In Depth Fishing Report 12/4

12 Apr 24

And just like that winter has crept in early and we have been hit by some solid south easterly winds that have changed the water quality offshore. Most of the estuaries are blocked at the time of writing this article but could go at any time now.

Offshore: For the anglers not wishing to chase tuna around all over the ocean there has been some great bottom fishing for both shark and snapper. The crew at Salty Dog Charters has their big boat up and running again and can accommodate for large groups on this super comfortable vessel. They recently had 8 friends jump onboard in search of some tasty eating fish. The crew ended up with a mixture of 8 sharks including some great gummies and schoolies. Like usual this time of year there is always the possibility of some decent snapper amongst these sharks on the bottom. Dan and his crew have also been getting his customers onto some great school tuna action again off Port Fairy. Using small skirts is the way to go early in the season when they come in close looking for an easy feed. Typically what will happen is the earlier in the season, from November to February when the water is still warm the tuna are fixed on the small white bait that come in close with the warm water. As the year gets on and the water becomes colder these smaller baits disappear and the bigger baits such as pilchards become more prevalent which is why they tend to be caught on bigger skirts and divers too. During this time it’s not uncommon to be trolling 8-12” skirts looking for barrels only to have a school tuna scream off with them too. Speaking of screaming off, that’s exactly what is happening over at Port MacDonnell where all the barrel action has been. Anglers from all over the state and beyond have been flocking to the small fishing town just over the South Australian border in search of a jumbo bluefin. Most of the action has come just on the border between Victoria and South Australia but as you know tuna can travel ridiculous distances in any given day in search of a feed. So just because they were there one day doesn’t mean they will be anywhere near that area the next. Keeping a keen eye out for any bird activity or surface action and running a spread of skirts and lures through these can sometimes mean you find a patch of fish to yourself. Even though most of the action has seen tuna on peoples radars there have been some quality salmon in closer to home. These fish have been busting up on the bait schools and have been sucking in anglers thinking they are tuna. Salmon to 3kg are keeping anglers busy both off the breakwater in Warrnambool and in the boats along our coast. Down towards Peterborough there have been some quality snapper caught both on baits and jigs fished along rubbly bottom. Anglers have been using the Garmin Shade Relief maps to hunt out small bumps on the maps and heading straight there with great accuracy and results. Charlie Beggs and his dad Richard did exactly that with their Garmin map card. The boys picked out likely looking areas and pinpointed a lump off the bottom and fished it with great success. Charlie scored a solid snapper over 3kg and some nice eating gummy shark too. For more information come into the shop and see us today for a run down.  

Estuaries: The majority of the rivers around our area are blocked or recently opened. The Hopkins continues to be very high but this hasn’t helped the fishing for the bigger ones. It looks to be a year where the smaller fish are way too aggressive and don’t give the bigger fish a chance to attack the baits or lures. That being said there has been the odd bigger fish being landed in amongst the smaller ones. The new snags at Deakin thanks to the awesome work of the Glenelg Hopkins CMA are thriving lately with fish holding around them. This area was where most of the big fish in last months Easter Fishing Classic were found. A lot of anglers are adamant that the bigger bream in the system have just simply moved into the fresh section thanks to the high water levels allowing them to move up and over the rapids. This might be true but what we do know now is that it’s super challenging to get the 40cm plus bream that this river is known for. The Glenelg River is super high also and is very close to opening thanks to the water being right up into the car parks and it being very difficult to launch boats. The fishing has been very good for bream though while the water has been up. Bream Master SA held a Hobie comp on the weekend and the winner Dylan Pace caught some great fish over 2 days to weigh his best 6 that went 5.71kg. All these fish were caught on a Outback Breamer Bait cast under jetties and boats up the system. The evolution of lures to target bream has come so far in such a short time. First it was a flat piece of metal called a blade, then the Cranka Crab was invented by breaming legends Steve Steer and Andrew Cox and it now seems that the Outback Breamer Bait’s Muss is right up there as a proven fish catcher and a big one at that! Not only do these things hold the heaviest bag of 5 bream in an Australian Tournament record they also allow everyone the ability to look like a pro. A lot of the time these lures are simply used by only casting in super close to structure on slack line and winding up to find a fish has already eaten it on the drop. Just one thing you must not do and that is fish them on light leader cause these things have a habit of finding the bigger fish.  

Freshwater: The lakes at Camperdown and Cobden have been fishing well for trout, redfin and salmon. Ken Carman from Victorian Inland Fishing Charters has been finding some great schools of redfin for his customers. Along with the bags of redfin they have been catching they also have been running into some solid brown trout mixed in with them. These fish have been taking soft plastics and will become even more active once the water becomes cooler and the true winter weather moves in. Trout to 3kg have been landed recently and some decent salmon to 2kg in Purrumbete. Lake Bullen Merri is clean and the fishing has been good recently. Russell Pickett fished with some traveling anglers who are diehard trollers for trout and salmon. They landed roughly 15 solid salmon and trout using a mixture of winged lures like the Tassie Devil and hard bodies which were on downriggers and paravanes. Over at Lake Elingamite just outside of Cobden there has been some solid redfin coming out of it by those fishing worms, soft plastics and trolling shallow hard bodies. This lake is super shallow in sections thanks to the thick weed but in the deeper sections the majority of fish will congregate and can be caught fairly easy. Being a small lake it’s important to remember to be courteous to other users and you keep your distance. The Rocklands Reservoir has been producing some great yellow belly on both lures and bait. Mason Walpole headed up Easter weekend and scored a great 55cm yella on a yabby. Black grubs lightly weighted and fished around structure has also been producing some great fish.     With a nice weather window on the weekend we should see a few anglers head over to Port Mac for a shot at one of the big bluefin.

Until next week tight lines and best of luck.