Not sure about you lot, but I don’t know if I’m Arthur or Martha with all these lockdowns starting and stopping; and neither would the fish. One minute they are getting targeted from pillar to post and next they have free reign from us anglers. With this being said it’s been a quiet week on the fishing reports but a few keen anglers have been sneaking out for a look.
Estuaries: the Hopkins River is again in flood with chocolate coloured water flowing down the system. Myself and Michael Hunt ventured out on Sunday for a couple hours where we had no issue marking solid fish in the ski run but failed to turn a reel on them. We got only a few half-hearted strikes on the lures and soft plastics which told me they either couldn’t see them properly due to the discoloured water or they just aren’t interested at the moment. We did manage to sound up some decent size Mulloway at the very top of the ski run so that’s a promising sign once the water cleans up a fair bit. Speaking about water cleaning up, Yambuk Lake is finally cleared of the horrible smelling blue green algae that had been blooming in the lower section for a number of months now. Peter White headed over for a fish and noticed that the water had cleared up amazingly but unfortunately didn’t land a fish but like us in the Hopkins noticed a fair few schooled in the middle of the bottom lake. The Glenelg River is definitely the spot to be this past week with more big Mulloway being landed by anglers trolling hard bodies up along Taylor’s Straight and further on past Dry Creek. Trolling a range of 90-150mm hard bodies and a variety of diving depths will make sure you have both a snack for them or a main meal if that’s what they’re after on that day. I’ve heard of a few fish over the 30lb mark recently so the big fellas are about. If you’re thinking of a weekend getaway why not choose Nelson and help out a local town that has really struggled over the Covid lockdowns.
Saltwater: reports have come in that the pinkies have moved in closer to shore this past few weeks with some anglers catching quite a few only a couple hundred meters offshore of Granny’s Grave and the Flume. Use your fish finder to search the area and look for the fish that are just up off the bottom which usually resemble snapper. Don’t be surprised if you also catch lots of rock ling as they have been prolific this past 2 months. With some chunky seas coming this week via the forecast I can’t see anyone getting offshore safely with 3-4m swell all weekend. When or if we get a chance there will be a few anglers eager to hit up Portland in search of the barrels that are still hanging around. Just before lockdown we saw the boys from Salty Dog Charters get a solid 120kg fish, as well as Tristan Rogers from Unreel Charters who nailed a 147kg fish on a Jaks Zeus in the Grim colour. All this rough weather is usually a great thing for barrels and tuna in general as they really get active and at times can provide a great spectacle on the surface especially when they are eating big baits such as sea gar, red bait and pilchards. If you find bait in an area then don’t venture too far away from that as the bigger fish won’t be too far away for that. Cubing with pilchards is also a great way of catching these fish and isn’t as technical as setting out a spread of lures. All you need is a couple of blocks of pilchards, a few strong hooks such as the Black Magic KLT in 8/0 and 10/0 sizes, some leader, and your choice of rod and reel. If you’re after a challenge, try it on a spin outfit to test your skills and stamina. Basically what you are doing is teasing the fish up to your boat with a steady stream of pilchards wafting around and after you see the fish either on your fish finder or physically see them eating your pilchards you send one down with a hook in it. But don’t be fooled its not as simple as that and you will need to put some work into the bait while it’s sinking down. If it sinks too fast the tuna won’t eat it so you need to try make it sink at the same rate as the other pieces of pilchard. Placing your reel in free spool or super light drag slowly strip off the line and avoid making the bait bounce on the way down when you feed the line out. The more natural it looks the more chance you are of becoming tight to that fish of a lifetime. It’s pretty obvious when the fish takes a bait as one of two things will happen. They will either swim towards you once they have eaten the bait and you will notice this when the line is slack so quickly flick the drag lever up or flick the bail arm over and wind like hell until you come up tight. The other sign will be simply the line being ripped from your hand and line peeling off the reel and you just need to lean back when it becomes tight and you’re on! This technique is also used for fish such as snapper and king fish when they are in the shallows so keep that in mind for summer!
I’m hopeful the weather gods have got this weekends forecast wrong but if they haven’t, then the options on land will certainly give you something to target. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.