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Trekking for ‘toga

CATCH OF THE DAY: Jake Gunston casts a line.
CATCH OF THE DAY: Jake Gunston casts a line. Meghan Kidd

GLIDING along the top of the water, a glimmer of gold can be seen, and with a quick flick of a lure, the elusive saratoga could be the catch of the day.

This weekend, the fish will be in high demand as hundreds of anglers will be keen to cast a line and reel in a ripper as the Bedford Weir overflows with fun for the Mackenzie River Fish Stocking Association's annual Saratoga Spectacular.

Blackwater's Jake Gunston said the Bedford Weir was brimming with fish.

The local is hooked on fishing, and said he's caught about 20 saratoga in one day in the Mackenzie River.

He had been fishing for saratoga for about four years and said there were certain times of the day when they were most active.

"It helps just knowing when to fish certain lures, and where to fish at different times of the year, and different times of the day," he said.

"I fish surface lures in the morning and afternoon, and in the middle of the day when they go down deep I use spinner baits and vibration lures like Jackalls.

"You have to use sight fishing and then lures, casting into snags."

Jake said he preferred to use spinner baits, but other bait could be used.

"I've seen people use a float and sit a piece of chicken liver or steak under the float by about 30cm," he said.

"Don't just cast it in the middle. You have to sit with it in snags."

He said the biggest saratoga he had caught was roughly 80cm.

"It's a good river system. There are plenty of barra, yellowbelly, sooty grunter, jade perch and eel-tailed catfish in the weir," he said.

The competition starts on Saturday morning.

The club saw 452 competitors at last year's event, and is hoping to tip the scales this year with a bigger turnout.

There will be a canteen running from Friday dinner until Sunday lunch.

Senior nominations are $25 and juniors are $10.

Free camping is available.

Nominations can be made on Friday night at the tent from 5-8pm, Saturday morning 6am-6pm and Sunday morning 6am-9am.


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