Fishing has always appealed to me for the great unknown when on the water, and a couple of captures this week certainly confirmed that for a couple of unsuspecting anglers. There’s also a welcome return of one of the south west’s favourite species after a quiet couple of months.

Saltwater: The salmon have still been very good at Killarney, despite large numbers of of anglers trying their luck from the beaches. For Johnathon Hogge there was a surprise capture of a nice 47cm Tailor that was mixed in with the schools of 2kg+ salmon. Although not a unicorn in the fishing world for us down here, it’s certainly an unusual capture and definitely one that Johnno was stoked with. Casting metal lures in the 40-60g size class and using baits such as blue bait and squid, anglers have been having a ball on the salmon. Speaking of brilliant fighting fish, and one species that we have certainly missed the last couple months, is the school size bluefin tuna that migrate down here over summer in search of small baitfish inshore. Typically a tougher time to catch them due to the bait size they are gorging themselves with, they also draw innovation from anglers trying new ways to trick them into a strike. Newcomers to tuna fishing may be more inclined to run large lures over 200mm, however in the warmer months you’ll generally need quite a small lure. The most successful school tuna lures match the hatch of what these fish are feeding on. Running small skirts in the 3-4” range, and typically in white or pink colours, will match the white bait and bigeye baitfish and will give you a real chance of coming tight with a tuna. Another technique that is deadly over summer is casting stickbaits at the fish on the surface. These lures come in both sinking and floating styles, and are a deadly technique over summer especially on the calmer days as they sun themselves on the surface. It’s not quite as simple as speeding over to the school of fish sitting on the surface, casting far and cranking it back to the boat. There’s a lot of work that goes into it even before you cast that lure. First thing is locating the school which can be aided by a couple of indicators;  birds diving, or simply looking for a slightly different patch of water that sometimes looks like a wind pattern. When looking for birds it’s important to know which birds you’re looking for, and how they are acting around you. When the first lot of tuna were caught here many years ago, anglers thought that albatross were the birds to look for, but after a while they begun to work out that it was gannets and terns that they needed to look for. Once you’ve found these birds and they are diving on bait schools, you need to set your boat up in the direction of where the fish are swimming to. If you get it wrong you’ll be constantly chasing them around, and getting no closer to hooking up. Switch your engine off when drifting with the school, otherwise they will soon disappear and you’ll be kicking yourself after doing the hard work of finding them. So you’ve found them, and they are feeding on the surface, now what do you do? Pick a lure that isn’t a threatening size to them, and work out if you need floating or slow sinking. Typically whites and blues are a go-to over summer, so start with that and change it up from there. Using light line will also give you as much chance as you can with these smart fish. After dropping down to as light as 20lb fluorocarbon, they will become less spooky and you’re more likely to entice a strike.

Estuaries: Allistar Bourke landed a cracker 101cm Mulloway on only 6lb leader while chasing bream and perch in the Hopkins. The fight lasted over an hour so landing it on light line after such a big fight was a super effort. Allistar’s fish took a liking to a Daiwa Bait Junkie in the Pearl Gudgeon colour. This isn’t just the only big fish that has been hooked over the last couple of weeks, as there was numerous other fish hooked but all lost. A number of bait anglers have encountered rampaging mulloway while targeting bream, and have ended up losing those fish. The sounders of Hopkins anglers have been lighting up with these big mulloway, stacked 10 high in some instances. If I was targeting them and was looking for an area, I would start looking around Rowans Lane and Kinnears. These are proven places for Mulloway to sit during summer especially over the past few years. Targeting them with either live or cut mullet is a great way to stop the bream picking at your baits. However, I have had nights when a bream will be picking at the bait, and then a mulloway screams off with it regardless. There are a lot of mullet in the river so it’s no surprise that the silver ghosts are in here too. The Curdies River is still fishing well especially down the front section of the lake at Peterborough for both bream and perch. Young guns Allistar Sharp and Toby Hellessey spent a day with gun angler Kris Hickson who is currently travelling around Australia. The boys had a ball casting soft plastics and hard bodies under the guidance of Kris in their kayaks. It’s guys like this that have made fishing what it is today, taking time out of his day to teach the up and coming anglers of the future the right ways. When I was growing up, it was the memories of when others took the time to teach me that I remember so well, and still to this day I use these tips and tricks.

Freshwater: Lake Bullen Merri has again produced some more big bass for those doing the hard yards. One customer who had never fished Bullen Merri before landed a cracker 47cm bass casting soft plastics down deep. These fish can also be targeted on lures towed with down riggers and paravanes along the drop offs. This week has seen another few thousand trout and salmon released into the lake which means it will only go from strength to strength after the last fish kill (thanks to a bad algae bloom). The local rivers has seen some more dirty fast flowing water come down making it difficult to fish but I would expect that things will quiet down and return to normal. Typically the week or two after things slow is go time for trout in our rivers. Casting bigger lures such as the Zipbait Rigge and Daiwa Presso 95s into the runs should produce positive results.

With the weekend looking like a tackle prep weekend, I reckon reports will be hard to come by for the offshore crew, but estuaries will fire up again. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.