FlyStream interviews Sean about an exceptional brown trout he caught at Moorabool Reservoir yesterday evening.
FS: First of all Sean, can you tell us about the midge fishing at Moorabool Reservoir lately?
Sean: The past few weekends, my brother Daniel & I, sometimes with our mate Rory, have been seeing great midge rises there on evening. However, we’ve had very little success – in fact just two bust-offs, despite dozens of fish covered.
FS: Has the action been fairly widespread, or quite localised?
Sean: Most shores we’ve looked at have had good midge rises, provided the wind has been offshore.
FS: Any help from your Dad?
Sean: Not really, he’s been too busy with work to actually come along on the right evenings, although he’s tried to give advice about flies and tactics – sometimes by phone!
FS: So how did yesterday begin?
Sean: Yesterday started well, with a good afternoon’s stream fishing with Dad and Daniel to make the most of the new stream trout season. We all landed some nice browns on small nymphs and mayfly imitations. And actually catching a few fish gave me a confidence boost to have another crack at Moorabool in the evening.
FS: Any help from Dad this time?
Sean: Not in person, as when we got home from stream fishing, he was off to see a movie with Mum. However, he did help rig us up before we headed out.
FS: What was your rig this time?
Sean: Two Milly Midges (which Dad tells me were size 16) a bit less than a metre apart, on a greased tippet. Dad warned that this was the most tangle-prone of his midge fishing rigs, but I managed not to tangle it.
FS: When did you get to the lake?
Sean: We arrived about 15 minutes before sunset, and the trout were midging a bit already.
FS: What happened next?
Sean: Second cast, I figure-eighted the flies ahead of a nice rainbow, which took the fly, and I landed it. Breakthrough at last! I cleaned the flies and regreased the leader, then a few casts later, I had a hookup and a miss. Then a bit a later again, another hookup, and got another decent rainbow.
FS: Were there more rises by this stage?
Sean: About the same, but they were consistent.
FS: What happened with the next fish?
Sean: I covered another riser, about where I caught the first rainbow. It was making no more disturbance than the previous rainbows. I did about five casts to this particular fish. I was just figure-eighting the flies quite slowly, when I felt weight, and lifted.
FS: How long before you realised it wasn’t another rainbow?
Sean: About half a minute in, I knew something was different because the fish wouldn’t come to the surface like the rainbows did. I started stripping line in by hand, but soon realised I needed to get this fish on the reel, so I walked backwards to get rid of the slack line.
I played it for several minutes, and it took a lot of line. Finally, I got it close enough to see it was pretty big, judging by the splashes. Then Daniel tried to get it in my net, but it wouldn’t fit. Luckily, our friend Rory had his big saltwater landing net, and after a few shots, he scooped up a massive brown.
FS: How big was it?
Sean: We didn’t weigh it, as I released it and I didn’t have a weigh-net. But it was 73cm, or 29 inches long, and as you can see from the pic, in great condition. Looking at weight to length charts, and judging by how heavy it felt compared to other big trout I’ve caught, I think it was comfortably over 9 pounds, and perhaps 10 pounds.
FS: Well, congratulations! Any other thoughts?
Sean: Obviously, persistence paid off! But yesterday also proves to me that even very big trout will eat very small food (and flies) at times.