This past week we have been flooded with reports from offshore and inland also. Everything from quality trout right through to some nice Mako shark from offshore which just reiterates just how good we have it down in the South West.
Offshore: the toothy critters have been out in force this past week with some nice Mako Sharks being boated by Boat Charters Warrnambool and Salty Dog Charters whilst taking a crew for a charter. Wayne and the crew onboard Warrnambool Boat Charters landed 3 out at the shelf after landing some nice blue grenadier and other bottom tasty critters. The long trip is definitely made worthwhile when you put some meat on the deck like that! Sam Powell and crew also headed to the shelf and were rewarded with some blue grenadier on the electric gear which is highly recommended when fishing in 400m of water. As much as the bottom fish taste great and are fishing quite well at the moment it’s the tuna that people are most excited about. In the past 2 weeks they have gone from being very finnicky to crunching lures both on the surface and sub surface also. Luke Smith and Tyson Osborne had a great little session casting Fish Inc stick baits off Warrnambool straight out from the break water. Although these fish are generally related to deep water we are seeing more and more in closer proximity to land which is what the case was with Josh Lourey when he stumbled upon a school of busting fish in only 25m of water off Warrnambool. Even though the stick bait scene has well and truly erupted it’s still the trolling technique that gets majority of anglers their fish. Whether it be a bibbed lure such as the Halco Laser Pro or a small skirt like the Black Magic Jetsetters you’re sure to find something that will tempt these bullets of the sea. Meanwhile in other bottom reports the shark fishing has again been great with some big gummies coming on board by those putting the time into berleying and being patient. Peter Goode christened his brand new boat on Sunday with a 20.3kg Gummy off Port Fairy. He mentioned that day was very slow but a bit of patience and the rewards are there. Along with the shark we have seen some pinkies and flathead caught by those drifting along broken ground throughout the coast. On the shallower grounds there have been some nice whiting caught along with some pinkies in plague proportions. As much as it is annoying you just have to fish through them and hope that a whiting will take the bait before one of the piranhas.
Estuaries: the Curdies River has produced some nice Estuary Perch both on shallow divers and surface lures lately. The upstream stretch above Boggy Creek has been the best bet around the scout camp area. Casting the topwater or shallow diving as close as you dare to and make almost no movement when retrieving it will be sure to get the interest of these feisty bucket mouths. It’s a painfully slow retrieve but when they crunch the lure they really crunch it on you. No light leaders are required as it will end in shredded line and a bit of cursing. The Hopkins River is fishing quite well for bream and ep’s at present right throughout the system. There is oodles of small fish around at the minute which is a great sign for a few years’ time but not so good now for those looking for a fish of a lifetime which the river can produce. I fished Friday and Monday and noticed lots of fish as far back in the banks as they could be but they became very spooky when I tried to cast at them. Fishing lightly weighted soft plastics with long pauses seemed to be the way of enticing these fish along with some surface lures. One thing I did notice was the amount of Mulloway holding in the upper region of the river around the Kinnear’s Reef area. Although they were sitting in deep water I reckon if you put the time in at night with live mullet you would be able to tempt one to bite. Some of the markings on my Garmin were pretty big so I’m guessing there would be some serious fish being caught. Speaking of serious mulloway caught Mark Hadden landed an 11kg fish out of the Glenelg River. A reel screamer for sure at that size which I’m sure had Mark in all sorts during the fight. There has been other reports too of some nice fish being caught both down the bottom of the river and upstream too. Best baits are spew worms, clickers, live mullet and mullet fillets fished on the bottom with a running sinker rig. When these bigger fish are around I would recommend having some fluorocarbon leader in the 20-30lb range just in case you come into contact with a river monster.
Freshwater: the local river trout have begun to fire up with some quality fish taken on shallow hard bodies cast into the skinny pools in both the Merri and Hopkins River. Xavier from the Tackle Shack caught some ripping fish with Oskar from the work shop. Luke Gercovich also tagged along and landed some nice fish on Duo minnows and Daiwa Presso 95’s. Even though the water is yet to start flowing the fish have welcomed the colder weather and are beginning to feed well. As well as the trout there has been some great redfin caught recently with some measuring over 40cm! Although they are a pest they taste bloody good and the big ones put up a good account of themselves. Fishing soft plastics in the deeper pools and casting to the weed edges will give you the best chance of catching one of these beautiful looking fish.
There are a couple of competitions coming up in the next few weeks that may interest you. The Warrnambool and District Angling Club will hold their annual Easter Fishing competition with some great prizes to be had in all categories. Dates will be 3rd of April and concluding on the 4th of April. Fishing is open for all rivers from the Curdies in the East right through to the Fitzroy in the West. More details on their Facebook page. Another great competition is the Garmin South West Victorian Gamefish Tournament being held on the 27th and 28th of March. Lots of prizes on offer with over $5,000 in value up for grabs. Get involved and support these 2 great local clubs.
This weekend looks a bit dodgy for an offshore adventure so why not plan a trip to Nelson and have a go at the Mulloway or head inland for the many freshwater options available. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.