In Depth Fishing Report 17/2

17 Feb 23

The fishing this week has still been pretty good despite some average weather days in the mix. The Hopkins is firing and offshore is still producing some quality table fish.

Saltwater: Mako sharks have again been high on anglers radars after some nice fish were caught in recent weeks. Matthew Hunt Fishing Services customers got the fight of their life when they got connected to a whopping 287kg Mako off Portland. Typically these amazing creatures put on quite a show and this monster of a fish certainly didn’t disappoint with some epic jumps and long screaming runs. Unfortunately for Matt, the side of his boat got a fair hammering once the shark was boat-side. All beginner mako anglers must understand the importance of safety with these sharks. Take your time and always make sure that you know what you’re doing as they are very dangerous creatures if handled incorrectly. A flying gaff is essential for when you are trying to land a mako as you can easily have a gaff rip out of the shark when they roll or even worse can be severely injured by the gaff handle. Our pick is the Tony’s Tackle slip tip system which is a pivoting gaff head which when inserted into the shark straightens and becomes lodged in the shark. Due to their tough skin it won’t come out and you just need to tie it off to a bollard or rail on your boat and allow the shark to get tired. In other offshore news there has been plenty of bluefin tuna caught both off Port Fairy and Portland this past week. Portland’s north shore is full of tuna after the dirty water made it’s way into the bay but looks to have cleared a fair bit. Casting small stick baits and poppers such as the Maria Pop Queen into the rippling schools has been the preferred method. We get asked a lot in store for what to look for when targeting tuna, and the first thing people say is the birds. Although this is correct when the fish are feeding and smashing bait schools on the surface, when they are just cruising or sunning themselves on the surface it’s not the case. These summer run of tuna are very flighty and require a sharp eye to spot them from a distance. What you’re looking for can sometimes be misinterpreted as wind ripple but is more than likely a school of tuna just below the surface. Glass out days make things much easier, because of the lack of swell and the easy contrast between fish patches and open water. Remember to pull up in front of the schools and make sure you're upwind so you can drift with your engine turned off making long casts. Peter Goode took Kevin and Archer Mills out off Port Fairy in search of their first tuna. Not only did they both get their first but they ended up with 8 for the day in a hot little session. Trolling skirts and hard bodies in the schools got these fish undone. Jack Kelson and 2 mates headed off Port Fairy also for a nice feed of snapper and a solid gummy shark. The shark fishing off the bottom continues to amaze everyone with just how consistent it has been.

Estuaries: the Hopkins River has fished very well this week for big bream. Bodhi Pannenburg stopped by the Tackle Shack for some advice on where to fish for the day. After speaking with Timmy he was armed with some hard bodies and soft plastics ready to hit the flats below the bridge. Didn’t take him long and he was sending us pictures of some solid bream to 41cm. Another crew that got some solid fish were Noah and Chris McNaughton and Mason Hunt who caught bream to 43cm below the bridge also. The steady flow of salt water into the system has meant that the water is back to its normal clear colour and the fishing is very tidal orientated. The river has also had a massive boost to its structure population this week after the Glenelg Hopkins CMA placed another lot of snags along the bank from Mahoneys Road all the way through to Rowans Lane which were built by the Warrnambool and District and Allansford Angling Clubs last year. This latest addition now takes the total number of placed habitats to 127 in this small section. These snags are now marked with buoys which are the very outside of the snags so going inside these buoys can mean that you may hit something if not careful. All in all it’s a brilliant idea and a great way of bringing the fish habitats back after the major flood events that we encountered in the past 15-20 years. Well done to the CMA for noticing the lack of structure and being proactive about improving it. The amount of small perch in the system has been a welcome sign due to the fact that these will only be the bigger fish in years to come. After a few slow years for bigger perch there’s now hope that we will see some larger fish caught too.

This weekends forecast looks like a half decent one with moderate winds and a 2m swell rolling. If you get out on the weekend and wish to share your catch you can either do so via our email or via our social media platforms. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.