In Depth Fishing Report 10/2

10 Feb 23

Big snapper, Mako sharks, EPs and all the usual suspects have flooded reports this week. Massive seas have washed some brilliant blue water into the Hopkins River and with this has brought some unusual captures so let’s have a look at what’s been keeping rods buckled.

Saltwater: as mentioned, there has been some quality snapper caught recently off Warrnambool. None bigger than the 85cm fish caught by local angler Rodney Blake. Along with some great gummy and school sharks it made for a fantastic session. Daryl Richardson landed a quality 72cm snapper recently which was also off Warrnambool. The gummy shark fishing both off Port Fairy and Warrnambool has been excellent. James Porter headed out Thursday and landed some cracking gummies. Being back at the ramp with a bag of gummies by 10am is a solid effort. Tuna have still been a pretty popular species off Port Fairy and Portland but with the big seas making the water fairly murky in recent days they seem to have slowed down considerably. Using a teaser on the surface to make as much disturbance in the water is certainly proving a popular technique both now and over recent years. Either rigging the teaser as a lure or just as a stand alone teaser will certainly give you more chance of catching a tuna. The kingfish have been pretty tricky also after being smashed from pillar to post in the past couple of weeks over at Portland. That and also the lack of live bait inside the harbour is contributing to the slow fishing. Maybe we have seen the beginning of the end of the season which has been pretty good really. Some solid whiting have been caught both off Killarney and Port Fairy but it’s the welcome return of them inside the bay at Warrnambool that has most excited. The breakwater is producing some nice whiting and salmon, which is what a few of the Geelong Cats players found out during the week while on their community camp. Jeremy Cameron, Patrick Dangerfield and Brad Close fished off the breakwater landing a few solid salmon on metals. I wonder if it’s due to the dredging of the harbour that’s making these fish come in again or just a coincidence but either way it’s great to see.

Estuaries: There has been some weird captures in the Hopkins River recently. Some big tides and huge seas have forced blue water right through the system and that has seen some unusual captures. Skeeta Andrew’s caught a great 35cm flathead down below the bridge on Friday night which isn’t the first I’ve heard or seen but certainly the biggest I’ve heard of. Steve Ryan from the Glenelg Hopkins CMA said that he also heard of some solid flounder caught below the bridge after the big sea. The most unusual and probably the biggest surprise was the capture of squid in the blue hole area. Not just one either, but I know of 5 now that have been caught on soft plastics by anglers targeting bream and perch. These squid weren’t just small either with one measuring 55cm total length. Mother Nature is a strange thing and continues to surprise us all with what it throws at us. Just another target species in the already excellent fishery. Bream fishing in the Hopkins has been great after the salt water push with crabs, cut mullet and soft plastics being stand outs recently. The fish have certainly moved higher up the system with quality fish caught from the top to bottom on various techniques. The Curdies River is again producing some nice perch and bream which was a surprise to most after last years events with the algae bloom. Like the Hopkins, the reports have been coming wide spread which is another great sign moving forward. The lake has unfortunately seen a small algae bloom but at the moment it’s nothing to be worried about but I still wouldn’t be eating any fish that are caught in the lake itself just to be sure. The biggest tip that I can give you in the Curdies is to keep on the move because these fish, both bream and perch have a tendency to move up and down the system throughout the day. If you have an electric motor then keep it ticking along while making a wide range of casts that will cover both the deeper areas and in close too. The bridge at Curdievale has seen some great numbers of perch hanging around it especially closer to dark which is exactly what Shane Murphy and Greame Whittaker found out recently. The boys have been putting some time in learning how to fish soft plastics more consistently and it’s started to pay off with this particular night yielding them 30 or so perch. Even though they aren’t the biggest fish at the moment it’s certainly a great size class of fish to get your eye in with plastics.

Freshwater: Reports of Hopkins River and Mount Emu Creek carp continue to come in. Oskar Masters and Declan Stoddart have been landing several each night this week up to 80cm. It's quite worrying both for our trout fishery and native fish populations already under pressure. Carp are something that have occasionally appeared in the rivers over the years but never in the numbers we're seeing now. Most likely these fish were washed down with the floods in spring from the Burrumbeet Creek; a carp infested Emu Creek tributary near Ballarat. If these fish take a hold in the local rivers, we will never get rid of them. Panmure's swimming hole has been a hotspot, but the fish have been reported right along the Mount Emu Creek and between Framlingham and the Falls on the Hopkins. I’m sure the appropriate authorities are all over this as they are with any other issues that our fantastic waterways have encountered over time. To catch a carp, try lightly weighted baits of worms, bread dough or corn in a berley trail of corn kernels. Make sure to remove any fish from the waterway, legally they cannot be released. Anyway let’s get back on track with some decent captures that we want to talk about. Ed Richardson caught a solid perch on a surface lure around Allansford during the week and lost another in a really quick little session just before dark. Using a Duo Shinmushi which is a small cicada style lure he was able to work a big area due to their loud action on the surface. Xavier Ellul and Luke Gercovich have also been getting stuck into some nice perch on both surface and hard bodies. According to the guys that fish it a lot over summer the general size of the perch are down but the numbers are up which suggests that they had a great spawning year a few years back.

This weekends forecast doesn’t look great with some moderate winds and a bit of slop on the sea. Wednesday next week looks good wind-wise but the way the weather has been lately it could easily turn into a cyclone. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.