easy to setup vehicle to maximise outdoor opportunities. I find if everything is well organised you are more likely to head away on short notice as packing and unpacking is not so much of a chore.

Below is a list of current mods, including some brief descriptions about them and why I chose them. I will also add a future plans list because lets face it who has ever seen a finished perfect 4WD.


Bones’s current state



As with most utes comfort is not there strong point from the factory, I learnt early on with my first Hilux a good suspension setup changes a vehicle drastically. I fitted a 50mm lift, using Dobinsons leaf springs and Bilstein shocks. I also fitted an adjustable torque rod and a dropped drag link, these were recommended to me to bring some correct geometry back to the front end. The bilstein/dobinson combo gives a superior ride over stock with good flex off-road. Caloffroad in NSW supplied the kit, this is the second kit I have bought from Cal and both times he has gone out of his way to answer any questions and make sure he supplies exactly what I am after.


Testing the new suspension setup, South coast of WA


Wheels and Tyres

31×10.5R15 Mickey Thompson ATZ P3

15×8 -22 King Steel wheels in Black

These are the same wheels and tyres I ran on my last Hilux, be it a different size. I could not fault them, a lot of sand driving and a 10000km Kimberley trip and not one problem. I went with 31” tyres as I did not want to rob anymore of the Hilux’s power, it also places less stress on the drivetrain and does not require any mods.


12V System

The 12V system is simple yet works. I run two 12V batteries. A start battery located in original position under the bonnet and a second 100 amp hour deep cycle battery located in the canopy. The charging of the second battery is done via a REDARC BCDC1225 controller, which I would highly recommend. These units boost the rate of charge so your batteries are charged properly and also overcome any voltage drop from using long cables. There is also a provision to run a solar input, which is on my list of things to do. I find that this setup is good for one night maybe two without moving but anymore and it would require a drive/running the engine or solar input. There is also a 1000W inverter and a hard-wired CTEK MXS15 charger so I can plug into mains power at home or in campgrounds to top up as needed.


The kitchen/living side of the canopy



The storage side of the canopy


Other Mods

Steel framed aluminium cladded canopy (home built)

Rhino Rack sunseeker awning

Rhino Rack pioneer platform rack

Snorkel (EBay)

Runva 11000LB winch

ARB Bullbar

Narva Ultima 175 halogen driving lights


For navigation I use an iPad running a combination of Hema maps and Memory maps


Future Plans

Turbo Kit (obvious for anyone with experience with a 2.8!)

More fuel and water storage (custom tanks or Jerry space)

Canopy Layout change

Front and Rear Diff Lockers (because everyone wants lockers)

Solar panels


That is about all I can think of for now; I will go into more detail on some of the areas above in separate articles/reviews as time goes on. As many of you will understand it seems as I cross one mod off the to do list another two are added! In the meantime Bones isn’t perfect nor complete but we will still be getting out and enjoying the great outdoors as much as possible. Thanks for reading, if you would like any further details on anything above feel to let me know in the comments.