A couple of weeks ago photos of Brook trout caught in Victoria started popping up all over FB and instagram. Apparently a bunch of brook trout had escaped from a trout farm and people were jumping at the rare opportunity to catch these fish within a couple of hours from Melbourne. This weekend I decided to join the fray. I was a little late to the party and there was every chance I would miss out on the frantic action of the previous weeks. As Brett said on Friday night “Its been absolutely smashed”. I thought I’d give it a shot anyway.
I arrived at the river at 8am on Saturday morning. I was the sixth car there. “Strewth” I thought to myself. After eating a banana for breakfast and setting up in slow motion due to a lack of caffeine, I finally started walking down the river and the excitement started mounting. As I wandered along, with a paddock and wide open spaces behind me, I thought “F*** it” and decided to have a pre-fish cast, “just to blow out the cobwebs” before I got to my intended destination. I stripped some line, made the cast and almost immediately I was into my first brook trout. It threw the hooks soon afterwards. I recast and was on again. I managed to land this one. Brook trout was now ticked off the bucket list. After my initial success I decided to walk down swinging the fly. It turned out to be a good decision.
What followed wasn’t at all what I expected. Those first two casts turned out to be the rule rather than the exception. At 8.30 I messaged Nick and Brett, I’d only caught ten fish at that point. At 915 it was 20. I stopped counting and from there the fishing actually hotted up. It was like shooting fish in a barrel, heck it was probably easier than shooting fish in a barrel. If you were in the right spot anyway. The fish were only schooled up in numbers in certain pools. While many pools wouldn’t hold any brookies or only hold a fish or two, others would be chocked full of fish. In one little 15 meter section of river I landed 20+ fish in half an hour or so, five fish in five casts at one point. It was trout fishing like I’d never seen it. The fly I was using was a little articulated number I had haphazardly thrown together on Friday night after a few beers. Thankfully it worked a treat. On a number of occasions I’d come in behind a few spin fishermen who had been flogging a pool for 15 minutes without a fish and hook up on my first or second cast. Needless to say I got a couple of strange looks and a number of inquiries on what I was using and the technique. In the end, I think it was the fly. I’m sure those fish have seen thousands of lures over the last few weeks, a little articulated fly that would look more at home steel-heading than on one of our local creeks was most likely new to them. It was crazy fishing. It was also lots and lots of fun but by 11am I’d already had my fill. I’d caught a brookie, in fact I’d caught a lot of brookies, it was time for something different. I decided head somewhere else to try and get myself a trout trifecta, it was time to chase some browns and rainbows.
The quest for the trifecta was short lived, I dropped a couple of little browns and then managed to land a little bow. Two down, only one to go and it was looking like a sure thing. There was a load of little browns in the stream, it was only a matter of time. At this point the fishing gods taught me a lesson. In fishing there is no such thing as a sure thing. I stalked a likely looking pool, set up to cast and backcast into a tree. I tried to yank the fly out of the tree not noticing that the line was wrapped around the tip and “crack”. The rod broke taking my hopes of a trout trifecta with it. Not to worry. It had been one hell of a day and getting home early would be nice.
By the time I arrived home, walked in the door and greeted the dog, the day no longer seemed real. Was it too far out of the ordinary? too easy? too fun? As I drank a beer and savoured the rest of the afternoon, I found myself thinking about the lakes and big crafty browns. And that at least now I can say I’ve caught a brookie.