You might think a dusky flathead almost a metre long would be enough to win a fishing competition, but history tells us that’s not necessarily the case.
While Shane Wolf, otherwise known as Timber Wolf, is leading the competition at Lake Tyers in eastern Victoria, there is no guarantee he will win.
This one is 94 centimetres long, but last year a 96cm fish won the Gippsland competition – and there have been fish longer than one metre caught in the area. But it is rare to pull in a dusky flathead as heavy as the one Mr Wolf caught, with a prehistoric, crocodile-like look about it.
“It’s easy enough to catch one of these fish, but to get in in the net and on the boat on your own is a monumental task,” he said.
“I phoned up a very close friend who came past to help me, and he actually took the photo.
Even If I don’t win a prize that photo means the world to me. My daughter texted me and said, ‘That photo is going straight to the pool room Dad’.
“That photo means heaps to me and my family. That’s good enough payment for me.”
Even local Nationals MP Darren Chester got caught up in the excitement when he shared news of Mr Wolf’s catch on Twitter, but over-estimated its size by a centimetre.
Mr Wolf said he had caught a longer fish, coming in at 97.5cm previously, but the monster flathead in the photo was the heaviest he had caught.
“It did look prehistoric. All it needs is four little legs on it and you’d swear it was a crocodile,” he said.
A woodturner by trade, Mr Wolf said he was addicted to both his work and fishing.
Fish returned safely to the water
The legal fishing limits for dusky flathead in Victoria is to only keep fish sized between 30 and 55cm.
“Of course I put it back, it’s law,” Mr Wolf said. “Anything over 55cm you have to put back. But really, I could not bring myself to kill something like that. It definitely went back.
“I don’t believe those huge fish are mega breeders but they’re incredibly important to the ecosystems.”
Lake Tyers farmer Mick Sutton often fishes on the lake frontage on his property.
He caught a 1.08-metre long flathead about two years ago.
“It was magnificent,” he said. “I’m not into fish finders and all that rubbish. If you know what the land form is doing and you think like a fish, you’ll find they are easy to get.”
He said he liked to use an unweighted fishing line with a live yabby on the end.
“I prefer flathead around 40cm so they go on the table,” Mr Sutton said.
“I don’t hunt the big ones, I’m just out there to get a feed.”