In Depth Fishing Report 14/6

14 Jun 24

The past weekend saw one fishable day and a lot of anglers took advantage of these conditions before Sunday blew out. A wide variety of species were caught offshore and the rivers inland kept the bank hoppers happy too.

Offshore: the Warrnambool Offshore and Light Game Fishing Club held a “Deepwater and Trumpeter” competition over the weekend. With a wide range of species and prizes up for grabs there was some great captures by their members. Some notable captures were Ashley Dance’s 21.98kg school shark that he got on Saturday while fishing with his son Jacob and good mates TJ and Codi Symons. Peter Sedgley won the heaviest trumpeter with his first ever one weighing in at 5.9kg. These fish are one of the ultimate bucket list fish for our offshore anglers down here which is due to their tough fighting nature and the fact they are pretty hard to catch regardless of the size of them. Peter Goode headed to the shelf in search of some tasty eating bottom fish and came back with the heaviest blue eye weighing 2.64kg and a pink ling that weighed 9.08kg. Both of these fish are some of the best eating quality fish that you can get around here. Ashley Dance also scored the heaviest snapper for the comp with a solid 3.24kg fish coming to the boat. In the junior section Tackle Shack staff member Max Fry caught the heaviest school shark that weighed in at 14.24kg. The club reports that there were numerous other species caught in the competition including knife jaw, morwong, latchet, nannygai and other bottom dwelling fish. We take it for granted how lucky we are to have such diverse fishing on our doorstep basically year round weather permitting. One minute you can be catching a snapper then you’re hooked into a rampaging trumpeter. We really are very lucky so when you get the chance to head out you just have to take it and run! Tuna reports from Port MacDonnell and Portland have slowed down but there are still some big fish about if you’re willing to put in the time and effort for one. Raising them seems to be the hardest part at the moment with still a solid amount of fish marking up on bait balls. When the fish are like this a lot of them will be caught blind trolling in the general area that you start marking them on your fish finder. If the skirts aren’t doing any good then a diving hard body like a Nomad DTX 200 or a deep diving Samaki are definitely worth a shot. The Nomads can dive up to 40ft deep which is handy if the bait is holding under the surface and the fish aren’t working it up to the surface. Another great technique is simply using a live bait or frozen bait to slowly drift through the schools of bait and hopefully your bait stands out from one of the thousand other baits. The key to this is making your bait drift as natural as possible through the school as if it’s been half eaten or wounded by a tuna. If you can get this spot on then the bite is going to come if the fish are feeding. The lighter the leader you can go will allow the bait to sink at a more natural rate and give the tuna more time to spot it in amongst the fleeing bait.

Freshwater: the local rivers and lakes are firing for trout of all species lately! Lake Bullen Merri is starting to fish quite well for those wading the edges casting shallow running lures. Tackle Shack staff member Mason Walpole landed a solid tiger trout on a shallow running Daiwa double clutch 75 just to the left of the main boat ramp. Just goes to show that if you don’t want to walk a long way then there is still great fishing to be had close to the car park. These fish will come up onto the edges and hunt the bait schools in the shallows so any lure that is shiny or natural in colour and only dives to a couple of foot is ideal for this style of fishing. If you can also get one that casts really well in windy conditions then that’s even better as it allows you to make long accurate casts parallel to the bank and cover more water. Another thing can aid in doing long casts is using a slightly longer than average rod. A typical spinning rod for trout is 6ft6 to 7ft long but going to a 7ft2 or a 7ft6 in some instances will mean that you can get an extra few meters on your cast and potentially not spooking a potential fish. Using polarised sunglasses such as the Tonic range will cut the glare off the water and allow you to spot a fish and make the cast to it. When choosing a lens for the freshwater the best two are the Copper Photochromic and the Green Mirror. Both these lenses will enhance objects in the water column and really make them standout from the bottom and other objects. Fishing blind for shallow water trout is really a disadvantage as you might have a fish only a few meters away but if you can’t see it in front of you then you’re most certainly going to spook it and never see it again. The two local rivers in the Merri and Hopkins are fishing well for those walking the banks and fishing out of kayaks. Chris Loomans came in and stocked up on some plastics and hard bodies in search of a few trout while fishing in the upper Hopkins. He was rewarded with a beautiful looking trout in mirror like water conditions. In most instances these days are often the hardest but with a positive attitude and some perseverance you can definitely score some great fish. Using a combination of shallow running hardbodies and soft plastics you’ll get so many more opportunities on these days. Soft plastics are great in the deeper sections and are a great option when the sun is up and the fish often move deeper. Over in the Merri River there has been some great fish caught lately just like the one that Matt Auld caught down behind Merrivale. This section of river gets heavily pressured but continues to produce quality trout especially this time of year. Hard bodies are the chosen technique here due to the flow of the water.

Estuaries: the Hopkins River is at bursting point but due to the high seas forecast for this weekend the authorities are unable to open it until Monday when conditions allow. Up to this point it has been difficult to find the quality fish but maybe this last bit of rain we had might have stirred them up, or least brought them down to the bottom section of river. The Glenelg River is still fishing OK for bream and perch on the rock walls and along the reed beds. Nikki and Blair Bryant from “purple patch fishing” had a great couple of days exploring the Glenelg River. They landed some nice bream and EPs on a range of soft plastics and crab imitations from the Hurricane stable. Still no definitive word on the mulloway in there but it’s often this time of year when we see some big fish come into the river after an opening that has big seas and big tides driving them in. Hopefully this year is no different! If you’re on the Hopkins River this weekend you will notice a lot of boat traffic which is due to the 3rd round of the Vic Bream Classics taking place. 47 teams will be battling it out to try and tame these timid fish of late. Often a round where the big fish play the game and some great bags of fish come in here’s hoping that everyone gets onto a few. The weigh in will be from 2pm on Saturday and Sunday down at the Ski club near Proudfoots. Some of these boat set ups are out of this world and definitely worth a look at. Come on down and support the local teams while you’re at it.

This weekends wind forecast doesn’t look too bad so we might see some more offshore reports filtering through. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.