In Depth Fishing Report 19/10

19 Oct 23

With summer just around the corner and all expectations building I think it’s time we looked at what will be around our area and how to catch them in summer. The estuaries fire up and the ocean is typically more calm than during spring thanks to northerly winds.

Offshore: the offshore anglers focus moves towards the annual migration of king fish to the South West. The water begins to warm, the squid and baitfish come in close and then before we know it, there are schools and schools of rampaging kings. A few super keen anglers have already begun the search for them with no luck so far. The most important thing with kings is the water temperature which is why they are here only in the warmer months (as far as we know). So what temperature should you be looking for when starting your search? The local king experts agree anywhere between 17-19 degrees water temp is when you should start targeting them. Well known spots to target kings include Lady Julia Percy Island, Killarney, North Shore at Portland and also Julia Reef off Narrawong. All these places have one thing in common and that is heavy reef, which the king fish use to hunt their prey. Killarney, North Shore and Julia Reef are all very shallow reefs which typically associates with warmer water. One thing that will make your life difficult chasing these fish is dirty water due to strong winds and rough sea conditions. South-easterly winds during January onwards will turn the water a green shade; while these winds do drive upwellings which our incredible fisheries couldn't survive without, they do cool the waters and make fishing tougher. The Australia Day weekend is usually a very productive period for kings especially at Portland. And how do you catch them? Trolling with squid, garfish or slug-gos is a great way to cover water and look for fish. A teaser is a handy addition. Once a school has been found or spotted, casting poppers, stickbaits or slug gos into them will produce a strike. Live baiting in likely areas using yakkas, squid or slimeys is also dynamite; either under balloons or slow trolled (with careful rigging so they don't die). Jigging can also be used on deeper schools located using a sounder. Summer also sees the inshore waters filled with school sized tuna, which although fussy and flighty, can be great fun on cast stickbaits or small skirted trolled.

Inshore: Pinkies are a common catch basically anywhere in the ocean during summer, but rocky reefs and gravel patches hold more fish than most areas. You can catch pinkies off the jetties, off the rocks or beach, out of a boat, and they can be caught using both lures or bait. Great fun can be had using 3-5" plastics on light gear when fished in deeper water around North Shore, Portland Harbour or off Childer's Cove with plenty of pinkies as well as by-catch of flathead, nannygai and kings. King George Whiting are another south-west summer hit, with plenty of anglers targeting the sandy reefs of North Shore, Killarney and Port Fairy. Fresh pippies on a paternoster rig, and a bit of berley, will produce. A nice running tide at sunset is ideal, and be sure to fish anywhere reef meets sand (but not too far into the reef or you'll just catch wrasse). Squid can also be found in these same areas, and fish best when the tide isn't running so hard.

Inland: Bream are perhaps the most common target during summer, in basically any estuary between Princetown and Nelson. Perch can also be found in all these rivers and summer is an ideal time to target them off the surface; one of the most fun ways of fishing you can get down here. The trout will quieten down but deep holes along the Merri, Hopkins or Emu Creek will still produce fish later in the day.

So what's the fishing been doing this week? Barrels have quietened offshore but there's still a few around. Young Thomas and Kaitlin Neal joined forces to land an 84kg barrel, a great effort for these two anglers and their crew. Xavier Ellul also got his mate Jimmy onto his first barrel, a fight which went into the night. October and November are right in that switching period between winter barrels and summer school tuna, so despite the excellent season on the barrels, it has to come to an end soon. Reports inshore have been quieter despite a few flat days, but 40m is still producing big spring sharks. Just don't forget that these fat gummies and schools are often pregnant and hold pups inside at this time of year, so check on any sharks while you're still out there. Responsible fishing practises ensure the continuation of this fishery into the future. The Hopkins and Curdies are fishing very well for bream and perch. Fish are well spread in the Curdies between the lake and scout camp and you can catch them both out deep using vibes and plastics or on the edges upstream. The Hopkins in the freshwater reaches is going well for early season perch. Tim Vincent has been doing well casting soft plastics into fish sitting out of the main current.

This weekend doesn't look great on the forecast so maybe it's one to stay inside and plan your next trip! Tight lines until next week.