Warrnambool Summer Fishing Targets

14 Dec 22
Stuck for fishing ideas coming into the peak of the summer season? We doubt it; but if not, keep reading!
  1. Snapper

    -  One of the most popular saltwater targets across southern Australia, snapper are always at the top of the target list. We've had some great local snapper fishing in recent months, both on resident pinkies and some larger fish to 80cm out wider. During summer it's normally the pinkies most commonly caught. Over the last week boats fishing out of Warrnambool have been landing dozens of pinkies to 50cm, between 30-40m of water. Whether you anchor and berley, or simply drift, you're bound to find fish! Try pilchard, barracouta and squid for bait, on a pre-tied Snapper Snack or a basic paternoster with a 4/0 hook. One great thing about summer is the ease pinkies can be targeted land based. The same baits will work well, and most beaches (Levies, Logan's, Port Fairy) with nearby reef will produce fish. Coastal structures such as the Warrnambool and Portland breakwaters, also account for their fair share of fish. Early or late in the day, and on a tide change are the most productive times. Lure fishing with soft plastics, especially in the shallower water near Portland is productive. Try worm, grub or jerk bait plastics between 3-6" over reef and rubble with a 12-20lb leader.

  2. Bream

    - With the abundance of muddy freshwater still persisting in our rivers, the bream fishing has been a little slow in the Hopkins for a couple of months but things are definitely on the improve. Bream make a great summer time target; they're easily accessible to all, no matter the weather, and offer a variety of fishing challenges for all anglers. Kids can get stuck into the bream in any local estuary (Glenelg, Surrey, Fitzroy, Yambuk, Moyne, Merri, Hopkins, Curdies) using a lightly weighted bait of worm, bread, mullet, crabs or prawns. Keep things light, no more than 6lb tackle. For those a little keener, lure fishing is where bream fishing is at it's finest. Small 2-3" soft plastics such as the Z-Man Grubz or Slim Swimz, Bait Junkie Grubs or Minnows, Hurricane Sprats or Gulp range are worth adding to your arsenal. Fish those on a size 1 jighead with a 1/20, 1/16 or 1/12th oz weight. Summer is when all keen bream anglers become buzzing with the excitement of surface fishing. Fishing shallow water (under 1m) in lower light conditions, with a bent minnow, small walker or pink grub is as good as it gets! Try the shallow sections of the Hopkins mud flats or rock walls, Glenelg rock walls or Curdies/Yambuk lakes for the best surface action. 

  3. Sharks

    - Gummy and school sharks are a great year round target in the southwest. Bottom bashing in 40-50m, or as wide as 200m, will find you good numbers of sharks year round. Try wrasse, squid or fish flesh baits on a 7/0 paternoster rig, either anchoring on a mark with berley or drifting. If you do berley, especially in deeper water, there's always a chance of a mako shark coming along. Be sure to have a heavier 15 or 24kg rod rigged up at any time just in case, as these aren't a shark you want to muck around with! Threshers will also turn up during summer, usually as a surprise for those targeting tuna/kings, or bottom bashing. These sharks do have a liking for lures, and are often hooked in the tail due to their feeding habits. Killarney and Portland North Shore are two thresher hotspots. While many consider winter to be the prime time for shark fishing from the beach, there's still plenty to be caught on a summers evening from the sand. Set up a couple of 12-14' rods with heavy paternoster rigs coupled with surf sinkers and fish flesh bait. Fish for a few hours after dark, especially if there's a tide change somewhere in there. Successful beach anglers can be a little secretive about locations, but Logan's, Levies and Narrawong are all known shark haunts.

  4. Native Fish

    -  A few years ago estuary perch were the only native fish option in the south-west but thanks to stocking efforts of the VFA, native fish are being stocked right across the south-west. In the west, Rocklands Reservoir has risen to be the rising star with Murray cod, golden perch, Australian bass and estuary perch all calling the lake home alongside redfin, trout and carp. The rising water levels will make this summer a little different at Rocklands but will make the fishing (for boat or kayak anglers) even hotter. The lower-middle section of the lake has been fishing best, targeting inlets, bays and points. Once you've selected an area, cast the timber or rocky structures well, and keep an eye on your sounder where you may be able to find schools of fish to be jigged up. Try medium sized spinnerbaits (Spinwright), surface paddlers (for cod) or diving hardbodies (such as Stumpjumpers) for casting and vibes for jigging. Bait fishing from your boat or camp with worms and yabbies, or cheese for cod, will work too. Further north, the Wimmera River has long been the golden perch hotspot, and Bellfield has been stocked with cod and goldens. Lake Bullen Merri and Lake Elingamite have been stocked with Australian bass in the last year, so keep an eye on these fisheries. Bullen Merri still has resident bass from 20 years ago and these are some serious sized fish now, usually taken on soft plastics in deep water near Potter's Point.

  5. Kingfish

    - Again, it's been a little slower on the kingfish front early this summer thanks to the colder conditions. Once the kings really roll in (there has been reports this week) the Portland area will fire up. Try trolling sluggos and squid strips until you find the kings, whether they're in your lure spread or visible on the surface nearby. You'll then want to be casting poppers, stickbaits or sluggos at the school to get them excited. The town reef area near the Lee break wall is always a solid producer of fish too, and they'll even make their way into the bay a few times each season. Closer to Port Fairy, Lady Julia Percy has long been a big king hotspot. With the water deeper, jigging on sounded schools becomes a feasible option, while casting and trolling (including down rigging) produce equally as many fish. Any reef or rocky point along the coast will hold kingfish at times, however Portland and Julia Percy are the two most consistent and reliable areas. Keep an eye out for tuna too!