This weeks report is a variety of different species and destinations which were caught by anglers last week. Some quality fish were taken both in the rivers and also offshore over the weekend.
Offshore: The shark fishing this year has been nothing short of excellent right across the south west. Both school shark and gummy shark have been taken both in close and out offshore by those looking for other species. Our workshop manager Tom Fox landed a couple of gummies on Saturday fishing off Port Fairy. Drifting baits on a double paternoster rig will give you the best chance of covering ground but anchoring is still a preferred option to most especially once the wind gets up. Berleying is a must when you anchor to bring the fish to you and your spread of baits. Richardson Marine’s resident welder Cam Pickert recently purchased his first boat and snuck out over the weekend off Port Fairy also where he landed 2 school shark and a gummy. By all reports there are a few undesirables kicking about also but some of these are very good shark bait. Wrasse are considered one of the best baits for shark which a lot of anglers have been turning to as they head out. A simple fillet taken off each side with the hook pinned through the top once will be very hard for the gummies and school shark to resist. Dan Hoey from Salty Dog Charters Port Fairy and his 2 daughters headed out on father’s day in search for some sweep and they weren’t disappointed with a great feed of big sweep hitting the deck. Although they aren’t the biggest fish in the ocean they certainly fight well over their weight class and can turn an angler inside out on light tackle if you’re not prepared for it. These guys usually live around the inshore reefs or on kelp beds against cliffs and steep drop offs. Best baits for sweep are pippies or a small fillet of blue bait or pilchard fished on a single paternoster rig with a swivel bomb swivel. As the water warms up they become more prevalent along the coast and are a great fish for even the most advanced angler to test their skills out on.
Beaches: The salmon patrollers have been coming up fairly empty handed this week with fishing being fairly tough mostly due to the wind direction and also the swell that has been about. Later this week and into the weekend we are expected to have northerly and north westerly winds which will make it a lot easier to punch the lures out into the surf. East beach has probably seen the most consistent of the beaches across the south west for numbers along with Peterborough near the mouth of the Curdies river. Although anglers who cast lures at salmon usually tend to use a metal slug style there are a few switched on anglers starting to use small stick baits which are fairly heavy. We have just re stocked the metal slugs however after being cleaned out in recent weeks due to the popularity of this technique. As we head deeper into spring we should see an influx of small snapper hit the beaches which are a great target species for any level of experience and provide a great feed if you want too.
Estuaries: The Curdies river fired over the weekend after a flush of dirty water came down wiping out any hopes of fishing the past couple weeks. A couple of my mates landed some big bream on Bassday Moguls cast into the shallows in search of Ep’s. Something that isn’t typically associated with winter fishing is casting lures into the shallows but what I’ve seen over the past few seasons it’s definitely becoming more common. The Hopkins seems to be in the same boat the past week but has seen some nice perch being caught on a wide variety of techniques. I snuck out on Friday arvo and between myself and a mate we caught 15 odd perch and about the same amount of bream on soft plastics cast into the shallows. The fish were very aggressive when they hit the lure which was causing some issues with being able to hook them properly. I managed a nice perch that measured 44cm on a slim swim soft plastic fished on a 1/12 which I find gives a better action with less movement by the angler. My Garmin fish finder was showing fish sitting in the 3m range also which I would assume would be schooling ep’s full of spawn. A fairly uncommon capture down the front end of the system is trout but after a bit of fresh water came down it wasn’t surprising that one was caught. Michael Malone landed a 58cm fish while fishing in the ski run. A notable mention for first time Mulloway tempter Jaiden McIlroy with a 94cm fish taken on a soft plastic from a local estuary. After watching his uncle Tony catch several including a fish over 1m in length Jaiden finally got his turn and landed a ripper fish for his first.
What will the next week give us in fishing wise and weather conditions? Looks like some rain but the swell remains down to 2-2.5m thanks to some northerly winds so some might be able to venture out into the blue but if not the inland waterways are worth a shot anyway. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.