In Depth Fishing Report 26/5

26 May 23

The South West is home to some of the most diverse fishing anywhere in Victoria, maybe even Australia- and this past week or so has definitely proven that. Everything from trout, tuna, sharks and carp were caught this past week so let’s dive in and see what was keeping everyone’s lines tight.


Freshwater: Congratulations to the Koroit and District Angling Club for running the first carp fishing competition in both the Hopkins River and Mount Emu Creek. The aim of this competition was to raise awareness of the amount of carp that we now have in these two systems thanks to the floods of the past couple of years. Over the 3 days there was 60 carp caught between 94 anglers mixed between men, ladies and some keen juniors. Heaviest carp overall was an giant weighing 7.553kg and was caught on a scrub worm by Chris Dorman at the junction of the Emu and Hopkins Rivers. The amount of eggs that came out of this big fish was astounding and shows how they can soon take over a system in no time at all. Thankfully though, these eggs never ended up in the river. Other notable captures were Tom Pemberton’s heaviest bag of carp which weighed 38.726kg, caught at Darlington under the bridge. Graham Sheen was awarded the longest carp due to only one prize being awarded to each fish. In the ladies section, Janine Sheen took out the win with a 2.937kg carp. The junior section was a hotly contested section with some very keen anglers of the future battling it out throughout the weekend. Heaviest carp went to Reghard Van Jaarsveldt with a 3.796kg carp. Sam Graham caught the heaviest junior bag of carp of 3.055kg. All in all it was a great competition for raising the awareness of the problem we have at hand. Now the hard work begins and it starts by the appropriate resources being used to at least slow down their spread so we don’t see them take over the system like other regions have. Hopefully the government can see that this is a serious issue and allow some funds to properly target them. Again well done to Phil McCosh and his team for working hard to ensure that everyone in our area was aware of the problem. In other freshwater reports there has again been some great trout fishing in both the Merri and Hopkins Rivers. Skeeta Andrews has been at it again beating his biggest trout with a big buck brown trout caught in the lower Merri River. In what can only be described as a great start to the season already, we should see this get better once the water begins to get some flow into it. Most of the anglers are running longer profile minnows such as Zipbait Rigge’s and Daiwa Double Clutch Shallows cast along the weeds and shallow runs. With the water still relatively clean the natural colours have been doing quite well. In the local lakes there has been a lot of redfin caught in both Lake Gillear and Lake Purrumbete on lures and scrub worms. Tim Vincent and Darcy Cutter have been getting some great fish lately casting soft plastics and shallow hard bodies at Gillear. Fish have been ranging between 30-50cm out there which makes for a good feed when you can get a school like that fired up.

Estuary: the Hopkins River's water height has increased significantly over the past couple of weeks, thanks to big seas and high tides. Getting under the bridge is now a problem for most boats which isn’t ideal when the tides have been pushing heaps of clean water into the system. Young gun Kurty has been smacking some quality perch to 45cm and some big silver trevally down below the bridge just walking the sand. Kurt also headed out with his legend grandfather Barry Johnson and scored some quality bream ranging between 38 and 42cm on Z-Man Slim Swimz cast right up tight to the rocky edges. A few anglers have been fishing lately in the Hopkins for no luck at all which suggests to me that they are in the midst of changing from warmer water traits and moving towards their winter patterns. When you stumble across a feeding school of fish the potential is there for something great as Barry and Kurty found out. If you’re wanting to use bait then soft baits such as shrimp, prawns, scrub worms and cut mullet are all a great option this time of year. The Glenelg River has seen a few more mulloway caught in the Hutchison and Dry Creek areas recently. Most of these fish have been getting caught while targeting bream and perch on lures but I’m sure if you had the correct baits and put the time in you would be just as successful if not more so. The Austral Research crew headed over to the Glenelg on Thursday and Friday last week in search of a mulloway with their electro boat. Although they didn’t have a mulloway come on board they certainly got a surprise when a big luderick surfaced off a snag. A very cool species to see in the system, which also included many flounder down on the flats around the poles and further down, as well as many estuary perch, bream and a plethora of other species that tallied 14! Just shows how healthy the system is when just a short section of the river produces 14 species.

Offshore: the tuna have still been fishing well especially for the school fish. There are still a few reports of barrels caught and many more lost, but the fact of the matter is the ocean has been far too rough for the majority of boats to get out amongst them. Matthew Hunt has been putting his clients onto some great fishing with school tuna and the odd barrel keeping them busy for a couple of hours at a time. Hopefully we can see some better ocean conditions and there can be more big tuna caught. If dragging lures around isn’t your thing, then get ready for bottom bashing as the shark season is just around the corner! Last year we saw a great run of school and gummy sharks including some true giants landed. These brilliant eating and fighting sharks come in to spawn and lay their pups and can provide some epic days on the water coming into the cooler months. Just remember it's always a good idea to release those big shallow water sharks during winter as they're the ones providing the sharks of the future. Letting the individual pups go does work, however it's a better idea to let the mum go with them. There has already been some great captures which included Rhooky landing 2 school sharks around the 10kg mark, on the same rig. As Rhooky said he thought the had the king of all gummy sharks on and was surprised when he saw what it was making it such hard work. You know they’re thick when that happens though! The annual run of australian salmon should be just around the corner and has been getting a lot of people pumped for it already. Up until writing this there has been very little reports of any sign at all and going by the past couple of years it might be another slim year.

Remember if you do get out and have a fish send your picture in to go in the running to win a great Daiwa lure and go into the running for the random draw of a rod and reel package kindly donated by Daiwa Australia. You can send the pictures to or via our socials. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.