Small windows of opportunity for offshore anglers meant that most of the fleet were grounded this week. In saying that the inshore anglers fishing the rivers and lakes weren’t fazed at all catching some quality fish.

Estuaries: the Hopkins River was alive with boats and anglers over the weekend with 2 competitions taking place for the Allansford and Warrnambool and District Angling Clubs. In what turned out to be a beautiful day weather wise and fishing wise also. For Allansford it was Morgan Flook and Mick Treloar who caught the heaviest bag weighing in at 4.793kg for their best 5. The heaviest bream for the day was caught by Isaac Primmer with a 1.241kg fish. Vincent Lamb caught a ripper fish of 1.092kg to take out the junior section. For Warrnambool somehow I managed to win both heaviest bag and heaviest fish with 5 bream weighing 4.796kg and the heaviest weighing 1.348kg. In the ladies section Merryn Payne took out the win with a bream of 782g. All our fish came on my favourite plastic for the past 12-18 months; the Zman Slim Swim in Green Pumpkin rolled along the bottom on a 1/12oz jig head. This was Warrnambool’s final competition for the 2020/2021 season. The club would like to invite all sponsors, current members and past members to their club rooms on the 25th of July for the annual presentation day. Due to last year’s restrictions cancelling last year’s day we will also be handing out last year’s trophy winners. The clubs AGM will also be held in July on the 27th at the club rooms also where office bearers will be voted in and the years plans will be discussed so if you would like to jump on the committee and have a say then this is for you. Out of the competition results now and Matt Nicholls is still catching some nice bream and perch on his trusty Ecogear sx40’s around Jubilee Park. Fishing around dawn has seen him land some nice fish. The river is beginning to clean up but for how long it’s anyone’s guess as it only takes a decent week of rain to reverse what has happened. The clarity is like a tea colour which I really like to fish especially this time of year. There was a surprising lack of perch caught over the weekend after the early signs were promising with lots of fish starting to school in the deeper sections along Deakin and the ski run. A couple boats fished the schools for a couple hours and only managed small fish. Dion and the crew from Austral Research and Consulting worked alongside workers from the Glenelg Hopkins CMA on Sunday to hold a electro fishing demo day at Boggy Creek. A fair few small bream were “zapped” and then recorded before being released back into the water unharmed. Speaking to one of the guys from Austral there was a distinct lack of Tupong along the reeds where other waterways there was a fair few recorded. Around 70 keen and interested onlookers got a taste of why our water management authorities are the best in the business and an example of the state of the art equipment they run.

Offshore: most of the talk this past week has been around how many school shark have been getting lost at the boat or near enough to. These tasty critters can leave even the most seasoned angler frustrated and peeved off after being bitten off due to their razor sharp teeth. Some anglers have excellent strike rates fishing mono leaders and slightly smaller than normal circle hooks while others tend to stick with a wire bite leader of around 40cm long to their hook. With your hooks we recommend and use the Black Magic KLT range ourselves with great success on school and gummy shark. If you’ve never caught a school shark and want to know how to distinguish between the two then there is 2 simple ways to work that part out. First one is obvious Gummy Shark haven’t got teeth and School shark do; but we don’t recommend turning into a dentist to find out. The easiest giveaway is the clear snout or nose of the school shark where the gummy will be the same colour as it’s body. When looking to eat the school shark you must freeze the shark in order for the flesh to firm up as it will be mushy if not done. On the tuna front it’s very slow out the front of Warrnambool and Port Fairy with all the action being at the shelf or just shy of it and then further east towards Port Campbell. Either way you’re in for a big run if you want to target a tuna. Hopefully something changes in the next couple of weeks and we can get stuck into the offshore school tuna or even a “barrel”. The charter boats fishing out of Portland are reporting good captures of school tuna but no big fish as of yet. Landing double figures most days has been keeping both the crew and customers busy with most of the customers being able to tick the bluefin off their bucket list.

Freshwater: the Merri River has been alive this last week with some great fish caught. Ben Woolcock and Lewis Holland landed 2 similar brown trout only a couple minutes apart from each other while casting down the lower section of the river. Both these fish were near 5lb making them a bit bigger than average. The majority of these fish are lit up with very dark orange flanks and deep brown spots. This time of year they are a great fish to target and when you get one they make for a great picture too. Luke Gercovich has been catching a couple good fish on his trusty Duo Realis 80’s and Daiwa Presso Minnows around dark. Keeping your eyes and ears out for any water movement out of the ordinary could mean a trout moving and usually converts to a hook up if the cast is on the money. This time of year you have to run heavier leaders than usual due to the running water and the sheer size of these big fish. Typically you’ll get these fish jumping numerous times and if you’re using light line and they land on that it will be game over.

This weekend doesn’t look favourable for offshore fishing again with the swell and wind picking up so the main effort will be in the rivers and lakes. If you end up catching a fish and would like your picture in the paper or on our reports then send them through with a short description to fishing@richardsonmarine.com.au. We have a fantastic Penn rod and reel combo valued at $600-$700 for the overall golden fish award that will be randomly drawn at the end of the year for one of the 52 golden fish winners throughout the year. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.