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Presented from Issue 95
I think just about everyone has used, or have at least heard of the word ‘munter’ once or twice in recent times. So, what is a ‘munter’ you ask? I think everyone has their own little word for a trophy sized brown, brook or rainbow trout, I guess it all depends on where you’re from. For me, the word ‘munter’ applies for something big, something special, that fish you’ve been looking for a very long time. If anywhere in Tasmania, the Arthur River, or any west coast river or lake, is a likely place to find one of these large, much desired fish. On the 23rd of October, I was lucky enough to have finally caught one of these large fish, a true, wild ‘munter’.
 
I caught this fish during a recent trip to the Arthur River, in October to be exact. After a little planning, we left Burnie on Saturday, the 22nd of October, and drove to one of our most cherished saltwater fisheries. Here we encountered many large blue spotted flathead, garfish and all the other usual estuary inhabitants. After we left, late in the afternoon, we decided to head down the river. We already knew the fishing had been pretty consistent on the river for a while, so we were very keen to get down and into the action!
 
When we arrived at the Arthur, we were quick to prepare all of our gear for a quick session. We had originally planned to hit the river on Sunday, but after hearing a report of two very large fish being caught throughout the day, we both decided to get out onto the water as soon as we could! The weather was superb, it would have been very hard to ignore the opportunity, especially with the possibility of encountering a ‘munter’ or two. After launching the boat at the ramp, we quickly began to make our way down to the mouth of the river for a quick look. There wasn’t all that much activity down that way so we soon decided to head up the river a little in search of some deeper water, and some fish more importantly!
 
Soon after reaching a productive stretch of water, we quickly deployed an arsenal of bibbed minnows. Soon after trolling over the exact same spot in which I caught a solid fish during the weekend before, dad hooked up to something solid. We had already caught a few smaller fish, but this was definitely something better. As the big doe approached the boat, we carefully prepared the net and camera. It wasn’t long before we had our first ‘munter’ on the board. We took a couple of quick photographs and slipped her back into the river. It was an encouraging start for the trip indeed! When the sun started to set, we decided to call it a day and began to make our way back to the ramp for a cold beer and some food. Actually, come to think of it, there was no food, except for a couple of dirty old chicken schnitzels. I was not happy!
 
When we awoke the next morning, we were quick to chuck all of our gear back in the boat. It was an early start, but nothing too spectacular, gentlemen’s hours I think they call it! After launching the boat once again, we quickly made our way back out to the mouth for another quick look. Once again, the mouth was pretty dead. I don’t really know what it was, but I think I may have lost something large down that way, but I couldn’t tell if it was a log or a trout, especially in the dark, tannin stained water. Regardless, the hook pulled and I was left wondering what it was! We continued to flog the mouth until finally choosing to head back up the river to the spot where we caught the last good fish. As we zipped past the ramp, we noticed a large number of trailers building up, a sure sign that there was going to be plenty of boat traffic further up the river. After a near death experience with a submerged log, and the boat, we eventually made our way up to the same little stretch of water that we fished on Saturday. It was considerably quiet for a little while, until we made another pass at some likely looking structure on the depth sounder. This is where it all happened, the capture of a true ‘munter’, an absolute beast. As I sat back in a seat, looking back at the spread, the outfit to my right buckled over and braid started to peel off the reel. It was the first time I had ever seen so much line taken by a trout! I quickly picked up the rod and started to bring the fish to the stern of the boat. To my surprise, the fish was swimming right on the surface for some reason, and it was swimming straight into a very ugly looking bank!
 
While I moved the fish away from the snag infested bank, Dad set up the net and camera. When I finally managed to get the fish to the boat, we then had to try and scoop the monster up in our net, which was a little too small for the job! When we eventually landed the fish, we were quick to weigh her. We wanted to get her back into the river as soon as possible. She went 13.6lb on the old scale, a prime example of a monster ‘munter’ in my book!
 
Not as big as the leviathan dad caught a while back, but not far off it. I had no interest in keeping her for a wall mount, so we took a few quick photographs and slipped her back into the wilderness. There isI nothing better than watching a solid ‘munter’ swim back into the depths!
 
After we released the beast, we ventured to the upper reaches of the river. Here we encountered plenty of smaller, stream sized fish and an absolute truckload of whitebait. We even went to the spot where Peter Morse landed his monster a few years ago. When we had enough of it, we started to make our way back down to the mouth of the river where we eventually decided to call it a day. As soon as we retrieved the boat, were quick to get back home for a good feed.
 
So that was it, my first encounter with a ‘munter’, a big one at that. We haven’t been down since, and by the look of things, the fishing is starting to settle down. We’ve been pretty lucky on the west coast, especially while we’ve fished on the Arthur River. The Arthur is a jewel, there is no doubt about it. It is only a considerably small system, compared to the Pieman and other west coast rivers anyway, so we all really need to look after it. The Arthur has been producing monster sea running and resident brown trout for many years, I’d hate to see the fishery ruined by over fishing. My philosophy, is that these fish that we set out to catch, put all the time and effort into finding, are just too good to be caught the once. Maybe, hopefully, someone else will get a chance at catching my ‘munter’ later on, perhaps when it reaches the 20lb mark!
 
Daniel Paull