In Depth Fishing Report 23/2

23 Feb 24

The weekends conditions were kind enough for some crews to head out and land some epic fish which were taken in both the salt water and freshwater scenes.

Saltwater: The Warrnambool Offshore and Light Game Fishing Club held a kingfish and game shark competition last weekend. Although the kingfish were very quiet the mako shark captures certainly made up for that. Over the weekend there were 15 game sharks caught with 7 makos and 4 blues being caught, with some tagged and the released for future research. The club has taken a very big step in being at the forefront of sustainable fishing and research with the tagging program. Their members have tagged and released everything from tuna, kingfish and game sharks where the data is used to record the growth rate of each species between recaptures, travel patterns and numerous other snippets of data to give the scientists and fisheries managers a better understanding of each species. Heaviest mako shark for the weekend went to Amanda Pirotta who scored her very first mako shark weighing 84.2kg which was on her wedding anniversary. Her husband Phil also landed a great shark on 15kg tackle that weighed 51.4kg which is a great effort on such light line. Jacob Taylor landed a 72.4kg mako on 37kg line class and Brian Nolan also scored a solid 64kg mako on 24kg line class. Outside of the competition newcomer Kerry Griffen was absolutely stoked with her very first mako which was taken on the bottom while fishing for snapper or a gummy. You know there’s lots of them around when they start eating baits on the bottom. The fishing in closer has been great for whiting, pinkies and the odd tuna. Last week the tuna were in as close as 11m of water off Warrnambool so nearly anyone with a boat can target them on the right day and conditions. Either trolling the usual suspects (Black Magic Jetsetter and Pakula Micro Uzi, Halco Laser Pro) around the bird activity or casting stick baits into the middle of the schools will be your two best options for these speedsters. Just remember if you’re casting lures into the school then you can’t just fly up to the school and start casting as this will most likely result in you putting the fish down and never to be seen again. Slowly motor up from the fish and then kill the engine and cast long into them with minimal noise and that should help you get connected to one. With the whiting there have been some good captures around Killarney, the Warrnambool Breakwater and in the bay at Port Fairy. Pippies have been in high demand this week with some anglers buying up 20kg bags at a time to make sure they have them for when they can go. The guys that have been getting the better ones have been working for them by either making lots of spot changes in the boat or by walking a long distance from anyone else nearby. The easy option is always straight out in front from where you pulled up in the car or the closest spot but that has probably already been fished a couple times that day so re-thinking where to fish from will allow you to find new ground and a better chance of getting a good feed of tasty whiting. Adam and Colin Dobson took out good mate Chuck off Warrnambool with the boys landing some nice gummy shark, snapper and some gurnard. The boys were pumped with a couple of gurnard which are their favourite fish of all; not! 

Estuaries: The Hopkins River is alive and well at the moment with a lot of smaller bream making their presence felt which in turn has made most of us frustrated by how aggressive they have been both on lures and baits. The better fish have been coming on crabs and the now super popular mussel lures which have taken the bream world by storm. Who would’ve thought that a lure with hardly any action made to look like a falling shell would take off this much! Callum Dowell from Outback Breamer Baits and a few other companies have developed a few different shapes and sizes to target bream and other mussel crunching fish. The key to these lures is you must fish them slowly to have the best chance of landing something on them. You’ll never see a mussel or shell swimming nicely mid water so you have to think that way when working the lures along the bottom. If you’re fishing them alone a jetty or bridge pylon you will notice that most of the bites come on the drop of the lure especially when you allow the lure to fall on a slack line situation. We have just introduced a custom made brown colour to help match the river shell that we find in the Hopkins which is a favourite for the big bream that this system is known for. From early signs these lures have been a great addition to any bream anglers tackle box. A welcome sight has been the amount of big perch sitting around the bridge which have been caught by anglers fishing unweighted crabs on the bottom. Some of these fish have been over 50cm and have been giving a real account of themselves too. Adam Fraser got the surprise of his life on Saturday evening when he landed a kilogram perch from under there during the Warrnambool and District Angling Clubs twilight comp held on Saturday. 33 entrants tried their luck at either bream or perch and the bream played hard to get. As I mentioned, there is a lot of smaller fish around which always makes it hard to get the attention of the better ones once the “rat pack” move in. Live crab usually sorts the little ones out especially when they are the size of a twenty cent piece across the shell. They will still pick and pull the legs off but will struggle to eat the shell. The Curdies River is fishing well up higher from the Boggy boat ramp according to Pure Fishing rep Michael Moore. He and his mates have been using the Berkley Twitch up close to the heavy structure as well as the Berkley Protech Bender on the surface just before dark. Rigging up with heavier leaders is needed if you want to extract the bigger ones due to the heaviness of structure they live in. A stiffer 2-4 or in some instances a 3-6kg rod is required when the real big ones are on the chew close to the snags.


Sunday is looking like the pick of the days over the weekend so hopefully you all the a chance to get out and hit up some good fishing. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!