In Depth Fishing Report 21/9

21 Sep 23

The variety of captures over the past week has again shown how lucky we are in the South West. When the seas were rough, the quality of fishing in our rivers and lakes certainly has made up for that.

Offshore: the hunt for the gummy school sharks is well and truly alive for the offshore brigade. These tasty critters offer plenty of fun and sometimes many frustrating trips. As mentioned in previous articles the school sharks have a ripper set of teeth on them and this can cause chaos on your tackle box.  Try using a wire bite trace to prevent this. Baits such as salmon, trevally, and wrasse are the best picks, or you can also use squid for something tougher. Add some berley and you’ll be in with a good shot. Barrel reports have slowed down this week but a couple of fish have still been caught. School tuna are turning up in good numbers just off Port Fairy and Portland; this weekend should see lots of anglers giving them a crack. Trolling Laser Pros, Speed Donkeys and small Pakula or Black Magic skirts will be the go for smaller fish but take a 15/24kg outfit in case the barrels show up.

Estuaries: The Hopkins River was alive with activity over the weekend playing host to round 3 of the Vic Bream Classics. 41 teams battled it out to see who would be able to tame the Hopkins bream in what would be a very tough bite. With loads of fish schooled in the 2-3m of water the general consensus after Fridays pre-fish was that it was going to be very tough. Lots of time was spent by teams sitting on top of these schools in the hope that they would finally turn on but it didn’t turn out that way. Day one saw team Samurai Rods take an early lead with a great bag of 4.38kg and a lead of 400g. Sitting in second position was team Lowrance Millerods with 5 bream weighing 3.98kg. Fishing the exact same patch of water up at Tooram Stones which is the upstream limit, these two teams held their positions and put together a couple of solid bags. Local guns Lewis Holland and Jessica Lane from JL Angling were sitting in 3rd over night with 5 bream weighing in at 3.34kg. Day two came around and the teams were greeted with higher water levels than day 1 with about 2ft more water in the river. For the two lead teams who had been fishing flowing water the previous day the area had changed completely and they were left scrounging around for new areas. The call was made for both of them to move and try find more areas to fish due to the lack of flow coming off the stones. After spending a couple of hours for not much at all Paul and Alex from team Lowrance Millerods pushed back the system hoping that the water had dropped enough to make the water flow. To their surprise it had and the boys were able to begin going to work putting a bag together. At the end of the day they had put together a nice bag of 5 bream that weighed in at 3.74kg. This was enough to win the event by a mere 100g over team Samurai Rods who weighed a 5 bream bag for 3.24kg. Rounding out the top 3 was team’s Stuart Carruthers and Shane Handley who’s bag went 6.34kg for their 10. Corey fished with Alex Craig and after a slow day 1, Alex clawed them back into 5th position with the biggest bag of day 2- 4.06kg for a bag of 5. This was enough to take out the Graeme Taylor memorial trophy for the biggest day two bag. Named in honour of Graeme who was a pioneer of lure fishing in the South West and an all-round nice guy who always helped others when in need and had a habit of coming home with a wet sail on the final day. The Curdies River is also fishing well for both bream and perch in the lower sections of the river between Boggy Creek and the lake. Soft plastics and small blades slowly hopped off the edge through the schools have been accounting for a lot of fish. Dean Cummings and his family came into the shop in search of a quick getaway after fishing the comp on the weekend. Armed with some new soft plastics they hit the Curdies where over 2 sessions they caught 10 perch to 36cm and some solid bream also to 36cm.

Freshwater: Trout are still biting well in the freshwater. Interestingly the Vic Bream competition saw a number of brown trout taken in the estuary, which will have found a new home after last year’s floods. Luke Smith was one of those lucky (or unlucky in a bream comp!) anglers who picked up a nice one on a Z-Man Slim Swimz while fishing with his mum. Tim Vincent got onto a few trolling hardbodies in the Merri River, which is steadily clearing up and will be back to normal soon after the winter flows. When the water clears, it’s time to downsize both your lures and leaders, and take a little more caution whilst walking to avoid being spotted by the trout. They’re very well tuned to their surroundings and will see you a long time before you see them! Skeeta Andrews has also been having success in the Mount Emu Creek. Will Tippet also got some fish to 55cm from the same creek, which is best fished early season. This creek has also had a few carp caught recently. Lake Bullen Merri has also fired up this week, with Pete from Richardson Marine finding some cracking tigers just under 60cm on fly and a number of anglers finding some big chinooks both landbased and from boats, on pilchards.