In Depth Fishing Report 23/11

23 Nov 23
After a week of fairly mild weather, it seems people are just hanging out for the warmer weather around the corner and ignoring the great springtime fishing on offer right now! Having said that, calm conditions on Saturday and Sunday did create semi-busy scenes at the local boat ramps with many solid fish caught.

Offshore, things remain fairly similar to the past couple of months with a few summer additions starting to trickle in. The barrel tuna are still being taken off Portland; this season has extended from March all the way through to November; just how long is it until a year-long barrel season becomes typical? West of Portland, towards Bridgewater, is where most fish have been coming from. Portland has also seen anglers targeting kingfish; but with water temps still staying low at around 16 degrees, the fish have been scarce so far. Keep an eye on the temp charts however, as once it starts to rise the fish will follow. Gummy and school sharks have been the most common target, with plenty of solid specimens taken from all local ports last weekend. Darcy Cutter headed out of Port Fairy with Ben Woolcock and Callum Smythe finding a nice gummy, and some bottom fish including pinkies and flathead. The flat seas also allowed Peter Goode to head out with Kevin and Archer Mills, out far to the continental shelf. A trip 70km+ offshore requires a good degree of knowledge, ideal conditions and a reliable boat but Goodey is a seasoned shelf expert and had no issues landing a good bag of deepwater fish, including some nice sharks and blue eye. Matt Hunt operating his well-renowned charter out of Portland has been bringing in very respectable bags of sharks and striped trumpeter in for his customers this week. Dan Hoey of Salty Dog Charters of Port Fairy has also been targeting the sharks on his charter, with plenty of success. And if it's snapper you're after; Portland's Lee Breakwater is beginning to fire with early season snapper; fish into the 70cm range have been landed. This spot is best with a headwind, often in the evenings and on a tide change with fresh bait. It's not easy, with plenty of dedication required for regular success; but that doesn't mean it's not worth a go.

In the estuaries, reports have been fairly quiet this week but the fish are certainly there. The Glenelg has seen some really solid mulloway coming in this week for those putting in the hours and dedication with long nights spent bait fishing. As reported last week, the majority of the fish are further upstream near Sapling Creek. Fresh or live mullet and spew worms are the top baits for Glenelg mulloway; old timers also love using rabbit, a bait rarely used these days but still just as effective as ever. Lure casting hasn't produced any mulloway reports but as always, casting 3-4" soft plastics and vibes through deep holes, drop offs and schooled fish will be the trick. Trolling with deep running hardbodies is also deadly when the fish are feeding well and spread out. The Hopkins, Curdies and Fitzroy are all producing perch in their mid to upper reaches; the fish aren't in big numbers (especially in the Curdies), but there's some very solid specimens between them. Bream are being taken casting the edges below Boggy Creek in the Curdies, and the Jubilee Park/Tooram Stones area has been the hottest in the Hoppies.

November usually sees the trout begin to quieten down here in the south-west rivers, but anglers seem to forget that the fish don't actually go anywhere; they just aren't as active but people aren't fishing for them! Brent Saulitis caught a lovely 54cm fish in the Merri this week; Brent loves trolling this river using the ever-reliable Daiwa Presso minnow. The Hopkins has also produced a few fish; a trip to the falls of a morning or afternoon will be worth a go before the water warms and becomes weedy as is expected most summers. Tim Vincent has been doing well on the perch in this area as well. Crater lake reports have been quiet but Elingamite is still producing rainbow trout and redfin; maybe not as many as early spring, but you'll probably find the lake to yourself most days with a very high chance of encountering a few fish. Lake Gillear near Allansford has been the hottest lake recently; no trout reports, but lots of redfin well into the mid forties. Success has been had casting with soft plastics or shallow hardbodies, either from a drifting boat or wading the banks. The western most lake (to the right of the ramp) is where most fish have been found.

With stronger winds hindering offshore opportunities this weekend, the rivers will be the spots to go; so grab a light rod, some 6lb leader and a couple of lures, and get out there!