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Trout in a Spin. Brent Hodges

After years of drought stricken disappointment, trout fishing is back in Victoria in a big way. Indeed, my first post-drought trip in search of trout produced a brooding buck brown within just half a dozen casts. About an hour later, another brown, this time a slightly smaller, but equally impressive female, was also brought flipping and cartwheeling to the net. Sporting big thick shoulders, perfectly formed fins and striking colours, these fish were beautifully marked specimens in absolute prime condition. Both were taken on a shallow running lure presented on light spin tackle ahead of a drifting boat – much the same gear and technique as used when targeting for bream across wide open tidal flats.

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After years of drought stricken disappointment, trout fishing is back in Victoria in a big way.

Lake Lure Casting

Not surprisingly, modern bream spinning equipment is fast becoming the preferred weaponry for chasing trout. Diving bibbed minnows, soft plastics, high-tech braid or fused line and lightweight threadline outfits are very much in vogue these days, and for good reason – they’re great fun to use and they catch fish! Shallow running hard-bodies, which resemble native smelt and galaxias minnows, are a good starting point. More specifically, the Cultiva Selection Minnow range has been a standout for us, especially the Holographic Bream pattern. Though the name suggests it may be better suited an estuary environment, this particular colour has been deadly on lake trout of late. Sending out plenty of flicker and flash through the main body to attract and draw predators from a distance, the hint of orange under the gill plate is also a likely trigger for territorial responses.
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Contemporary lure designs which resemble native smelt and galaxias minnows, such as the Cultiva Selection Minnow range, have been a real standout of late.

Selection Minnows dive to around half a meter and suspend well in the water column with slight neutral buoyancy, which is ideal for running over weed beds and indeed most shallow applications. Fitted with Owner ST11 ultra-light treble hooks, most bumps hit the mark and generally remain connected, even when trout become airborne. At 55mm in length and 2.6 grams in weight, the slim profile of the CT55F casts well, especially down wind. Using a tailing breeze to cast into undisturbed water, well ahead of a drifting boat, considerably reduces the risk of spooking fish before they’ve at least had a chance to inspect your offering. After cranking the lure to its optimal running depth, a couple a fairly assertive flicks of the rod tip gets it darting about in much the same manner as a wounded baitfish. Whilst trout often react to a constant steady paced roll, interestingly a more erratic stop-start retrieve has produced plenty of action.
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A few fairly assertive flicks of the rod tip will have the lure darting about, much like a wounded baitfish.

Hits are quite common during a pause in the retrieve and in most instances you’ll only feel a slight tick or plucking sensation through the line and rod tip, which is a cue to strike and set the hooks. Knowing how much energy or action to impart on the lure is the key and this varies from one day to another. When trout are actively pursuing baitfish you can afford to be more aggressive. Whilst small to medium size fish can climb on at any stage, larger specimens are generally more circumspect. Varying both the speed of retrieve and the length of the pause often produces a strike from cautious or casual followers.
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Holographic colour designs send out plenty of flicker and flash to attract and draw predators, including both trout and redfin, from a distance.

Once in a Lifetime

The return of trout fishing in Victoria should have all freshwater anglers up and about this winter. Since the rivers and streams will be closed until the first weekend in spring, now is definitely the time to make the most of the sensational, perhaps once in a lifetime, trout fishing available within our stocked impoundments.
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The CT55F dives to around half a meter and suspends well in the water column, which is ideal for running over weed beds and indeed most shallow applications.