In Depth Fishing Report 27/10

27 Oct 23

With there being minimal reports this week thanks to strong winds and big seas, I thought I’d try and give you an insight on what our local estuaries will fish like over the warmer months. But before we do that we do have some reports from last weekend so let’s dive in.

Estuaries: The Warrnambool and District Angling Club held a competition in the Curdies River on Saturday in less than ideal conditions. Winds gusting to 50km/h greeted anglers in the mid-morning which made fishing tough for most. A couple of boats that did quite well were Shane Murph and Greame Whittaker and Lewis Holland and Jessica Lane. All these anglers weighed in over 3kg for their 5 which included some super fat fish that are so full of spawn that they are almost round. Jess scored the biggest fish of the day with a 933g bream taken down at Peterborough on the edge of the channel. Shane scored a 3.638kg bag for his 5 to take out the biggest bag of the day. In the junior section Ellah Hilliam caught the heaviest bream that went 788g. Michael Hunt landed a 3kg plus bag too using Hurricane Twitch 50 in the shallow just inside the lake entrance. These lures allow for long casts and the ability to crawl them over the weed patches without getting caught up on it. To work these lures effectively you simply do what the name suggests, twitch them and pause. The fish will come flying up and crunch the lure if they are in the mood to eat them like they were on Saturday. There are some nice perch being caught down the bottom section of the river from Dance’s Quarry to the lake entrance. To have a crack at these fish properly you need to be there on daybreak and fish with minnow style lures like the Daiwa Double Clutch range. These lures can be either cast and retrieved or slowly trolled along the edge of the banks.   

Saltwater: As I spoke about the wind and sea conditions have put a stop to offshore fishing but there was one keen angler who took advantage of the only weather window this week to try get a feed. Peter Goode landed his bag of snapper and a solid gummy shark in quick succession fishing off Warrnambool on Monday. Lately it’s all about being prepared for these small breaks in the weather and being able to just go. Planning trips has become near impossible due to the weather changing so rapidly, but we should be on the tail end of all that hopefully. Some decent squid have been landed at both the breakwater and Killarney lately by those fishing both out of boats and land based. These tasty weird looking critters come in this time of year to spawn and then die after that. Squid only live for a year so don’t feel bad when you get onto a patch of them and you want to keep your bag of 10. There are two main techniques to target squid and one is casting and retrieving a squid jig in similar ways to a soft plastic. Hopping the jig off the bottom and allowing it to slowly sink back to the bottom is something that squid find hard to resist. If you don’t like the sound of that and want to try something a bit less demanding, then a simple barbed squid jag with a silver whiting or pilchard on it under a float will be a great option for you. You just have to remember either way that a light drag is a must to avoid the tentacles being ripped off during the fight. Along with the squid the whiting have picked back up again with some nice fish being caught again by land based and boat anglers. This time of year usually sees less numbers but the quality picks up. Using baits such as pippies or freshly caught squid strips is your best way to target them. One thing to remember is whiting love tide flow and will often bite best at the top or the bottom of the tide when it’s running most.

With summer just around the corner and our estuaries about to become hot spots for tourists and locals alike I thought I would give you a quick rundown of where to find a fish. The Hopkins River comes alive in the warmer months especially on the rock walls and shallow reefs. This is due to the bream eating hard baits such as river shells and crabs off the rocks. Typically these fish can be seen rolling on the banks and flashing while they turn their body side on to try get into all the crevices. Live crabs, Cranka crabs and the Muss lure is the best bet for targeting the bigger fish this time of year. When using live crab you should always start unweighted to allow the fish to pick the bait up without any foreign weight like a sinker. If conditions don’t allow that, then a very small ball sinker is all you’ll need. Just like the Hopkins River, the Glenelg River is also similar fishing with bream loaded on the walls typically in the lower sections of the river. Estuary Perch will begin to move upstream around Sapling Creek and further which can take some time to track them down. Surface fishing is well and truly the most exciting way to target them on lures and there aren’t many more effective than an OSP Bent Minnow slowly twitched next to a log or over hanging structure. The Curdies River is very similar during summer and will usually see most fish especially perch caught on surface anywhere between the lake and as far as you can go in a boat. Stealth is the biggest thing as you’re usually targeting them when the wind is backed right off so sneaking through with your electric trolling motor or your main engine just in gear will give you lots more bites. The other exciting addition for our estuaries over the warmer months is the return of mulloway up and down our coast. These big and very smart fish have brought some grown men to tears trying to land their first one. I know some anglers that have fished their whole life without landing one so when you get one it’s an absolute buzz. They fight super hard with their long runs, insane head shakes and their never say die attitude which is what keeps me coming back to them. Live mullet, clickers and spew worms are just some of the favourite baits that we run for them. At times a simple half pilchard or a squid strip is all they want to eat so being prepared with a range of choices will hold you in good stead. My ideal set up is a 7-9ft fibreglass rod in the 4-10kg range with a bait runner style reel spooled up with 8kg Platypus Lo-Stretch mono. What this does is allows the mulloway to take the bait with no resistance of a drag and when the fish has taken the bait properly you just simply wind the handle and strike. My hook of choice is the Black Magic C-Point in a 5/0 and I only run one on each rod. These are super sharp and are fairly strong too which you need at times when they get a hard mouth. The mono main line acts as a shock absorber when the mulloway shake their heads. I have found that if you have too stiff of a rod or braided main line then it can rip the hook clean out of the fishes mouth. Leave the rod in the rod holder too and wait for the fish to take the bait. Some of my past captures the fish have come back 7 or 8 times before committing to actually take the bait. So stay calm and relax until all hell breaks loose when you finally hook one.

With this weekend looking like another tough one to get out amongst the offshore fishing it may be another week of tackle prep for when it clears up. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.