With the family fishing competition sitting at Dad 2 wins (Nelson, Winter snapper challenge) against my 1 (Bemm river) for the year, the Eildon trip would either tie up the year or give Dad a near unassailable lead.
We decided to head up Saturday morning rather than head up Friday night and got to the lake at about 7.15. We launched and put out a spread of lures. I had my old favourite the pink Tassie devil (Backwards this time for a bit of extra wobble and flair!), Dad had a clown pattern Tassie devil, Will had a RMG bibbed brown trout and Ben had a tiger minnow pattern poltergeist, so we should have had the water column fairly covered, at least for a boat without a downrigger! With no electric motor we maintained a speed of about 1.5 knots all day by both stopping and starting the motor if it got too fast, and also trailing a drogue. I’m not sure what the appropriate troll speed is (I’d love for someone to enlighten me!) but we did manage a few fish.
We didn’t actually deploy the lures until we were about to enter the Big River arm, and about 15 minutes in I had a thud and line started peeling off my reel. I thought I must have hooked some weed or a stick as for all but the last 5 metres of the fight the brown trout I hooked did nothing. Whilst Dad fumbled with the net (Will was standing on it) the trout woke up and took a jump and a bit of a run, but with 2 barbs embedded we got it to the net. It went 62cm and weighed 4.06lb. Not a monster, but the biggest trout that we have managed from the lake!
As the competition is on the length of your best fish, I was already crowing about the win, as not only was it the biggest we have ever gotten out of the lake, but I think that you would have to get an 8-10lb fish from the Pondage to be 62cm, as they are generally fatter.
We trolled unsuccessfully for another couple of hours, with Will having a hit on the bibbed brown trout pattern and the fish jumping off before we pulled over onto the bank for breakfast. Not only did Dad cook up some sausages, bacon and eggs but he also handed over the red jersey as he started with it as the “carry over champion” but I was now in the lead.
After the cook up we kept trolling up the Big River arm without much success until we hit the corner where we managed about 5 fish last year. There were two other boats trolling near us and as we exited the section Dad was driving and we were going to turn around so I went to pull in the rods. I said “I’ll leave yours out until last just in case you get a hit!”. As it turns out in the minute or so it took to pull in the other three rods he did get a hit and landed a 42cm brown trout, which managed to loop around a tree but we managed to manoeuvre the boat and get him unstuck. Again the fish was quite docile.
We headed in about 3pm and hit the coffee shop and checked in. We walked the pondage for about 30 minutes however Will in that time managed to run through all the water and be covered in mud so we headed back to the cabin. Some fish and chips for dinner followed by watching the Hawks Vs Cats rounded off the night nicely.
The next morning we packed up the cabin and returned the keys, then hit Bourke St where there were already a few anglers around. We threw in some bait rods with powerbait on them and cast lures around, but after an hour or so the weather closed in and it was pouring. The kids (And the bigger kids!) weren’t having much fun so we hit the café for a sausage roll, coffee and the paper. We made the trip home and with the 62cm trout the competition now stands at 2-2 for the year. It should be a good next few trips!