In Depth Fishing Report 15/9

15 Sep 22
We have found a few days of relatively calm ocean, after battling strong winds and big seas which has resulted in some great bottom fishing. The rivers are beginning to slow down from what they were too. What a time to fish in the South West!

Saltwater: the shift of fishing on top for barrel tuna, to now fishing on the bottom for species such as school and gummy shark, seems to be here. Nate Monaghan has been at it again with a nice mixed bag caught off Portland. This included a solid 22kg school shark, as well as some blue morwong, nannygai and pinkies. We should see some more great catches like this for those prepared to fish offshore. John Hewett has been putting his new Suzuki to great use landing some nice flathead and whiting out of Port Fairy. Tack said the flathead are a bit timid of late, but using smaller hooks has been the key to him hooking up. The closer areas have been dirtied up again this past week but if you can find a decent area you’re in with a chance of a decent feed of whiting. In the river at Port Fairy there has been some solid salmon according to Dave Robertson who has been catching some nice ones on metal blades. These are great baits for sharks, mulloway and even snapper so stocking up for the summer is always a great idea. Remember not to bleed them and cri-vac them as soon as you can so that all the juices stay in the flesh. The barrel tuna are still about both off Port Fairy and Portland with some boats getting double and triple hook ups. Trolling skirts and deep diving minnows has been the preferred technique and allows you to cover a lot of ground and keep up with the moving fish.

Estuaries: the Hopkins River has again turned it on for anglers fishing in the dirty water. Both bait anglers and lure casters have been having great success right throughout the system. Corey and Michael Hunt fished Sunday, finding quite a few fish spread through the river. They noticed a lot of fish still schooling in the ski run, which could have been either bream or perch. The fish landed were very fat and well conditioned, which might be an indication that they are still spawning or they are just feeding well. Over at the Glenelg River the fishing is still red hot, and doesn’t show any sign of slowing up. Young gun Joe Unwin has been getting stuck into the local bream while fishing with his dad Dean and mum Patty. It’s great to see kids so into it and parents that are willing to support their passion. Mulloway captures are a bit slow but there is certainly signs of some great fish in the system waiting to fire up. Once the water begins to warm and clean up, we should see some of these mulloway being caught so start planning that trip now. The Allansford and District Angling Club held their third competition over at the Fitzroy River on the weekend. The Lamb boat (Vincent and Paul Lamb) won heaviest bag with 5 bream for a total weight of 3.432kg. Young Vincent also took out heaviest fish in the junior section which was also heaviest for the day at 850g. Wendy Pemberton continued her fine form winning the ladies section weighing a bream of 589g. Their next competition will be held on Sunday the 2nd of October beginning at 8am. Entries will be taken from Jubilee Park club rooms prior to 8am.

Freshwater: With the river levels now dropping (unless we get any more large rainfalls), it’s prime time for trout fishing. Anglers have landed fish to 6lb in recent weeks, particularly in the lower regions of the Merri. This area is fantastic during spring, especially around the bridges, for a number of reasons. The long channel of the river acts as a highway for fish travelling up or down the river, as sea-run trout are present. The bridges offer hard structure and rubble which trout love, as well as protection from the current and ambush habitat. For much of winter, the trout will live and feed heavily in the flooded margins and wetlands along the river (largely inaccessible to anglers. As the water recedes in spring, the trout become pushed back into the main river in much higher concentrations than the floodplain. That’s good news for anglers; big numbers of trout in a smaller area! Larger hardbody lures such as the Rapala F9 and Daiwa Presso 95SP are the most effective lures in this situation. In other trout news, the season for rivers (outside the Warrnambool region) has opened up and offers anglers to our mountain rivers again. Tim Vincent has been fishing the Otways region, catching large numbers on small hardbody lures. The fish are generally smaller and the access more rugged, but small stream trout are one of the most enjoyable freshwater fishing experiences.

Richardson Marine and the Tackle Shack are holding another boating and fishing expo on the 15th of October kicking off at 9am and concluding at 3pm. There will be representatives from major brands (including Stabicraft and Tonic), a fishing simulator, face painting from 10-12, and Sam Powell will be cooking up his famous pulled pork and pulled brisket sliders. Of course there’s plenty of giveaways. We will have a range of boats on display, and there’s specials on both fishing and boating gear to get you into the swing of summer. It’s sure to be a great day so bring the family along and enjoy the day.

This weekend is looking pretty dodgy for any sort of offshore fishing and could even halt even the most diehard of estuary anglers with 40km/h winds forecast for Saturday and Sunday not looking much better. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.