In Depth Fishing Report 17/3

17 Mar 23

The barrel fever has hit the South West and boats are driving massive distances just to have a go at one of these prized fish. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, the rivers around the area are also fishing well for bream and perch.

Saltwater: barrel fever is in full swing after the secret was let out of the bag last week that there were a few fish starting to show up at Portland and off Bridgewater. Matthew Hunt Fishing Services had a great day on them landing fish up to 123.2kg which is the heaviest this season. Our very own tuna gun Xavier Ellul and good mates Luke Gercovich, Bilal Khanyari and Locky Spiteri fished Sunday off Portland where they landed a cracker fish weighing in at 103kg which took a Samaki Pacemaker in the Blue Pink Silver colour. This was one of the triple hook ups off this one patch of fish which saw the other two tuna win their fight and swim away. They also got two smaller fish on Saturday weighing in at 71kg and 82kg respectively. There is an abundance of bait fish out there at present and this has really fired these big feeding fish up. There are massive schools of pilchards, small barracouta and squid about and these fish aren’t holding back eating most lures or skirts that are being dragged past their nose. Bigger pusher style heads like the Bonze D-Shackle and JB Dingos in the skirts have been doing a lot of damage as they create a lot of splash and a large bubble trail going through the schools of bait. Another worthy option is the ever popular Bonze Exocet in a range of colours. The holographic wings on the side of the skirt really gives it the standout flash it needs. The bullet shaped head allows it to duck and weave through the pressure waves and gives it a very erratic action. On the diving minnow side of things the Samaki Pacemakers have been smashing them for years now but this season seems to have started particularly well for those running this style of lure. One thing you must do is upgrade the trebles on the lure to either very heavy gauge trebles or single hooks that aren’t going to straighten over the period of the fight. Single hooks are a far better option for keeping the hook in the fish due to there only being one hook point. This typically means that once the hook is in the fish there’s much less chance that it will tear out under pressure. Singles will last a lot longer into the fight and are also a better option for releasing fish. In other saltwater reports there has been some big whiting caught recently right through the coast but few bigger than Harry Linke’s 50cm KGW that he caught on Tuesday at Portland. This fish came in at 1.3kg which is a solid fish anywhere! Harry and his wife Wendy ended up with 12 whiting - the smallest being 38cm, 4 nice pinkie snapper and a squid. Harry said there was stacks of fish over there including some sizable salmon and even a late season rat king fish.

Estuaries: The Curdies River has fished very well this past week especially on the perch front with lots of fish being caught both up and down from the Boggy Creek boat ramp. The still nights have been the pick of the time to target surface feeding perch. In these conditions there is no better way to target them then with topwater lures cast along the edges. Pure Fishing sales rep Michael Moore had a cracker couple of days fishing in the Curdies using the Berkley topwater range and the Twitcher 50 cast in tight to the reeds. Mick and his mate landed a mixture of estuary perch, bream and even a surprising brown trout all in the same waters. Tim Vincent also got a surprise out of the upper Curdies River catching bream, estuary perch, redfin and a rainbow trout all out of the same stretch of water. It’s great to see some diversity in the system. The Hopkins has been fishing very well still for big bream which have been caught on a wide range of lures and baits. Live crabs fished unweighted along the Proudfoots area all the way to the bridge have been accounting for some big bream. There are some gnarly snags that will catch you out but you need to be close to those for any shot at a fish. Beefing your main line or leader up will help extract these fish especially when you start going up to 8 and 12lb leaders. If you’re wanting to cast a lure then a lightly weighted Berkley Crabby, Hurricane Spider crab or a Cranka Crab will get the bites.

With Easter coming up the Warrnambool and District Angling Club are gearing up for their biggest Easter Fishing Classic ever. This year just for entering you will go in the running for an Anglapro 354 Core Tinnie, Suzuki 9.9hp 4 Stroke, Easytow Trailer and Garmin Echomap UHD2 75CV fish finder. This package is valued at over $10,000 and for only $30 you could be walking away with it. There are heaps of other prizes for heaviest bream caught and released overall, open section and ladies section. After that your fish can be any of the following, bream, estuary perch, trout or mulloway. Juniors will be chasing the heaviest bream caught which doesn’t have to be released for first prize. After that the next heaviest fish will be awarded and so on. Entries will be taken at the club rooms from 10am on Good Friday at 3 Otway Road. Boundaries include the Curdies River to the Fitzroy River and any waterway in between. Presentation day will be Easter Sunday with all fish needing to be on the weigh mat by 12pm to be eligible for that day. There will be weigh ins on Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 6pm until 7pm. Saturday morning 9am until 10pm and the final weigh in on Sunday at 12pm. There will also be some excellent raffle prizes including 2 crayfish, a round of golf for 2 including cart hire thanks to the Warrnambool Golf Club and more. For further information you can email the club on or via their Facebook page.

Until next week tight lines and best of luck.