Roaming around Wodonga/Albury

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Caught 1 fish
Spinning, Bait
Species caught: Brown trout

My part­ner is a crim­i­nal bar­ris­ter, and a few times a year she under­takes cir­cuits, where she trav­els to a region­al court and works there for 3–4 weeks. Some­times she’ll come home on the week­ends, some­times not, depend­ing on the dis­tance from home. This year her Wodon­ga cir­cuit has run for the past four weeks, and I’ve joined her for this last week to spend some time togeth­er rid­ing around the area, both with her and on my own.

I arrived about noon on Mon­day and head­ed home this morn­ing. We spent each day rid­ing a bit, but also explor­ing Wodon­ga and eat­ing at a few dif­fer­ent nice places around town. Each day we had lunch at a sal­ad bar called Green­streat. This place was the duck­’s nuts. They have dif­fer­ent sal­ad options, all super fresh with heaps of great tasty ingre­di­ents and a very healthy local fol­low­ing to boot.

A yum­my sal­ad from Greenstreat

On Tues­day I rode down to the Hume Weir, where the mighty Mur­ray Riv­er starts at the base of the dam wall. I haven’t fished this far up the Mur­ray before so I packed my bike fish­ing rig and hit the road. I rode along the High Coun­try Rail Trail to Bonegilla, near­ly at the lake, then turned off the trail and took the road past the Latch­ford Army Bar­racks to the dam wall. Loop­ing around and over the riv­er, just past the trout farm is a lit­tle 4WD track head­ing down below the weir.

I cast some bait lines for a while at the yel­low boat mark­ers that des­ig­nate the off-lim­its sec­tion of the riv­er (for boat­ing). I then head­ed up to the fence to the weir and there is an area set up for fish­er­men. My mate had warned me about how strong the cur­rent is here but noth­ing can real­ly prep you for it — it’s fero­cious­ly strong. I cast some shiny Tassie Dev­il spoons up into the cur­rent and just drift­ed them down, which giv­en the fast flow of the riv­er almost meant an aggres­sive retrieve even with­out wind­ing! I was fish­ing with my lit­tle Dai­wa ultra­light trav­el rod, with 6lb mono and a 12lb leader, so I took about 3–5 min­utes just set­ting my drag cor­rect­ly. A big brown trout hit the lure just about per­pen­dic­u­lar to where I was stand­ing, and oh my fuck­ing god what a fight! She took off like a freight train, and I still can’t believe I did­n’t snap her off. It’s near­ly a Christ­mas miracle!

I wound her in, let her run, wound her in, let her run. I had no illu­sions about even try­ing to get her in the net, as it took all of my strength just to reel her in, and have her piss right off again. When she jumped — quite a few glo­ri­ous dis­plays of aer­i­al defi­ance — my heart stopped. But still, no snap off! Despite a valiant effort, she final­ly gave up the fight and rolled over, but even then I could­n’t reel her in, just from the sheer force of her body weight in the cur­rent. After about 45 min­utes, I got her close enough to swing my net over the top of her in a fash­ion I would nev­er employ to net a fish in nor­mal cir­cum­stances, but my back was killing me and I was desperate.

A great day’s bike fish­ing fin­ished with a great fish
Down­load file: Hume_Weir_Loop_.gpx

Of course there was no to be no catch and release — she was so thor­ough­ly played out that the only fair thing to do was to thank her, snap her neck imme­di­ate­ly, put the poor girl out of her mis­ery and claim din­ner. This also meant — due to my bike not hav­ing an esky, it being over 30ºC, and being an hour or so from home — that my fish­ing for the day was over.

I called Danielle to meet me on the way and pick the fish up, all the bet­ter to get her into ice quick­er, and set about clean­ing her. It was when gut­ting her I found sev­en hooks in her bel­ly. This beau­ti­ful old war­rior had beat­en at least sev­en fel­low fishos. I’ve nev­er seen any­thing like it in years of fish­ing, but look­ing at the cur­rent I’m not all that surprised.

I met Danielle on the road out and then rode into Albury, and crossed back into Wodon­ga to make a nice lit­tle 40km loop.

Cross­ing the Mur­ray at Wodonga/Albury

We rode again each day for the rest of the week, clock­ing up 40km, 30km and 16km rides as we explored Wodon­ga, the High Coun­try Rail Trail, Albury and the Mur­ray Riv­er. On the Rail Trail, I was rid­ing along and we decid­ed to stop in a qui­et bushy area near the Kiewa Riv­er for a toi­let break, but in the con­fu­sion about where I was going to brake, Danielle rode right into the back of me and ripped up her knee in a bad case of grav­el rash. I very sheep­ish­ly apol­o­gised and patched her up as best as I could at the lake with my first aid kit. In Albury, we vis­it­ed the Botan­ic Gar­dens, had lunch at a nice pub and did a pret­ty good job of hid­ing how ter­ri­fied we were about COVID-19 and the NSW Omi­cron threat.

We cooked up our fish on the out­door bar­beque at the hotel, sam­pled all the local wine, beer and food we could, and just enjoyed our lit­tle week off with­out the kids. And then, as if the week could­n’t get any bet­ter, I scored a job inter­view with the Starlight Chil­dren’s Foun­da­tion and — I believe — per­formed quite strong­ly, so fin­gers crossed!

Danielle’s grav­el rash
Category: Cycling, Fishing

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