In Depth Fishing Report 5/1

05 Jan 24

The summer burst of tourists have descended on our beautiful coastline and are taking advantage of some good fishing at present both offshore and in the rivers. Although the weather has hampered most people’s plans of heading out wider, the inshore fishing has certainly made up for it. 


Saltwater: Although the weather and ocean has made it super hard to get out wider, the inshore fishing has certainly been worthwhile recently. The kingfish at Portland have been great especially around Town Reef under the lighthouse. Being so close to the harbour it makes for a perfect spot to quickly duck outside for a look and if it chops up you are quickly back into safety inside the harbour. Don’t discount the harbour itself for kings as it provides plenty of structure for both the bait fish and the predators too. Something you don’t see too often is school tuna inside the harbour itself. One of the ships filmed a school of tuna circling around inside the Port without a worry in the world. Imagine hooking into one of those while chasing some snapper or whiting! When conditions have allowed there has been some solid school tuna caught in the bay on both surface stickbaits and trolled lures. Often seen between 5 and 20kg these smaller size tuna definitely put up a quality fight when you downsize your tackle. Gone are the days where we see boats going out to the shelf after tuna with overheads with broomsticks on them; anglers have figured out what you can do with standard spin gear. A basic snapper or gummy rod, either a small overhead or 6000-8000 spin reel spooled with 30-50lb braid will be perfect for these speedsters. Closer to home there has been some solid King George Whiting in the bay at Warrnambool along with heaps of pinkies. Squid have also been keeping anglers busy when they have been fishing off the back side of the wall over the reefs. Using either a baited jig or a artificial squid jig is the go to for these tasty cephalopods that also make dynamite bait. Using a longer than average rod will allow not only a better cast but will also help when lifting the squid or your jig back in without getting it caught on the rocks below. 

Estuaries: The Hopkins River is open after being shut for a couple of weeks and was opened illegally on Tuesday night. Opening a system like this carries hefty fines and can result in jail time if prosecuted. Opening the river prematurely can result in big fish kills that could see the great work done by the Glenelg Hopkins CMA all be done for nothing. Our local rivers naturally open and close, and can be artificially opened by the authorities with strict water quality targets to be met; something amateur river mouth openers don’t understand. In saying that though, the system has fished very well the past week after a slower than average start to summer. Corey fished Thursday night with good mate Michael Hunt and they landed in excess of 40 fish in a quick couple of hour session that included bream and perch to 40cm. Using a range of plastics like the Z-Man Slim Swimz and Gulp Crabbys cast to the drop offs the fish had no trouble smacking them before they hit the bottom. Just before dark they turned their attention to the surface after watching some fish rolling on the surface in the super shallow water. Mick’s first cast with a OSP Bent Minnow came up tight to a small bream. From there on it was a hit a cast for about 45 minutes before the darkness hit and they couldn’t see the lure anymore. It’s great to see the river so healthy and firing after a long and hard slog over winter this year. It should only get better as the fish become more active once the weather stabilises a bit more. Adam Linke also got stuck into some great fishing on Thursday on Daiwa Double Clutches cast around the shallow rock walls. He landed bream to 35cm and getting roasted by a few bigger models in the process too. This time of year is usually known for a great time to get a high number of bream rather than the quality of fish but the variety of fish on offer at the moment has been great! There are lots of mid size perch on offer too around the Deakin area which have been getting caught on soft plastics on the edges. The Glenelg River has again been quiet on the mulloway scene as reported by Dudley Wright who recently spent 25 hours on the water for one run. There had been the odd good fish caught but nothing like we usually see this time of year when there are heaps of fish stacked up around the Princess Margaret Rose Caves area. The bulk amount of fish just don’t seem to be in the system this year, or the past couple of years for that matter. Possibly the big floods that the Murray River had could be the main contributor to this slow patch. 


Freshwater: The two lakes at Camperdown in Lake Bullen Merri and Purrumbete have been fishing very well for trout and salmon. One surprise capture was that of an Australian Bass in Bullen Merri which was caught by Port Adelaide superstar Zak Butters which was an absolute fish of a lifetime out of there. Not a regularly caught fish they are certainly a prized catch at any size when you get one let alone a fish of this calibre. Ken Carman from Victorian Inland Charters has been getting some cracking salmon and trout for his clients. Ken’s customers scored some exceptional brown trout and chinook salmon on a range of cast soft plastics and trolled lures. The best fish which came on the first charter of 2024 was a ripping 68cm and 3.2kg brown caught out of Purrumbete. Along with the great trout fishing the resident redfin have been keeping anglers bellies full. These fish are very tasty for a freshwater fish and are often quite easy to catch especially in places like Purrumbete and Lake Elingamite over near Cobden. Both these lakes are chockers with reddies and some big ones at that too! 


With some warm weather on the way, let’s hope the sea calms down and we can all get out a bit wider to have a look at what might be on offer. If you catch a fish worth sharing remember to send it through via our social media or via email and we will be happy to put it on here. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!