In Depth Fishing Report 11/5

11 May 23

The past week has seen some wild weather which has affected the fishing opportunities but there has been some great captures despite this. As the cold weather really gets going, species such as trout and tuna will begin to dominate the reports and this week is no different.


Saltwater: the abundance of big bluefin tuna has again consumed the offshore anglers minds. After a quiet couple of weeks thanks to the hot bite off Port MacDonnell, Portland has come back to life in a big way. Not only have the bluefin returned but so have the beautiful looking dolphinfish or Mahi Mahi as they are also known. These energetic, brightly coloured fish give anglers a great fight and can provide some acrobatics rarely seen in local fish. So why are these warmer temperature fish down here during our coldest months of the year? It’s simple really; the water temperatures have risen and these fish have followed that warm current down to us. However, don’t get too excited and assume that they are busting up everywhere out there, as that’s not the case but they are definitely mixing in with the bluefin. One thing you can do is if you do see a patch of kelp floating on the surface then troll your lures close to it. The dolphinfish will hold on any structure like that to give them cover so don’t just zip by. Matthew Hunt Fishing Services and Sharkmen Charters which are both operating out of Portland at the moment have been landing some cracking dolphinfish recently. Their customers have been getting quite a few so to get your spot and the chance to land one hit the boys up. Xavier Ellul has increased his PB tuna for the season again 2 weekends ago with a 130kg+ fish hitting the deck at Port MacDonnell. Using live yakkas and pilchards was the preferred method of most that were making the trip over. The hardest part of it all was catching the live bait, before finding a school of hungry barrels and simply feeding it down until it got bit. The best part of this whole technique is you don’t need an expensive overhead combo and the spin combos will get you by, providing it’s set up correctly. A heavy rod in PE 5-8, spin reel in the 14,000-25,000 sizes spooled with heavy braid in the 80lb range, 150lb leader and a good solid circle hook is the equipment needed to land one of these fish. The other thing needed is a lot of grit to fight through the pain barrier if you get caught in a long battle. Trolling lures such as the Nomad DTX 200 and Bonze Exocets have also been proving deadly on the local population of tuna. With the bigger seas becoming an issue with live baiting, the skirts and hardbodies will start to become the go to again.


Freshwater: there has been loads of freshwater reports coming in recently both from the lakes and rivers around our district. Amanda Keilar from the WIRF network (Women In Recreational Fishing) came down to take part in a kids fishing clinic which was to be run by the Victorian Fisheries Authority, but after it was cancelled she couldn’t help herself and went fishing.  Checking out a few of the local hot spots her efforts were rewarded with 2 nice brown trout and an estuary perch. Slow rolling shallow hard bodies along the weed edges and the rock piles that provide coverage for the trout is what brought these fish undone. Lewis Holland landed an absolute cracker trout recently during his lunch break. This brown was estimated at 6-7lb and was a beautiful looking fish also. I’ve heard of some anglers landing over 10 trout in a single day by putting in the miles and walking many kilometres to find clean water that another angler hasn’t already fished in recent days. There are some popular spots that you just have to try due to what they’ve produced in past sessions, but walking away from everyone else is how you enjoy quality days. It's important to know the properties you can access the bank and the ones that you can’t which will save you a mouthful from the owners. A couple of young guns that have definitely been putting the time in are Harry Chatfield and Mason Hunt. These guys have been walking the banks of the upper Hopkins River landing some nice perch to 40cm. These fish are typically on the swim back down the river in preparation of spring spawning in the lower sections, however there's still a late season bite. In the Crater Lakes there has been a lot of boat activity especially in Lake Purrumbete which hasn’t seemed to put the fishing off. Redfin are still prolific and thick which makes for some tasty eating for those who keep them. Live minnows fished in the many deep schools that you’ll find on your fish finder has been red hot. Andrew Smith and his son Dusty had double hook ups and all on their recent trip while using live minnow and soft plastics. On the other side of Camperdown at Lake Bullen Merri the tiger trout are going bananas. Ash Rawlings has been getting some quality fish trolling double clutches and other deep diving minnows along the edges. These tiger trout are super aggressive towards a lure and aren’t afraid of eating a bigger lure. Not only have the tiger trout been biting but the chinook salmon are also going well.

Estuaries: the Yak Hunters Victoria kayak fishing group held a round in the Hopkins River this weekend just gone and there was some great fish caught on the day. Many bream over 40cm were caught on a mixture of shallow hard bodies, soft plastics and Cranka crabs cast along the rock walls. First place in the pro division went to Brendan Smith who landed 3 bream for a total length of 117.5cm. In the Amateur category they go out and try catch their biggest 2 fish and it was Duane Penza who landed his two biggest fish which measured a total of 78cm . All these fish are photographed on a brag mat on the kayak and released straight away. Congratulations to one of our loyal customers Shannon O’Brien who placed 3rd in his first ever event. In other competition news, 4 anglers from Warrnambool headed down the highway to Mallacoota for round 2 of the 2023 Vic Bream Classic series held on the weekend. Lewis Holland, Tim Treloar and Jack and Chris Allwood fished in terrible conditions with basically non stop rain greeting them all weekend. Tim and Lewis had a decent comp finishing in 13th position with their 10 fish weighing 7.23kg. Chris and Jack finished in 21st with their 10 bream weighing in at 6.8kg. Mallacoota didn’t fish like it has in the past few years with many teams having to opt to fish deep with vibe lures and heavy soft plastics. The Curdies River was set to be opened this week after the water levels had risen right up into both the car park at Boggy Creek and the Caravan Park at Peterborough. Hopefully this will help the blue green algae situation that is again rearing its head.


This weekend is predicted to be one with 3m swell on Saturday before dropping back to 2.2m on Sunday with some north easterly winds. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!