In Depth Fishing Report 12/1

12 Jan 23

It’s been another week of flat stick fishing both in-land and offshore and by the looks of the forecast it’s only getting better.


Saltwater: The tuna anglers have been left frustrated yet again, by spooky fish that won’t let boats anywhere near them without disappearing. If you can find a patch of fish that is feeding, then there’s a real possibility of some proper school fish. Typically, the summer fish are of smaller size than the annual winter run of fish but the past couple of seasons have seen some cracking fish. Phil Pirotta fought a barrel tuna for 5.5 hours on spin gear only to pull hooks after an epic battle. According to Phil there were another 10 or 12 large fish alongside the one he hooked which is strange for this time of year. There have been some proper school fish around the 30-40kg, but these have been the flightiest of them all. Casting stick baits from a distance is the preferred technique for spooky fish as you can position yourself away from the fish and not drive directly over the top of them. Using natural coloured stick baits in a pilchard or whitebait colour will put you in good stead to get hooked up. Portland has been the go-to place for a kingfish with a lot of “rats” (smaller fish) caught off the breakwater and close proximity to the boat ramp. Anglers chasing salmon have been given a wakeup call when a kingie has grabbed their lure. Although the size of these fish has been on the smaller side, they certainly make up for it during their fight. The shallow reefs close by to the breakwater have seen some bigger fish caught on both Sluggos trolled, as well as casting poppers long the edge of the reefs which is a perfect ambush spot for a pack of kings. Alongside the tuna and kings, big salmon have also been present especially in the Port Fairy area. These can be spotted just like kings from the surface, and if you're lucky enough to be beach fishing when a school comes in, you'll be in for a good time. The bottom fishing has again been good for both gummy sharks and pinkies, but the numbers of pinkies is well down on past years. There are lots of small fish in the harbour which are keeping holiday makers busy, alongside your usual fish such as flathead, mullet, whiting and wrasse. Squid are also being landed on the inshore reefs around Portland, Port Fairy, Killarney and off the Port Campbell pier.


Freshwater/Estuary: The fishing inland has been just as good as offshore this week, thanks to the slowing of rivers following the spring floods. The Hopkins has fished very well for bream this week, especially down the front section on a high tide or just on dark. Fishing small soft plastics and hardbodies over schooled fish, rock walls or mud flats has been quite productive. You'll also find plenty of estuary perch as bycatch. For those keen anglers willing to put long hours in at night, mulloway are currently making their way through the system however have proved quite difficult to catch. The front end of the river is where most of these fish are residing. In the freshwater, reports have been very quiet on the rivers however this is simply due to a lack of anglers. Darcy Cutter landed himself a solid redfin from the Merri River casting a Presso 95, and there's still trout to be caught even in January. Just watch for snakes! The redfin lakes across the west fish very well during January; some of the popular spots include Elingamite, Aringa, Gillear, Purrumbete and Bridgewater Lakes. Fish are still in abundance in Lake Bullen Merri, with plenty of trout and salmon being landed. Bait fishing at anchor, with a burley trail, has been the best tactic. Trolling is also proving productive however due to the warmer water temperatures, use of a downrigger or trolling sinkers will increase catch rates. Further north, the native fish are biting well both at Rocklands and in the Wimmera, with golden perch, Murray Cod and Australian Bass present. Fishing early and late in the day, targeting inundated timber and shady sections will put you in with a good chance at a Rocklands native. During the day, bait fishing with worms and yabbies on a paternoster rig is a simple but deadly method.


The weather this weekend isn't perfect, however Saturday morning will give saltwater anglers an opportunity to head out. There's great opportunities to fish the rivers for the rest of the weekend though! Best of luck.