Father and son at Tullaroop and Newlyn

With a young family and a busy work schedule, it’s a rare opportunity when I’m able to head out for a fish myself. So, when the chance popped up on Friday, I couldn’t wait to get out and hit the water.

Being a weekday, most of my fishing mates were busy at work, or possibly put off by the weather forecast: 40km/h winds and heavy showers. I was even reconsidering if I really want to head out myself. However, after a few more phone calls and rejections, I somehow persuaded the man who introduced me to flyfishing, Dad, into heading out with me. The first thing he said was, “Have you seen the forecast?” I replied optimistically with, “Yes, perfect weather for lake fishing.” Dad shrugged, “Sure, I’ll come for a drive.” This was code for not being keen on getting out of the car if it was wet.

When I met the old boy at his place, he asked where we were heading? I explained that Tullaroop should be good, and then we might stop off on one of the lakes closer to home on the way back, like Moorabool or Newlyn.

We decided to drive to the north-western side of Tullaroop, as this would be the most protected from the gales. When we arrived, the lake looked fantastic. It was 63% and from up at the car, it looked like it was pushing up into the margins. On top of several years of good stocking by VFA, I thought we were in with a chance.

Shelter from the storm at Tullaroop.

We set up for stripping Woolly Bugger-style flies on floating lines, as the bays we were fishing looked relatively shallow. Once down at the edge, we were greeted by swallows tipping the water, which suggested midge were hatching. Being a little lazy, we stuck with the flies we already had on. My thinking was, we could always change to buzzers if stripping wets failed us. Within five minutes, Dad saw a fish swirl within casting distance, and two or three casts later, he connected to a chunky rainbow.

Dad opens the account.

Meanwhile, the swallows continued to work and tip the water in even greater numbers. Then, within 15 minutes of Dad landing his fish, I was hanging a Magoo at a full cast when the line tightened up before I had a chance to retrieve, almost pulling it out of my hand. The fish began to peel line off the reel, and after a few jumps, I could see it was a nice brown. Following a good battle, a lovely 4lb brown came to the net.

So, what do you do when you catch a couple of fish quickly from a spot? Move! What a silly decision that would prove as we fished for another hour and a half in a new bay with no action.

Was that a fish?

Despite that second ‘blank’, we were both pretty happy with the fish we had landed earlier, and keen to check out another lake on the way home. The weather at Tullaroop wasn’t all that bad, but as we headed through Creswick, we could see it deteriorate, with dark clouds closing in. I could also see Dad’s enthusiasm fading.

Deteriorating weather at Newlyn.

I suggested a quick flick at Newlyn. By the time we arrived, light rain was falling, and a gale force wind was raging. I knew Dad wasn’t all that keen when I jumped out the car and he stayed in the passenger seat. The lake was full and had a little colour, but looked great. “Are we going to fish?” I asked Dad. He reluctantly grabbed his rod and headed out with me. We decided to fish directly out in front of the car, as the rain had really started to pelt down and we thought this might be a short session!

We threw a few casts out with our wets, and yep, Dad was soon into a fantastic Newlyn brown. By the time he released the fish, the rain was heavier still, and we both instinctively walked to the car – no discussion was needed.

A nice Newlyn brown for Dad.

Both Newlyn and Tullaroop look very appealing and I imagine on the right day at Tullaroop, the fish should midge very well. As for Newlyn, when mayfly season comes around, it could be fantastic. I’m already searching the calendar for another day off to hit the lakes.