Finally the Hopkins River has fired up which has seen some big fish make the landing nets of many anglers. Offshore conditions have been reasonable but the action seems to be in close lately. Whiting have been high on the target list of many right through summer and have been caught right up and down the coast.

Estuaries: As mentioned, the Hopkins River has produced some cracking bream this past week for both the bait and lure casting anglers. Allansford and District Angling Club held their 9th competition on Sunday in which there was some great fish caught. None were bigger than Wendy Pemberton’s 1.262kg bream; part of her and husband Slick’s bag which took out the heaviest bag prize. Heaviest fish in the men’s section was caught by John Gordon which was a healthy 1.149kg bream. Kade Gordon caught the heaviest fish for a junior weighing in a 790g bream. The majority of these fish were caught on crabs cast in tight to the rockwalls. Now is the time that we generally see the bigger fish come out to play after being hammered over summer by the hundreds of tourists that frequent the river. Alex Craig is also one that has been getting stuck right into the big fish landing some lovely fish up to 46cm from the bank. These fish that are being caught are incredibly dark which would suggest that they have either been up in the fresh for a long time or have spent some time lately digging in the mud for the shells and other feed that lives in the mud. Either way the fish seem to be in the shallows and feeding really well so get out and amongst them. Over at the Glenelg there has been some great topwater fishing being had in the upper sections of the river. Jesse Stone and Matthew Nash have been getting some ripper estuary perch in their kayaks way up river lately on topwater. These fish aren’t afraid of big lures with the boys casting lures up to 100mm long. Further downstream there is a steady run of mulloway still being caught in the lower sections of the river from Taylor’s Straight down to the entrance. Again live mullet and deeper diving hard bodies will be the best option for targeting these iconic fish. The Nelson Nongs are on this weekend,  a yearly tradition for a big group of anglers that who up at Pritchards and do a bit of fishing. I’m sure we will hear about how the fishing went through Dudley Wright who lives for this day, and now he with his new boat up and running there’s no stopping him.

Saltwater: the school tuna have continued to be frustrating off Port Fairy and Killarney, providing a near impossible task at times. These fish on one particular day were almost pushing the lures back to the boat without taking them. When they are like this there’s not much you can do that will change the result other than keep changing lures and downsizing until one comes unstuck. Kingfish have been mixed in with these fish also lately, which when they turn on,  are giving anglers a real surprise when hooked. Some anglers have found success trolling lures away from the main school and encountering a blind hook up.  Try diving lures such as Halco Laser Pro 160 in popular colours like King Brown and the Pilchard. Trolling these along with small skirts at a speed of 6-8knots will give you a great chance of hooking up to one of these speedsters. Another pelagic that has been present on the surface is the big salmon at Killarney and Port Fairy. Liam Smith and his dad Barry were chasing kingfish when they stumbled across a big school of hungry salmon in the 2-4kg range. The boys kept a few for fresh gummy baits and released the rest. Meanwhile on the bottom scene, the gummy sharks have been exceptional lately with some crews bagging out in under an hour and then releasing more after that. Snapper and nannygai are also fishing very well; for both quality and quantity. Anchoring is your best option whilst heavily berleying. Seaford’s 100% pilchard berley logs are the best option for this, as pilchards have a high natural oil content and provide a great slick that will lead the fish to your baits.

Freshwater: the redfin at Lake Purrumbete have fished well again this week while using minnows down deep in the schools of fish on the fish finder. There has also been some decent trout and salmon caught on the same technique so it’s a lucky dip at the moment as to what you may find. Lake Bullen Merri has been fishing quite tough lately. There’s plenty of galaxia minnows present in the lake currently however; anglers who target perch and redfin have been collecting their bait here with ease. They are both potting and being able to be collected with a dip net. Remember your regulations however; minnows are only 40 per person with no minimum size limits.

Some nice weather is on the cards for the weekend and sees light winds which should make it possible for some shelf trips or a full day offshore. Remember if you catch something you’re proud of, be sure to send into fishing@richardsonmarine.com.au and we will share it on our Facebook page. Until next week, tight lines and best of luck.