In Depth Fishing Report 03/03

03 Mar 23

This week has seen some great captures both in-land and offshore. March is always a great month for variety of fish on offer and the reports this week have shown just that.

Saltwater: the variety of captures that we are experiencing in the South West recently is a combination of the outstanding fishery that we have, and excellent transition period between summer and autumn. What this means is for the first couple of weeks of a new season we can expect to see a crossover of species from the warmer months and the slightly colder months. These next 2 or 3 months are typically great times to have a crack at the gummy and school shark populations in our area. On occasion good numbers of sharks can be landed, but it’s typically the bigger ones that are most noticeable during autumn. Sharks exceeding 20kg are quite common during autumn and provide great sport and eating for those anglers wishing to target them. So what type of tackle do you need for targeting these tasty bottom feeding sharks? Rods 6-7ft in the 8-15kg range will be perfect. What this type of rod will give you is the power to turn the big ones around and get them off the bottom. Having a slightly softer tip will allow the shark to load up on the bait while the rod is still in the holder. Too heavy of a tip and you’ll find they will load up on it and drop it straight away, as they can feel the resistance. You can go either an overhead or a spinning rod, it’s all personal preference really. When it comes to the line choice, I don’t think you can go past a decent braid and leader combination. When we are setting combos in the shop for sharks, we spool them up with 50lb main line and an 80lb leader. The leader does 2 things when used with braid, the first is it gives the whole rig some stretch and flexibility due to the minimal stretch that braid gives. The other is it prevents the sharks from rolling up the braid and rubbing through it. The Black Magic KLT 8/0’s and other circle hooks have changed the way we fish for sharks now. Being able to leave your rod in the holder until it buckles is as easy as it gets these days. Lastly, but the most important piece of the shark puzzle, is fresh bait. We are lucky that we have a great selection of bait right on our doorstep and the ability to catch it ourselves. Salmon, yakkas, mullet, wrasse, eel and other cut baits have all proven themselves time and time again. So there you go, some simple tackle and baits to make your day that little more enjoyable.

The tuna have again made anglers days off Port Fairy, with huge schools off the coast. Depths ranging from 30-40m have had a healthy amount of fish in them recently and have been taking a wide range of lures. Small stick baits and small skirts have been the flavour of this week. Fish ranging from 8-15kg are on the chew and hungry. This is the perfect time of year to target a tuna as they are beginning to really crack down on bigger baits like pilchards which are in abundance at the moment. Big schools of krill have also been about but fish on these schools are typically a lot harder to tempt due to the sheer size of the baits they are eating. Plenty of flathead have been caught offshore recently with both Port Fairy and Portland still firing for them. Anglers are using the Black Magic Snapper Snacks and Snatchers, with a strip of squid or half a pilchard being the trick to it. Not only do these rigs have a razor sharp KLT hook on them, but they also have a rubber skirt on each hook which acts as an attractant. Unfortunately for the flathead they can’t really say no. The key to these rigs is drifting over likely ground and not striking on the rigs. It’s more of a lift when you feel the bites.

Estuary: the Hopkins River is seriously firing now with some monster bream coming from the lower reaches of the system. Janaka Kandage and Michael Malone had a great day out landing some thumpers on soft plastics cast into the rock walls. With fish pushing 1.5kg it was a serious day on the water. These fish are continuing to feed on hard baits such as crab, shells and coral up in the shallows. If you’re wanting a fix then this is what you need to do. Shallow hard bodies are certainly still worth a cast in these same areas and can be twitched and paused while waiting for that unforgettable strike off a big bream. Shannon O’Brien felt that thud of a big bream on his new Daiwa Infeet SK rod last week. Using an Ecogear MX48 down on the flats below the bridge he caught both bream and perch on the same lure. The Curdies River fished well for those that fished in the lake on Sunday in the Warrnambool and District Angling club’s competition held last weekend. Shane Murphy took out top honour with a 850g bream and a 3.858kg bag of 5 fish. Jessica Lane caught the heaviest fish in the ladies section with a nice 820g bream. Most of the better quality fish came from the lake but there were some nice fish stacked up on the fish finders they just wouldn’t eat.

This weekend sees some nice conditions with slight northerlies and some dropping swell so offshore should be an option available. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!