The first round of the 2009 Spirit of Tasmania Trout Classic was held on Great Lake in terrible conditions, with wind averaging 25knots and gust exceeding 40 knots.
However the wind was from a reasonably favourable direction, allowing all teams to find productive water in safety.
All 18 teams were on the water early, so by 6:50am there were rooster tails heading out of Swan Bay below the Great Lake Hotel and out into the main body of the lake.
All teams managed to find the fish early as the trout were obviously looking to feed hard before the brunt of the expected cold front hit.
Sure enough, most teams struggled to land fish after 10:30am with the exception of Team Spirit of Tasmania and fourth placed Team Juicy Isle.
Team Juicy Isle stayed in Swan Bay owing to their small boat size, and managed to tally up 10 trout totalling 514cm.
Third placed Bigfin Sportsfishing used the rough water capacity of their large boat to head north into Elizabeth Bay, which delivered them 10 fish before retreating to the shelter of Swan Bay where they notched another 2 nice trout.
Second placed team Bridges Brothers also erred on the side of caution, and after an initial foray around the Bee Hives decided to head back into relative calm water inside Swan Bay, where they completed their 12 fish haul.
But it was team Spirit of Tasmania consisting of Patrick Sullivan and Andy McCarthy that smashed the weather with a Great Lake Trout Classic record haul of 21 fish totalling 10.33 metres, winning the round.
Fishing mainly on the exposed shore along Becketts Bay between McClanaghans Island and Tods Corner, the boys found plenty of fish willing to play ball in the very rough conditions.
Their bag consisted of a 50/50 split between rainbows and browns – all fish taken on Berkley T Tails in Black and Gold. Sullivan fished Pflueger reels and rods, while McCarthy fished with Howler Custom Rods and Pfluger reels; both used 1/8th and 1/16th ounce jigheads according to wind strength and shore depth.
For their efforts they took home two Team Daiwa Tierra reels and a $500 cheque, second place received an EcoGear prize pack and $200, third place a Berkley prize pack and $200, and fourth received a Berkley prize pack.
Biggest trout of the round was landed by Peter Garwood with a massive 60cm brown trout taken near the dam wall in very rough conditions.
Sponsors of the event were Spirit of Tasmania, Daiwa, Berkley, Ecogear and the Great Lake Hotel provided the briefing venue.
118 trout were caught in total (58.6 metres) with an average length of just a smidge under 50cm. Very impressive results on a shockingly windy day. All fish were photographed on a measuring mat, photographed and then released.
There is one more round of the Spirit of Tasmania Trout Classic series to run before the focus turns to the Spirit of Tasmania Bream Classic Series in 2010.
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