Fly fishing gear

Red Tag Fly Fishers Club Fairfield turns 90

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“It keeps you fit,” he said, “and it’s ideal because you can do it when you’re seven and when you’re 90.”

McCaughey advises new members like Oliver Anderson, 8, and his father Keith, 53, that the secret to volley throwing is “practice and practice.”

A Red Tag <a class=fly tying course held at the East Ivanhoe Bowling Club. Red Tag membership has increased during the pandemic.” loading=”lazy” src=”https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.081%2C$multiply_0.4431%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/7b8cc4b7afbe295f8305021f8b97734f33eeab8f” height=”224″ width=”335″ srcset=”https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.081%2C$multiply_0.4431%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/7b8cc4b7afbe295f8305021f8b97734f33eeab8f, https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.081%2C$multiply_0.8862%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/7b8cc4b7afbe295f8305021f8b97734f33eeab8f 2x”/>

A Red Tag fly tying course held at the East Ivanhoe Bowling Club. Red Tag membership has increased during the pandemic.Credit:Joe Armao

When McCaughey joined, the club’s veteran members seemed to perform with the grace of ballet dancers.

“It’s not so much the strength as the timing. It’s not so much the big, strong players who throw well,” McCaughey said.

Stephens said McCaughey is nicknamed “the professor” for his fishing skills.

Vin McCaughey (far right) casts his <a class=fishing rod over the pools at Yarra Bend Park, Fairfield. ” loading=”lazy” src=”https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.185%2C$multiply_0.4431%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/0fffffef1f9715a03fb07f3140d358ee41ba5ad2″ height=”224″ width=”335″ srcset=”https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.185%2C$multiply_0.4431%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/0fffffef1f9715a03fb07f3140d358ee41ba5ad2, https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_0.185%2C$multiply_0.8862%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_0/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/0fffffef1f9715a03fb07f3140d358ee41ba5ad2 2x”/>

Vin McCaughey (far right) casts his fishing rod over the pools at Yarra Bend Park, Fairfield. Credit:Scott McNaughton

It was a wonderful social club for McCaughey, a retired electrician, who joined Red Tag soon after emigrating from Belfast in 1961.

As a child, he enjoyed fishing with his father and uncle on Lough Melvin, a lake on the border between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

In Red Tag, McCaughey and his wife, Irene, and their two children socialized and traveled with other young families to scenic spots such as the Buffalo River near Myrtleford in northeast Victoria.

McCaughey had a stroke at age 55, but within six months returned to Red Tag events in a wheelchair.

McCaughey learned to throw with his left arm because his right arm at the time was paralyzed.

Lifetime hobby: Wine McCaughey at Lake O’Dell in Tasmania circa 1980s.

“I had to tie the cane to my hand, because I kept throwing it!” he says.

He wouldn’t give up. “That’s what I like to do.”

After Irene died six years ago, going to the club kept him busy, “having friends and things to do”.

On Sunday morning, McCaughey was on the cast when it was 7 degrees.

Vin McCaughey, right, in 1964 with Alec Wallace, then Secretary of the Red Tag <a class=Fly Fishers‘ Club, pictured at the Australian Fly Casting Championships in Ballarat.” loading=”lazy” src=”https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_1.266%2C$multiply_0.4431%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_72/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/38bb8599c6812ae2222f70b67f433b2d8ca602d6″ height=”224″ width=”335″ srcset=”https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_1.266%2C$multiply_0.4431%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_72/t_crop_custom/q_86%2Cf_auto/38bb8599c6812ae2222f70b67f433b2d8ca602d6, https://static.ffx.io/images/$zoom_1.266%2C$multiply_0.8862%2C$ratio_1.5%2C$width_756%2C$x_0%2C$y_72/t_crop_custom/q_62%2Cf_auto/38bb8599c6812ae2222f70b67f433b2d8ca602d6 2x”/>

Vin McCaughey, right, in 1964 with Alec Wallace, then Secretary of the Red Tag Fly Fishers’ Club, pictured at the Australian Fly Casting Championships in Ballarat.

Last weekend, McCaughey joined eight other Red Tag members at Millbrook Lakes, a private trout fishery in Gordon, near Ballarat.

“It was fantastic,” he said. “I’m probably going now for the business. The younger ones go and get the fish. I’m still going to catch a fish too, but me and my club friends are going to have a great time.

Members of the Red Tag and their boat at Eildon Weir, Victoria, in 1932.

Members of the Red Tag and their boat at Eildon Weir, Victoria, in 1932.

The club will hold a 90th anniversary dinner at the Manningham Hotel in Bulleen on August 26.

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