In Depth Fishing Report 30/3

30 Mar 23

The South West has thrown a few curve balls at us this week especially in the swell and wind departments. Some bigger swells has seen it hard for smaller boats to head out on the barrels but this has meant they can sneak up the rivers in search of bream and perch.

Saltwater: As mentioned, the swell has seen many anglers stay put in bed and not risk their boat and their lives for a tuna. You know it’s rough when the cray fisherman are staying tied up to the docks. The barrel fishing has continued to be a brilliant start to the season with numerous fish being caught nearly every day. One alarming aspect of this season is the amount of fish that have been killed between the 60-100kg range. The tuna fishery has just recovered enough to come out of the 'Critically Endangered' classification, however with the amount of fish being taken the stocks will struggle to rebuild. One or two per boat is fine, but stories have been circulating of a boat that landed and kept six, which is just plain selfish and stupid! When this happens, anglers like the boat which had six fish on board will be the first to jump up and down and complain about it being stopped. If you intend on keeping a fish for a feed then you need to properly look after that fish. Tuna Champions have a great website online that will show you exactly how to dispatch the tuna and make sure the meat is the best quality you can get. Bleeding the fish straight away is the very first thing you need to do as this will take the core temperature out of the fish. If you don’t do this then quite simply your fish will taste very ordinary and the flesh will be a dark red colour. The next part is something that the Japanese are very into, which is using a coring tool and a long piece of heavy mono or wire to insert down the spinal cord. What this does is severs the nerves from the spinal chord and relaxes the meat. What you’ll notice doing this is the meat will be a lot more tender and be the highest of quality you can get. The last thing and most important part is icing your catch in a slurry, which will also bring the core temperature down just like bleeding them. A good quality cool bag such as AFN’s range of insulated bags will keep your catch cold for hours. If you do all these steps you’ll have yourself some fantastic eating quality bluefin. Matthew Hunt Fishing Services has again been putting his clients onto some brilliant fishing out off Portland. His clients have enjoyed all the mayhem that goes with targeting huge bluefin including multiple double hook ups and the triumphs of landing your first big fish. Although trolling lures has been the preferred method for years, the live bait craze is certainly beginning to catch up. The theory is quite simple; you pull up to a feeding school of bluefin and you either scoop or catch a live bait with a sabiki rig. You then put a circle hook or a smaller J hook into either the lip or just behind the top fin. Now you must fish it unweighted to look as natural as possible. Place the rod in the holder and begin peeling the line off the reel as the live bait begins to swim down into the bait balls. It’s really important that you don’t wrap the line around your hand while feeding out the bait because when the tuna takes the bait it’s at break neck speed and can rip your hand off or pull you out of the boat. The most important part of this whole technique is the drag setting on your reel when feeding the bait out. What you will need to do is make sure that the reels drag is loose enough to freely pull line out and feed the live bait out but when a tuna takes the bait the reel doesn’t over spool. If you have it too loose then you’ll have a massive birds nest and will lose the fish.


Estuary: The Hopkins River has again produced some cracking fish down the bottom half of the system and there have been none bigger than Jonathan Hogge’s 48cm bruiser he caught at the Ski Club. Johnno puts in a lot of time and it was great to see him land such a big fish for all his efforts. Using a mixture of soft baits and hard baits anglers have been enjoying exactly what the Hopkins River is famous for which is big bream! Live crabs which can be caught by simply flipping large rocks on the waters edge or just above this. If you do flip a rock and there’s nothing underneath then make sure you flip it back over to avoid you or someone else rolling their ankle in the hole, and to protect habitat of other species. The ideal size of crab to use is approximately a 20c piece across the shell and should be used unweighted to allow it to crawl along the bottom. If bait fishing isn’t your style then using soft plastics and shallow running hard bodies along the rock walls and flats will provide plenty of fish too. Mason Hunt has been getting into some great fish recently walking the banks with his trusty Z-Man Slim Swimz in Bloodworm. He scored a quality 40cm bream doing this the other day which also included a few other bream and some perch. These fish are very active at the moment and can react very well to an aggressive retrieve with minimal pauses. Further east the Curdies River has again seen some great perch fishing above the Boggy Creek ramp. Most anglers are targeting them on surface lures in the low light conditions of the evenings and mornings. This is a very exciting way of fishing but can also prove very frustrating at times when the perch just roll on the lure and not eat them.

If the estuary is your place of happiness then you will want to come along to Richardson Marine’s Tackle Shack “Bream Talk Night” with guest speakers and gun bream lure anglers Dan Mackrell and Declan Betts. The night is pencilled in for next Thursday beginning at 6pm for a BBQ and refreshments. The main talk will kick off at 7pm and will have an action packed 1.5 hours of information that each and every attendee will take something out of. There will be loads of giveaways and some red hot specials following the night in the Shack on all things bream fishing. Then if that doesn’t sound like a great way to roll into an extra long weekend, the Warrnambool and District Angling Club will be holding their annual Easter Fishing Classic which this year will include someone taking home a brand new Anglapro boat, Suzuki outboard motor, Easytow trailer and Garmin fish finder all for the entry price of $30. You can enter online via their Facebook page or in person on Good Friday between 10am-12pm. Loads of quality prizes will be on offer across all categories. For more information contact the Facebook page.

This weekend seems to have some light winds on Sunday which should see some more crews head out off Portland and Port Fairy in search of a barrel. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!