In Depth Fishing Report 12/1

12 Jan 24

An up and down week of fishing again due to the prevailing South Easterly winds. Even in trying conditions there has still been some great captures both offshore and in the river and lakes.

Saltwater: Portland has gone kingfish mad the past few weeks thanks to warm water coming through the area and the abundance of bait such as squid and yakkas. Trolling live baits has been the preferred method this past week and really has been a top technique for a long time. The beauty about trolling live baits is that you can do it in rough conditions and still cover lots of area. While casting lures is a super fun way of targeting these fish, it just isn’t ideal to be doing so when you can hardly stand up in the boat due to swell so dragging some baits around is perfect! There has been loads of squid around and so many that they have been killing the other squid and live baits when being trolled. You can catch these feisty critters on a number of different techniques but casting and retrieving a squid jig is the most used technique and the most effective too. There’s just something about whipping that jig up off the bottom and having it lunge back when hooked. Using a turnip float with a baited jig underneath is a great way to fish for them especially when drifting around casting a jig on another rod. Many anglers even use a hand line drifted behind the boat which works well too. One great tip is if your mate hooks one, then cast just behind the hooked squid and you’ll most likely pick up another one too, as they will travel in pairs and schools. So once you have caught the squid how do you rig them? Well the most popular way of rigging a live squid is a snelled twin hook rig. The top hook is pinned in the top of the hood at the very tip and the second hook is simply placed just behind the head through one side of the hood. This way means that if the king fish takes it head first there is a hook there and the same if it takes it down deep. Using a snelled rig is also very effective for shallow water snapper which there is also a lot about at the moment. Huge schools of pinkies have made their way into the shallow reefs and have been running amuck on anglers baits. The size range is mostly between 30 and 40cm but there has been the odd bigger fish mixed in with them. These fish are a perfect candidate for a lightly weighted soft plastic or even a micro jig dropped on their heads. This is a very cost effective way of getting a feed while not losing baits every drop. Basically all you need is bream tackle (2-5kg with 2500 reel) with a range of different types of shapes and colours of soft plastics and you’ll be set. A 4" jerk shad in a bright colour is a very good choice. The shark fishing has been nothing short of insane this week but not just for the gummies and school shark. Thresher sharks and some solid makos have been caught by anglers fishing both inshore and offshore. Most of the threshers have been caught by anglers trolling lures and baits for king fish along the back of the north shore reefs. One angler tangled with one for over an hour before it won its freedom. These thresher sharks are one of the quickest fish in the sea and also one of the best looking with their long ribbon like tail and beautiful purple flanks. This tail is often used to slap the bait and stun them before they come back around and eat them. The reason they do this is because they have a super small mouth compared to other pelagic sharks. A lot of threshers are hooked either in the tail or somewhere on the body because of the way they eat a bait. So when you’re targeting them keep that in mind when choosing a hook size.

Estuaries: the Hopkins River has seen some green coloured water come down from the freshwater section which looks to be an algal bloom. This water at the time of writing the article is sitting around the Bay of Biscay and will eventually make its way downstream to the lower section and out to sea. Don’t be too alarmed by this and just keep an eye out in the area where you’re fishing. If you catch a fish in the area of this discoloured water I would strongly suggest you release it to avoid getting sick if it is a nasty algae. Speaking to some of the guys in the know it may be due to the freshwater and saltwater mixing after it opened last week, but until testing is done it's suggested releasing the fish until its determined what it is. Other than that it’s been great fun for most including young Mason McArthur who scored 8 quality bream all around the 38cm mark on crabs. Most of his fish were landed in the Hen and Chickens area while fishing with Peter Bond. Young Mason had a great day on the water even driving the boat to their first spot which proved a great choice of location! The amount of young kids that are getting into fishing at the moment is great to see for future progression in the sport that we love so much. Another couple of young kids that had a fun night out were Harrison and Cooper Leach who fished Friday night with Corey. The boys had never used lures before and were stoked to catch 8 bream and a estuary perch on paddle tail plastics. If you’ve been thinking of taking your kids out for a fish then definitely now is the time to do so. You don’t need the most knowledge or even the best gear to have some fun and fill in a few hours on the river. A packet of hooks, sinkers and either a packet of prawns or glassies will be the perfect starter pack. A nice soft rod in the 7-8ft mark with a 2500-4000 reel and some 8lb mono will be a great way to get your kids started. Just educating the kids on how to hold a fish properly can give them so much more confidence when fishing and if you’re not that confident with it all then stop by and we can help you with it all. Brent Saulitis headed to Nelson with his good mate Jai Russell in search of a mulloway and the boys landed one smaller fish up between Sapling Creek and the caves. Sitting in pouring rain the boys got a bit of reward for effort with this mulloway. Either way there definitely has been a decline in numbers the past few years.   

Freshwater: Lake Purrumbete has again produced some great redfin and trout fishing this past week. Some nice reddies to 2lb have been caught on a range of baits and lures across a wider depth range than usual. A lot of the fish are being caught right in amongst the weed beds around the edge of the lake which is great for the land based angler still wanting to target these tasty freshwater fish. Using worms either under a float or lightly weighted on the bottom is a great way to target them as well as casting soft plastics. The plastics are a great way to work out if they are actively feeding or not. But if you’re after a nice relaxing day then drowning a bait is definitely the way to go. Lake Elingamite has also been fishing very well for a number of anglers fishing for redfin. Often overlooked due to it’s shallow entry into the lake, it’s certainly a great fishery for redfin. Once you make it past the main  channel it actually deepens out a fair bit. Rocklands Reservoir has again fished well for yellow belly and the odd Murray cod. Best techniques have been slowly hopping the Jackall TN60’s for the yellas and casting Spinwright spinnerbaits deep in the structure. Being relatively snag resistant these lures are exceptional for natives such as cod that hold super close to their tree. A very basic retrieve with a flat roll, amd maybe a pause, is all that you need.

With some warmer weather on the way and less holiday boat traffic we might see some great fishing return again. If you’ve caught a fish that you’re proud to share then send it into us and we will share it online. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.