Well it’s one week closer to Christmas and there’s already been early gifts arriving for some anglers, landing some great fish. Quality snapper, shark jackpots and some great fishing for those in the Hopkins.

Saltwater: the snapper fishing has been nothing short of fantastic these past couple of weeks. Good fishing is being reported both inshore and further offshore. The Lee Breakwater at Portland is the pick of the spots if you’re a land based angler. Brandon Dorman had a good night out with a 65cm snapper and a nice gummy shark. Numerous other good snapper have also been caught off the breakwater including a whopper at over 90cm by a local. With the addition of the new jetty that was officially opened during the week, it now opens up a whole lot more choices for everyone in and around Portland to access some great spots. This new jetty has already seen some great squid and whiting caught off it and is right near some already well known areas to target these two brilliant table species. Offshore has also seen some great snapper and sharks, and now the arrival of the annual run of king fish there is oodles of options for everyone. The snapper have been wide spread, with a good range of sizes being represented amongst catches. There’s been fish coming from the harbour in Warrnambool right out to the 150m mark. Fishing tough baits this time of year will see you staying in the strike zone for longer, and hopefully enticing a bite off a bigger fish. Baits such as squid, yakka fillets and other filleted fish should help you stay away from the smaller fish which will just rip pilchards and other soft baits straight off your hook. You can try a neat trick that is using some bait mate or bait thread that is an elastic thread which is designed to hold the bait on while small fish pick at it. All you need to do is simply wrap the bait mate around the bait and then just snap it off. Speaking of snapping off, the king fish are in and are playing havoc with unsuspecting anglers fishing on the bottom for snapper and sharks around the North Shore area. Fish to 10kg have been reported so far and the numbers seem really good for a bumper season. Last year there was a few cowboys that ruined some anglers chances of a fish by driving straight through the schools or cutting other anglers off, so please keep your distance and respect other anglers space. Casting poppers such as the Williamson Jet Poppers (which have been a favourite of most down here for years), along with the humble sluggo either cast or trolled on the surface. We have a  big order of locally made 10” versions due to the shortage from overseas so you’ll have an option regardless of what you’re looking for. If you’re not into casting or trolling lures, then try a live squid or a live salmon under a float with the attractor on it. This mirror will send off a big flash every time the sun hits it and will draw the kings in from a mile away as they are very inquisitive creatures. Fishing for kings isn’t the easiest thing to do (believe me, as I am still yet to land one) but persistence is the key for sure.

Estuaries: the Hopkins River this week has fished really slow for most especially for those casting lures. Bait anglers fishing crabs on walls have caught some nice fish. Jessica Lane and Lewie Holland caught some crackers in the Warrnambool and District Angling Club’s last comp of the calendar year on Saturday. They both took out their respective divisions, with heaviest fish for ladies for Jess with a 754g bream and a 1.085kg bream for Lewie in the open division. Lewie’s bag was 3.879 for his 5 bream which was over a kilo heavier then his closest rival. Fishing crabs along the ski run wall early was the key and I had front row seats to the masterclass, watching them both land numerous fish. In the junior section the forever smiling Indigo Treloar caught the only fish by a junior with a bream of 667g. Allansford and District Angling Club also held their final comp for the calendar year and again had mixed results. Heaviest bag with 4 bream went to Brendan Howard with 2.464kg and the heaviest fish in the Senior Men’s section was Aiden Gordon with a 810g bream. The ladies section was won by Wendy Pemberton who caught a 618g bream. For the juniors Zahli Fleming outdid her dad Craig with a 682g bream. This river has bamboozled me for the past couple of trips with no fish for myself, but summer is my favourite time of year to fish especially the calm warm nights when you can target both bream and perch on surface lures. St Josephs Primary school held their annual fishing and canoeing days off the Hopkins river with 63 fish caught on the first day and 84 on the day 2. Crazy numbers and enjoyed by all the kids there that’s for sure. Mostly salmon and mullet but most of these kids have never caught or been fishing before so anything is a bonus.

The swell seems to be staying down below 2m on Saturday but kicks right back up on Sunday afternoon which could prove difficult to head offshore with. Port Fairy’s bay would be as sheltered as anywhere that afternoon especially with the predicted westerly winds so if you’re busting to hit the ocean that would be my pick of spots. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.