In Depth Fishing Report 23/2

23 Feb 23

Saltwater: the mako madness has continued this week with more sharks landed close to shore while fishing for snapper and gummies. James Porter headed out on Tuesday from Port Fairy in search of a gummy or 2. Even before he was anchored he had a mako swimming around his area so he berleyed up and got a bait set. Before he knew it the shark had taken the bait and he had a very tasty feed of fresh mako in the boat. It doesn’t always happen like this but isn’t the first time it’s been done so quickly. James also got his 2 gummies and was back at the ramp before lunch time. The stand out bait recently for all the bottom species has been fresh barracouta caught out there. Over the past couple of weeks they have been giving everyone a hard time chewing rigs off so it’s great to be able to use them for bait when you land one. Being a soft flesh, simply cutting small steaks and placing the hook through once is all you need to do. When using circle hooks it is vital that you have the hook point exposed to allow the hook to easily roll into the jaw and engage properly. Fishing your reels in gear with enough drag that when the fish takes the bait the hook can penetrate but light enough that they can pull drag once hooked up is the way to go with circles. Holding onto your rod and trying to set the hook that way will only leave you frustrated and missing bites so sit back and relax until they bury the rod tip. The tuna offshore are in full flight now with massive schools of fish ranging from 10-20kg being landed quite regularly now after a slow start. The early mornings and late afternoons have been the best times to target them due to their spooky nature. Ray and Brandon Dorman helped Shona Bentley land her first tuna last week out off Portland. Trolling small skirts and divers was the key to their success and a keen eye looking for the subtle changes in water that gave them away. Closer to home and Port Fairy is also alive and well with bluefin with some massive schools making their way in close around the usual haunts such as the water tower, the lighthouse and Julia Percy Island. Beginning your search in 30m of water and working your way out until you find where they are holding. Zerek Speed Donkey’s have again been a great choice of diving hard bodies along with the ever faithful Halco Lazer Pro’s in the King Brown colour. If you’re not after a pelagic or a shark but still want your saltwater fix then try your luck at the King George Whiting which have been prevalent lately both at Warrnambool, Killarney and Port Fairy. Some bigger fish have showed up this week and are taking pippies really well so get your rod and some pippies and hit up the many areas known for big whiting.

Estuaries: the Hopkins has again been the standout estuary in the district for big bream with some more crackers landed by both lure casters and bait anglers. Flynn Collins yet again topped his PB bream with a 41cm bream under the bridge while fishing in Warrnambool and District Angling Clubs “Friday Night Flick” competition last week. Not only was it his biggest ever but it was also the biggest for the competition which earned him some nice pocket money. Using unweighted crabs has been a killer technique for years and at present is the go to again. Lewis Holland and Jess Lane have also been smacking some good bream just from the bank on unweighted crab cast around promising looking structures. Using this technique needs a change of thought for your main line and leader because if you go too light you’ll just get towed home and come up empty handed due to the structure they hold in. I wouldn’t be using any lighter than 6lb fluorocarbon while using crabs and would even just fish a 8-12lb mono main line instead of braid. Sometimes having that bit extra stretch that mono gives you can act like a bungy chord and help you heave them out of the tight, gnarly structure. It seems as though there are fish spread right through the system with fish caught from Tooram Stones all the way down to the mouth of the estuary. It’s finding what the bigger fish are holding on that is the hard thing to figure out. What it sounds like is they are holding on shelly type bottom with sand and then going to rock walls and reefs later in the day. Tom Pemberton has been getting some cracking fish on live yabbies just off the drop offs of these shell filled bottoms. The Glenelg River threw up a curve ball for the Allansford and District Angling Club who held a monthly competition over there on the weekend. There was a very strong current that was flowing out most of the day which was due to upstream environmental flows from Rocklands, but it made for some hard fishing conditions. The boat that tamed the conditions was Isaac Primmer and Sinead Rentsch who landed their best 10 fish for 9.831kg. Isaac scored the heaviest fish with a bream of 1.135kg. Sinead also took out the ladies section with a 1.011kg bream. Jett Fleming continued his solid form with a 1.046kg bream taking out the junior section. Aiden Gordon caught a solid 1.070kg perch that seen him take out the heaviest other prize.

Are you looking for something to do over the Easter long weekend? Well the Warrnambool and District Angling Club are holding their annual Easter Fishing Classic but this year there’s a great prize up for grabs just for entering. Thanks to Richardson Marine the club will be giving away an Anglapro 354 Core, Suzuki 9.9hp 4 stroke outboard, Easytow Trailer and Garmin sounder just for entering. That’s right for only $30 you could be driving away with a new boat package! Fishing boundaries will be from the Fitzroy River in the west to Curdies River in the east and all waterways in between. Target species will be bream, estuary perch, mulloway and trout. Heaviest bream that is caught and released in each section will take out a new rod valued at $450 and the overall biggest bream caught and released will take away a Waeco Fridge Freezer valued at $800. For more information contact the club's Facebook page or keep an eye out for the flyers plastered across the town and surrounding district.

This weekend sees showers and some moderate winds which could make it hard for those wanting to head offshore. The tides are looking really good for a river fish so maybe some will look to stay inland. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.