In Depth Fishing Report 22/12

22 Dec 22

Well just like that it’s Christmas and our attention turns to how many days we can spend fishing until the majority go back to work. Lucky for everyone, the weather is on the improve and we are coming into the best time of year.

Saltwater: the first locally caught tuna was landed earlier this week at Portland which excited many. Although none have been spotted so far at the time of writing this around Warrnambool, I’m sure they will only be a matter of time until they come back. Julia Reef (just East of Portland) was where the first fish reportedly came from. There has been multiple other sightings but as usual, the early season fish can be notoriously tricky. Using light leaders and small lures that imitate white bait and small pilchards will be a great starting point. Trolling lures can be a very productive way of covering ground and stumbling across a school of feeding fish. We have finally been able to get hold of some Pakula Micro Uzis in the 'White Crystal Flash' colour which for years has been a go to tuna catcher. Resembling a white bait on the surface, or just under, they sure do get the attention of the tuna. Kingfish are also beginning to turn up in numbers which has been a welcome sign for those that target them. Whether you prefer to target them on lures or bait, there’s certainly something for everyone. The Island is the area to hit if you want to troll live baits, and can often produce better quality fish but landing them amongst the many reefs and pinnacles is a challenge. North Shore is certainly a hotspot due to its easy access for all boats and the close proximity to land. Along with kings, the snapper and whiting fishing this time of year can be exceptional. If chasing kingfish locally, try a surface stickbait which will allow you to cast to the many shallow reefs where the kings sit during the day and sun themselves. The Rapala Flash X Skitter is sure to be a brilliant lure for these hard fighting fish with its long sweeping action that looks like a fleeing garfish on the surface. Crayfish have been very popular this past week in the lead up for a Christmas seafood feast. Some big fish have been caught both in nets and by those diving underneath the surface. Joey Bourke got a nice 2.9kg bull cray earlier in the week while diving down the coast. Swells look to be remaining low up until Monday morning so there’s plenty of time to get the nets out or hop in the water too. 

Estuaries: the Glenelg River has seen plenty of anglers heading over in search of large mulloway, after a 22kg fish was caught recently. This particularly large mulloway took a live mullet. Michael Hunt and Buck Saunders fished the lower section and mentioned the amount of fish on the sounder was incredible! Mick said that when they turn on it will be phenomenal. The boys never caught any big Mulloway but had a great session on estuary perch and bream down the bottom on a range of soft plastics and vibes. When these fish school up like they are now it can be seriously cricket scores in captures. With the holiday makers coming to town I would expect it to quieten down considerably and these fish to move back up stream in search of quieter water. The Hopkins is still super low and presents some major dangers, especially after the recent flooding has taken the majority of buoys from their place on the river. With the holidays here and with little markers to show reefs and danger spots, I’m sure there will be some carnage during this time. If you’re unsure about what you’re fishing then come in store and we will be able to let you know what is there to be careful of. Some big bream have been caught by locals such as Max Kandage who scored a new PB Bream of 42cm on a home made fly. Shallow water has been the go to fish which usually means these fish are up on the edges feeding hard in the mud and sand. When they are up here feeding you can bet your bottom dollar that the bites are going to be aggressive. Lots of small perch are being caught and the odd mulloway has been hooked mixed in with these perch. 

Freshwater: Both Lake Purrumbete and Lake Bullen Merri have absolutely turned it on over the past couple weeks. Scott Gray ventured over in search of a few trout and salmon and wasn’t disappointed landing some solid tiger trout and some chinook salmon on the fly. Tim Vincent caught a thumping 7lb tiger trout on a bent minnow from the surface in Bullen Merri, which would’ve been unreal to witness. Warwick Hamer landed a 4.3kg Chinook Salmon out of Lake Purrumbete while trolling a lure deep in the schools. This 9.5lb fish put up a brilliant fight according to Warwick. Bullen Merri is particularly special in that you don't necessarily need a boat to land a solid fish. The recently upgraded boat ramp has been holding incredible shoals of galaxies and gudgeon minnows, and therefore attracting the trout. Fish to 8lb have been landed by simply fishing off the boat ramp! The Merri River is fishing well and looks really good for a shot at a river trout. The run has slowed to normal, and the clarity is slowly coming back so things should be ready to go. With the warmer weather we may even see some of the Merri's famous redfin.

This weekend looks great for those game enough to try get out this close to Christmas and the following week looks good too. I hope everyone has a great Christmas and stays safe. Tight lines and best of luck!