One of my favourite fishing activities after a hot summer day is to wander along the banks of the Barwon River in Geelong, casting lures for redfin. Redfin are feisty, competitive fish that bite readily and taste great. Many people underestimate their popularity, particularly in country areas. A Victorian poll of anglers to determine the most popular fish showed trout had the biggest following and redfin came in second, ahead of the iconic Murray cod and yellowbelly.
Victoria has plenty of redfin waters, and one of the best known is Lake Bolac, alongside the town of the same name. Surrounded by farms, the lake covers 14.6 sq km and features foreshore camping and day-visitor facilities, picnic and beach areas, boat ramps, electric barbecues and hot showers. In short, this waterway is an ideal family holiday or daytrip destination.
Few world records come from Victorian waters, let alone lakes. But on the Lake Bolac Angling Club bulletin board in the shelter next to the boat ramp is a framed newspaper clipping and a copy of an International Game Fish Association world record certificate. The certificate states that Bernard Murphy caught a 7.48 kg short- finned eel on 17 November 1998. The eel was an all-tackle world record. Wow!
According to Victorian Fisheries, the redfin here grow up to 875 g and average about 500 g. Lake Bolac also has tench, carp, some large yellowbelly from a 1990 stocking, and some illegally stocked Murray cod. Fisheries have stocked the lake with brown and rainbow trout in the past, but the fish never took on, so this was discontinued. Not surprisingly, the lake is commercially fished for short-finned eels.