In Depth Fishing Report 8/3

08 Mar 24

This week's fishing has seen some solid captures without setting the world on fire. Offshore opportunities have been few and far between so the estuaries and lakes have been hit hard by keen anglers.

Estuaries: the Glenelg River has fired up for the bream up river. Plenty of solid bream upstream of Pritchards have been caught by both bait and lure anglers. One standout fish was landed by Wendy Linke who caught a great 42cm bream on a Z-Man Slim Swimz in Bloodworm colour. Bloodworm is a standout bream colour anywhere, and the Glenelg is no exception. From the top of the system all the way down the mouth the bloodworm is a must have in your arsenal. What is it that makes this colour so irresistible to bream and perch? Does it represent some of the bait in the system or is it the blue and red flecks in the plastic that just get the fishes attention? There’s a few mulloway down the bottom but finding quality fish is the issue with a lot of them undersized but if you’ve never caught one before they’re still fun. Using soft baits such as cut mullet, squid and pilchards are a great option if live mullet aren’t around to get. Using a simple running sinker rig is definitely a preferred choice and is very easy to rig. When I’m fishing for them I like to run a ball sinker anywhere between a size 1 and 3. The tidal flow, depth and wind will determine what size sinker you should go for. The beauty about a running sinker rig is that these very spooky fish don’t feel the weight when they take the bait especially when using bait runner style reels. After the sinker I use either a sinker stop or a small swivel to allow you to change the distance between the sinker and the hook. Sometimes it’s better to have a longer leader so the fish doesn’t see it. Then comes the most important piece of the puzzle and that’s the type of hook; the choice of most anglers is octopus style hooks such as the Black Magic C-Point and Gamakatsu Octopus in either a 4/0 or 5/0. Not only are these hooks razor sharp but they allow you to strike on a fish. I really don’t like circle hooks for them as they can spit the bait out quicker than any of us can try set the hook and because circle hooks use a steady pressure to set the hook without a solid strike, it just doesn't always work with mulloway.  The Hopkins River is alive with fish especially down the bottom end of the river. Whilst water testing a new boat with Garmin Livescope on board I was shocked at the amount of big fish and bait cruising around near the bridge. Big schools of mullet were mixed in with some bigger fish that I suspect were bream. Whether they want to eat is another story but just knowing the amount of fish in that area they would have to eat at some stage. The few reports that we have been getting have been that there are lots of smaller fish around in the 30-34cm mark but there has been a few bigger models over 40cm poking their heads up at times. The Curdies River is still producing some solid perch both on topwater and subsurface offerings. There has been some ultimate bust offs lately which indicates to me that there are more big fish showing up there than we think. Anglers using 12lb leader have still been taught a lesson by these big bucket mouths making their way back into the heavy structure. Unfortunately sometimes these big fish are just too good for you and you just need to laugh about it. There is a fair amount of blue green algae beginning to appear in the lower lake near Peterborough again so anglers and the authorities will need to keep a close eye on things to ensure we don't suffer another big fish kill.

Offshore: there have been some great numbers of gummy sharks recently off both Warrnambool and Port Fairy. These super tasty sharks have been caught by most anglers targeting them on the usual baits. These include salmon fillets, wrasse fillets, tuna slabs, squid and pilchards. Berley is a massive thing when it comes to gummy fishing and one way you can improve your catch rate is putting your berley off the front of the boat rather than having it out the back. What this will do is mean that your berley is inline with your baits and not drifting away from them. Many of the best gummy anglers won’t fish for them without berley. The other thing is don’t give up on a spot too quickly if you are berleying as it might be the last berley log that makes the difference between a memorable session and leaving too early for it to work. Sure you will get snapper, nannygai, wrasse and other pesky fish come straight around berley but the shark might be hanging back a bit more waiting. Max Kandage from the Tackle Shack headed out with Brett Gatt to the shelf during the week where Max jigged up some bottom species before his arms got too sore, and the boys also landed a nice mako. Kraken Fishing Charters also landed a couple of nice makos off Portland recently; the makos have certainly been hot for the last month. Salty Dog Charters out of Port Fairy got onto some nice gummies and school tuna during the week. Whilst all the school tuna around Warrnambool have moved off, there's still some around Port Fairy and Portland and they'll be back soon.

Freshwater: whilst early autumn is generally not the most popular time for freshwater fishing in the south-west, this week has seen some nice fish landed for those dodging snakes and fishing low water levels. Nathan Bramwell got onto the Merri and landed himself a nice solid brown trout on a Stumpjumper whilst targeting redfin. Many anglers seem to think trout disappear for the summer months but they are present year-round, although can be a little more cagey in summer with warmer water. The estuary perch and bream have been going well in the Hopkins freshwater reaches; Tim Vincent found a few up near Allansford during the week with 17 landed in a couple of hours out of an isolated hole, and even 4 redfin to go with them which can be an uncommon catch in the lower Hopkins. Fishing the deeper sections of flowing water is best if you're targeting fish in the fresh at this time of year as the fish will be looking for the best oxygen and clean water to come down. Max Kandage reported thick blue green algae in the Hopkins up near the falls whilst catching perch up there last week. Rocklands has been fishing well, with yellowbelly taking smaller black or purple lures such as 1/4oz spinnerbaits, hardbodies or soft plastic grubs. The lake is dropping slowly and some anglers have blamed the poor fishing on this.

While this weekend is looking hot, the wind is good so brave the heat and get out there!