In Depth Fishing Report 5/5

05 May 23

What a wild and woolly week it’s turned out to be! Over the last few days, fishing is off the cards for most except for the keenest of anglers. You’ll often find that extremely rough conditions can really fire the fish up; particularly for bream and mulloway near river mouths, big crater lake trout right on the edges and snapper on the coastal breakwalls and piers. The conditions might be uncomfortable for us anglers, but the extra current and wave action generated by the weather really stirs the fish up and presses the ‘reset’ button on the waterways. Let’s take a look at what’s been happening in the local fishing scene this week.


Offshore, reports are still coming in of tuna when conditions allow. Barrels continue to fish well of Port Macdonnell. Crews have been landing fish to over 150kg as seen by last week’s 152kg tuna by Clinton Sicely. Trolling skirts (Jaks and Bonze range) as well as the Nomad DTX 200s is still getting fish aboard. A number of other jumbo tuna have been caught including a 145kg for James Papas and a 130kg for Xav Ellul. There’s also lots of school tuna spread out from all the ports, which are taking both barrel lures and smaller, more typical sized lures. A Jaks barrel bullet is a good pick at the moment as you’ll be in with a chance for a fish of any size. Matthew Hunt Fishing Charters got the catch of the week though with a mahi mahi off Portland, taken trolling a skirt. These colourful fish do come down annually with patches of warm water currents, although we’ve seen very few over the last couple of years. A flash of yellow and green below the boat is something every offshore angler down here would love to see! Even though most tuna anglers locally only expect to see a tuna come up, there is several other species which could grab your lure at any time, especially out wide; albacore, butterfly mackerel, dolphinfish, striped tuna and threshers. Shark fishing has also remained consistent but again the weather has put a stop to most plans.


In the estuaries good fishing has been had over west in the Glenelg at Nelson. If you’re planning your first trip across, there’s a few ways the mulloway can be caught. Casting lures is how most mulloway are incidentally caught, by anglers fishing the edges for bream and perch. While most are caught on soft plastics, vibes or deeper hardbodies (eg Double Clutch), they’ve been caught on bent minnows off the top plenty of times in summer. Trolling large deep running hardbodies around the 2-4m diving depth is a popular method. Daiwa Double Clutch, Samaki Redic, gold bombers and Rapala X Rap are all good choices. A few years ago there was a craze for the Daiwa Duckfin swimbaits with many good fish caught on them daily; so if you’ve got some of those be sure to send them out. Pick a good drop off in a fishy section of the river, and send your lures out at varying distances from the boat. Adding a soft plastic or live mullet to the trolling spread never hurts too. Finally, the most popular method; static bait fishing. Many anglers anchor on the bank and spend the night bait fishing with pilchards, squid, spew-worms or mullet in a berley trail. Use the daytime hours to find some fish using your sounder, and then camp the night aboard the boat with your baits out. Some really nice sized fish get caught this time of year despite the cold. Also, be sure to check for a tag in any fish you catch. Any tagged fish should be reported to the relevant authority and released if possible, to continue contributing information towards our growing knowledge of these cryptic fish.


Trout fishing has been fantastic right across the south west this week. All the usual spots have been producing plenty of fish. Lake Bullen Merri has been a real hot spot with some big chinook salmon caught by anglers including Jess Lane and Ash Rawlings. Both land based and boat fishing have been producing fish so as long as you’ve got a well presented lure in the water, you’re in with a shot! Keep an eye out for fish chasing bait on the surface, or fish the wind swept banks in the rough water. 7-9cm hardbodied minnows, soft plastics in the 3” sizes or bent minnows are all worth a go. Also try trolling silver/white Tassie Devils and bait fishing with pilchard cubes. The Merri here in Warrnambool has seen the browns fired up. Colby Lesko had a great session with his brother landing 7 between them, Tim Vincent and Darcy Cutter have been getting plenty trolling in kayaks and Lewie Holland scored a ripper fish landbased. Shannon O’Brien found some bream in the Merri casting the edges near the boat ramp. It’s another great mixed species fishery; one cast could produce a bream, the next a trout, the next a redfin and the next an EP!


We won’t see too many anglers heading out this week but if you don a good jacket and brave the rain, you’ll be met with good fishing!