In Depth Fishing Report 19/1

19 Jan 23

It was a week of firsts for some anglers in the South West which made it exciting. First Mako’s, first Kingy’s and first Tuna were the target for those inexperienced on these species. Rivers are still producing some nice fish and so are the lakes.

Saltwater: As mentioned in the new opening, there was a several firsts ticked off the list for some of those that headed out during this past week. Max Fry was one of these anglers when he landed an 8kg bluefin tuna on a home-made fly. On their first trip in the ocean in their tinny it was a great effort regardless of the boat they were in. Another first that was ticked off was Wendy Linke who caught her first kingfish on a Pakula Skirt trolled near the anchorage of Portland. Not to be outdone by his Mum, Adam Linke also ticked off his first bluefin tuna in the same area. Heaps of small kings were present and very inquisitive of the lures, especially the stick baits. The tuna were so finicky that they drove away from them in search for more kings. Boat traffic has been an issue lately with some operators not understanding etiquette for other users. Don’t be that person that drives into someone else’s school of fish and ruin it for everyone. If someone is casting into the school then don’t go trolling through the school like some have been as it will wreck it for everyone. On the bottom fishing side of things it’s been a whiting week with stacks of big fish coming on the chew both on land and in boats. Geordie Allardice scored a thumping 1.029kg whiting off Port Fairy while fishing with his father Russell. Although we have a solid whiting fishery it’s not very often that we see a fish of this calibre. James Porter stumbled across a new whiting spot off Portland after lucking out of the king fish and tuna which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. He landed 15 odd fish on a range of baits but blue bait was the standout on this particular day. Plenty of gummy sharks closer to home with Warrnambool and Port Fairy ramps seeing plenty brought in by offshore anglers. The usual crews have been getting most of their fish on squid and pilchards just beyond the dirty water line which is thanks to the floods from our rivers. Killarney has seen the welcome return of big Australian Salmon by those chasing whiting. Targeting these fish isn’t a hard task and can sometimes only require a back pack and a couple of metals and your trusty light rod combo. Chasing these schools of fish up and down the beach is half the fun and also gives you some great exercise at the same time and that’s before you hook into a rampaging salmon.

Estuaries: the Hopkins River has turned it on again this week with some cracking fish caught on a mixture of baits and lures. The bream have once again moved to crabs on walls which is when we see most of the bigger fish caught. Mason Hunt scored a 44cm bream below the bridge on a soft plastic worked slowly on the sand flats. These fish below the bridge have had a really good flush of salt water through their gills this week after some bigger seas and big tides pushed clean water right up to the bridge. Not only has the lower sections been fishing well but above Jubilee has also fished well for both perch and bream. Using hard bodies up here on the rock wall edges is your best shot at landing that Hopkins beast of a fish. The mulloway have been a lot quieter the past couple weeks which either means that the boat traffic has slowed them down or they have moved out of the system. You never quite know when these fish will switch on and turn up so persistence is certainly the key to that. The Glenelg River has seen some quality bream and perch caught just below Sapling Creek on cut mullet cast into the deeper drop offs around mud flats. Using as light of or even no sinker is the way to go and will allow the fish to take off with it without feeling extra weight.

Freshwater: it’s been redfin and more redfin this week for everyone fishing the local lakes and rivers. Darcy Cutter scored a ripper river redfin out of his kayak. Although there aren’t as many redfin in the rivers as the lakes, they certainly are a lot bigger. If you get one don’t be surprised if it’s over 40cm and fat as a pig! Typically these fish are caught as bi-catch to trout anglers casting soft plastics and hard bodies along the reeds. Not often known for their power, they certainly put up a great account for themselves in a river. Lake Purrumbete is still producing some quality trout on both lures trolled and live minnow fished on a downrigger. Fish to 2.4kg have been caught in the Lake Purrumbete Angling Clubs twilight competitions along with redfin to 877g. Bullen Merri is still the place to be for a trophy size chinook salmon with loads of big fish getting caught each week. Using blue bait cubed down a steady trail has been the preferred method along with trolling hard bodies on downriggers. Anything that looks like the natural bait fish in here will be your best chance so a green or white lure will hold you in good stead.

This weekends forecast looks to be a possible chance for most to head offshore early on Saturday morning but Sunday looks a lot harder. The Warrnambool and District Angling Club will be holding another competition on Saturday afternoon beginning at 1pm and concluding at 7pm. There will be prizes for heaviest bream and heaviest bag of 5 bream in the open section, heaviest bream in the juniors and heaviest fish in the ladies section. There will also be a prize for heaviest other fish which can be won by anyone who fished the competition. BBQ tea and drinks will be available after the weigh in. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!