In Depth Fishing Report 17/8

17 Aug 23

The weather gods have come good finally with some really nice days that have got the juices flowing again for the offshore crews after a very quiet stint. Lakes and rivers are also fishing well just like they have done for the past couple of months.

Offshore: If you’re like me and love a feed of fresh flake then this is your time to get out and into the shark fishing. Some brilliant captures have been hauled in lately both in close and at the shelf. Some of the boys from our workshop headed out to the shelf where they were over run by school sharks. They weren’t looking for these tasty sharks but more on the hunt for blue eye trevella or hapuka in the 400-500m depths of water. Nevertheless they had a good feed on their hands anyway. One boat that has been getting some brilliant school sharks in shallower water is that of Salty Dog Charters. Dan and Phil have been putting their clients right on the money each time lately. The past few trips have seen some cracking school sharks and some big gummies come aboard. Along with the sharks have been some decent eating pinkie snapper, nannygai and the odd tuna when they come across a patch. Closer in around the 40-50m mark there has been a wide variety of fish showing up on the reefs and broken ground. Everything from gummies, snapper, nannygai, flounder and barber perch have been getting landed by those fishing hard on the bottom with baits such as pilchards, squid and fresh cut baits. If heading to the shelf is your thing then there has been some great fish being caught. Blue eye trevella have been a big hit and miss for some but Lewis Holland and Luke Smith got stuck into some big ones recently. Using a mixture of jigs and baits in 400-500m of waters which is hard work if not using electric reels. Lewis scored fish of the day with a very solid blue eye on one of his first drops. He also dropped something very big on a jig which he thinks was a hapuka as it was a very violent fight most of the way up before pulling hooks. Although it’s a very long way out to the shelf the best part is nearly all the fish that you find out there taste amazing and certainly make up for all the km’ spent driving and fuel burnt.  Tuna have had a bit of a revival in the past couple weeks but I think this was solely due to the fact boats weren’t able to fish for them due to the weather and sea conditions. Numerous tuna over the 80kg mark have been caught recently by anglers mostly trolling skirts behind spreader bars. There has been a fair bit of bait in the Portland area from Cape Nelson to Bridgewater Bay which is a fairly big area so keeping an eye out for any likely signs will be very important.

Estuaries: the Hopkins River has seen some great bream recently by anglers fishing both bait and soft plastics along the shallower areas. None bigger though than Mason Hunts 47cm bream which he caught behind the mud flat. Once they get this big are a serious handful on light gear especially this time of year when they pack on the weight in preparation for spawning. Max Fry and his dad Janaka have been getting some belters too both off the bank and out of their boat. Casting soft plastics such as the Z-Man Grub in Gudgeon and the Hurricane Sprats in super shallow water they have landed bream to 45cm. Along with these blue nose bruisers there have been some nice perch too mixed in the same areas. The water is beginning to come good with some good tides pushing water onto the mudflat. Hopefully we will see it continue and maybe the possibility of some more mulloway come into the system to surprise anglers targeting the bream and perch. Down east at the Curdies River there have been some great capture of both bream and perch on soft plastics and vibe style lures. Pure Fishing rep Michael Moore had a great day with bream and perch hitting all sorts of lures. His best results came on the Cappuccino Berkley Nemesis powerbait rigged on a light jig head.  The secret weapon in this technique was the addition of the Gulp slime to his lures. This is a powder scent that when your lure is dipped into it then back into water it turns into a slime and attracts the fish like you won’t believe. Other notable captures have been a 47cm perch that Declan Betts caught on a lightly weighted soft plastic too.  

Freshwater: our lakes across the South West have again produced some excellent fishing for both redfin, salmon and trout. Lake Purrumbete is the pick of the lakes filled with redfin if you’re after a feed of these freshwater fighters. Victorian Inland Charters skipper Ken Carman has been putting his clients onto some great reddies with bags that cover the whole cleaning table, on soft plastics. Finding schools of redfin is fairly easy this time of year and simply jigging a plastic through the school is sometimes all you need to do. The hardest part is finding out what lure colour and weight jig head they want on any particular day. A lot of anglers are now turning to the more natural bait fish colours unlike other years where it was red and orange plastics to try replicate a baby redfin which the bigger ones eat due to their carnivorous nature. Lakes Aringa and Elingamite have also been producing good numbers of redfin this week; it’s the time to go! The upper Glenelg River has had over 2000kg of carp removed this week to reduce the biomass of this invasive species. It’s a shame just how rapidly the carp bred and grew once present in the Glenelg, however it is great to see the Glenelg Catchment Management Authority working on the problem. Alongside the carp, good numbers of native fish such as estuary perch, river blackfish  and Australian bass to 3.8kg (53cm!) were caught, showing a healthy system.    

The weekend isn’t looking ideal for a fish but you could definitely have a fish in the rivers if you’re keen. Good luck!