Prehistoric Dinosaurs- Saratoga!

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By Jack Strickland

We'd been put to the task of filming some Webisodes for Great Northern recently and the brief was that they wanted a variety of fish species and techniques. So we put our thinking caps on, had a few Northerns and put pen to paper. Can't remember whose idea it was but Saratoga somehow ended up on the list.

It wasn't until after the Episodes were approved it dawned on us that the accumalitive tally of Saratoga caught between us came to the grand total of 1, and that was caught about 15 years ago deep in the guts of PNG (slightly out of the budget).

With little to no idea where/how to catch these prehistoric looking creatures we did what any man would do... put out an instagram post asking for someone to give us a 30 second crash course into Saratoga fishing. This resulted in us heading north via BCF and stocking up with a car full of 'Weedless Frog' lures.
We arrived and setup camp on the edge of some beautiful wetlands just before sunset and were honestly like kids on Christmas eve, so excited about the prospect of chasing a new species. Not even the howling dingoes or pigs rummaging through the camp could dampen the spirits... up at sunrise and into it!

It soon became obvious why we needed to use 'weedless' style lures, the reeds and lilipads cover the majority of the surface of the water and the idea is to land the lure on a lilipad and then jump it off where in theory a big Saratoga is waiting in ambush to BOOF it. The first couple of casts brought no enquiries and a number of questions started running through me head; "Are there even Saratoga in these lakes?", "Should I retrieve faster/slower?", "Do they even eat frogs!?"

We almost had a heart attack when on one retrieve of the frog there was an almighty BOOF and we all screamed like school girls at a Bieber concert. Wow! There is fish in here, and they do like frogs! It missed the hooks, but the great thing about surface lures is you get to see that initial strike, which is so epic.
For the next couple of hours we then found out that Toga have really bony mouths and don't like getting hooked! Boof after Boof that resulted in no bent rods.

The next series of events is etched into my memory and seemed to happen in slow motion... My frog landed in the middle of the lake a couple of metres away from some lilipads, the first twitch caused a massive eruption when it got smashed, once again no hookup but as I continued to work the frog along the surface Az shouted "Ohhhh he's right behind it" as this massive bow wave followed, the lure jumped on top of a lilipad and I paused for a split second to allow the fish to catch up and wait underneath the lilipad... a small jump of the frog back into the water and sure enough the Toga engulfed it, this time.... FISH ON!!

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