In Depth Fishing Report 27/1

27 Jan 23

Another great week of fishing here in the southwest!

Saltwater: tuna and kings have again been smashed from pillar to post by the offshore brigade. Portland has been very busy due to the close proximity of these fish but also the quality of fish has been outstanding. Tuna averaging 10-15kg have been readily caught by anglers casting stickbaits and trolling small skirts around the ship anchorage in the middle of the bay. Although these fish continue to be quite spooky there have been schools of fish that will climb all over your lures. Dropping your leader sizes down to 40-60lb should improve your strike rate but it’s just fighting the fish you need to worry about. Typically these fish will squeal off and follow the rest of the fish in the school which can prove an issue when using lighter leaders. Tuna have relatively sharp pec fins and tail flouts which can cut through even the heavy leaders but if you aren’t hooking up then there’s no point worrying about it so you have to make a choice. Skirts like the Black Magic Jetsetters and Pakula Micro Uzis have again been very popular and have certainly taken some quality fish. There has been a fair few kingfish in the same area mixed in with the tuna which have proved a welcome surprise. Closer to shore there has seen some nice salmon at the cork screw just outside the harbour as well as along Nunn’s beach. Although these fish aren’t the most sort after table fish they definitely make up for it in the fighting department and can bring a smile to any anglers face. Light gear is definitely worth a try, as they won’t be a fish that will bust you off on the bottom but will certainly run a long way. Fishing small metals, white soft plastics or a shallow running hard body is all you really need. Port Fairy and Warrnambool has seen some great fishing recently offshore with a few nice Makos caught. Matty Morrison landed his first Mako which weighed in at 53.8kg while off Warrnambool with Jacob Taylor. Some beautiful eating fish there for sure which will be shared between their families. On the bottom there has been some great gummies and pinky snapper kicking about. Adam Linke has made the most of his holidays with a nice gummy shark caught off Portland with his Dad Harry. Rhys and his dad Mark are down on holidays and thought they would try their luck at cray fishing with drop nets. With the expert guidance of a seasoned guru young Rhys scored his first two crays off Killarney. I’d dare say the obsession is about to start after that session.

Estuaries: the Hopkins played host to Warrnambool and District Angling Club's monthly competition on Saturday afternoon. 31 entrants battled the wind and fussy fish. Lewis Holland found a good patch of bream with his best 5 weighing in at 4.522kg which won the heaviest bag in the open section. Adam Fraser landed a great bream that weighed 1.295kg and measured 44cm. Adams partner Kylie Rowe caught the heaviest fish for a lady which was a solid bream that weighed 835g. The juniors was a hotly contested one with 5 kids battling it out and it was Mason Hunt who took it out with a bream that weighed 734g. Most fish were caught down the bottom section of the river on a mixture of live crabs and Cranka Crabs cast around the appropriate structure. Nelson has continued to fish extremely well for those heading over for a break from the “norm”. Like the Hopkins, live and artificial crabs have been the go to with a lot of fish caught between Dry Creek and Taylor’s Straight. Some anglers have been forced to up their tackle due to losing too many bigger fish on the sharp edges. When using any type of crab whether it be live or an artificial, your casts need to be on the button. Having it land 2 meters off the structure will most likely not be enough so lots of practice and the willingness to potentially lose a few in the process is needed if you want to up your catch rate. Using live crab is definitely a brilliant way of fishing on the Glenelg but there’s a few small things that will great increase your catch rate. One of these is just the size of crab that you’re using which can definitely make a massive difference to how many you catch in a single session. Typically anglers when they first start out they think that the smaller crabs are better but in fact the crabs which are a size of a 20c piece across the shell are a perfect size. Any smaller than this and you’ll find you will catch a lot more smaller fish and will begin to lose lots of hooks due to these fish swallowing the bait whole. Using a #1 or 1/0 Octopus Hook allows you to strike on each fish but still will get a good hook set while pinning most fish in the corner of the jaw. It’s a fine line between when to strike on a fish and when not to, because if you strike too late the fish will be up and gone around a rock and you’ll be cut off. Striking too early will just rip the crab out of their mouth so what you’ll need to do is have a heavier drag set and keep your rod in arms reach. Try fishing with a metre or so of slack line, and watch for the line to tighten indicating a bite. When the line straightens you strike and most of the time you’ll be hooked up, but you just need to remember not to give the fish their head. All this means is if you have the fish coming out you just keep it coming. As soon as you stop you can bet your bottom dollar the fish will have you destroyed in the rocks.

Freshwater: Lake Bullen Merri has been fishing well again for Rainbow Trout, Chinook Salmon and Tiger Trout. Greame Whittaker landed a quality salmon over 3.5kg on a pilchard cube last week. This technique is deadly when the fish are schooling and can turn into a very productive day in no time. The Blue Green algae has come back so caution should be taken when considering if you should or shouldn’t eat these fish. Many anglers have been eating fish from the lake although the water quality is really quite poor so it's a choice up to the angler. Lake Purrumbete has seen some massive catches of redfin this past week and some nice sized fish also landed. Using live minnows and soft plastics have been the standout techniques along with scrub worms on a paternoster rig just above the weeds. Cricket scores of “reddies” have been caught by a few anglers. There has also been some very big trout lost by some seasoned anglers who have caught their fair share of big fish with one thought to be a true monster. Closer to home and there has been some worrying sightings of carp both in the Hopkins River and Emu Creek in these past couple of weeks. Although something not new to the systems it’s the sheer number of how many that are being seen and the area between them that’s worrying. They are a great fighting fish but these introduced pests absolutely destroy systems in a very short amount of time. Being a bottom feeder they will take over the system and dirty it up by burrowing down looking for food. Hopefully the authorities can put some plans in place to stop them from spreading any further or even better eradicate them completely.

This weekend looks to be a half decent one with a hot day on Saturday which will get the kingfish even more fired up so hopefully we see more great reports. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!