Late last week and into the weekend we were blessed with some unreal weather for all types of fishing. This in turn made for some great captures and some great memories for some. Let’s dive in and have a squiz and what kept anglers busy this week.
Saltwater: flat seas and some great bottom fishing graced our coast which most anglers took advantage of these brilliant conditions. The gummy shark came out to play over the weekend with some great tides making them chew. Max Kandage landed a great gummy around the 12kg mark along with a couple of beautiful looking Blue Morwong or Queen Snapper as they are sometimes known. The biggest went 68cm and were caught in 54m off Port Fairy. His Dad Janaka mentioned there was no bird life or tuna at all in that area and by all other reports they seem to be moving further out to the shelf. There was a fair bit of action in the 60m line off Port Fairy but this all seems to have dispersed wider making it harder for the smaller boats to target them. Anthony Conway was one of these anglers who found some action thanks to a tip off from Dan Hoey of Salty Dog Charters Port Fairy. Anthony was trolling Pakula skirts in Evil Angel colour and the ever reliable Crystal Flash in the Uzi’s. It’s anyone’s guess as to when or if they will come back inshore but I do know for sure that as soon as they do there will be anglers itching to get back into them. One positive sign is the sightings of Albacore tuna past the shelf which for most is a huge run but the reward is there for the effort. After a few years of being absent for whatever reason it’s great to see these beautiful eating fish return to our waters. Speaking of beautiful eating fish Peter Goode and Stephen Rhook landed a beautiful Mako shark off Port Fairy over the weekend. Typically when the water begins to cool down we see some mako’s come into our waters and start to get caught. If you haven’t caught or targeted these before there is a few things you need to know before trying. First thing is these are a vicious shark that if not handled correctly will cause some serious damage to yourself and your gear. You must make sure that the shark that you intend to keep is well and truly dead before you even attempt to bring it on board. Usually a flying gaff or a slip tip gaff is preferred and then once the shark is subdued then a knife will be used to dispatch the shark. Once the shark is in the boat a towel is placed over the eyes and some heavy duty tape is used to tape the mouth shut. Even though the shark is dead it can still have some nerves in it’s body which can cause the fish to flick and cause a nasty injury to you or someone else in the boat. The other thing is to make sure that if you do hook up a Mako that you try and get the anchor up so you can drive the boat away from the shark when it’s acting up as they can sometimes jump in the boat which causes anglers to jump out of the boat. Last but not least you’ll need to make sure you clear the deck when you’re preparing to bring the shark on board as they are typically heavy and if they land on a rod and reel set up it will most likely break.
Estuaries: the Hopkins River is blocked and is just trickling over due to the tides which is usually my favourite time to fish the river as the fish are up on the edges looking for fresh food that would typically be out of water. The last couple of years where we would typically see these fish sitting deep along the 3-5m mark they have been up in the shallows looking for that food that is usually above the water line. It’s certainly thrown anglers off in recent seasons including myself so when the water gets dirty again don’t discount the super shallow water. All the action that I’ve been hearing is coming from down the bottom from Deakin down to the mouth. If you’re looking at using lures then I’d suggest a shallow minnow profile such as the Daiwa Presso Minnows or the Ecogear MX48’s as there is a lot of minnow in the system. On the bait side of things I’d be trying baits such as glassies, crab and cut mullet fished as light as you can. The Glenelg River played host to the 2nd round of the Vic Bream Classics series over the weekend and it turned it on for most teams (not mine). Typically the laughing stock of the series the big fish came to play with 3 bags over 4kg weighed in for the event. Paul Malov and Alex Franchuk weighed 10 fish for 8.37kg which for the Glenelg is a real surprise. The heaviest fish for the tournament came from Damien McGlynn and Adam Arbuthnot with a 1.47kg bruiser from just below Sapling Creek on day two which was also a part of their biggest bag of the tournament of 4.65kg for 5 bream. It was a great sight after the recent floods that killed a lot of fish in the system and also shows just how resilient the resident fish are. There was also some great Estuary Perch and Mulloway caught right up and down the system. Ray Dorman caught a brilliant 46cm perch from above Pritchard’s which broke his heart after he thought it might have been a huge bream.
Just a quick note on the exclusion zone around the Portland area due to the Abalone disease. If you are planning a fishing trip to Portland I would suggest you do some research first to make sure you know where you can’t and can go to stop the spread of this virus that could have detrimental consequences if not properly managed. Head to the vrfish website for a full map and explanation on where you can fish off the Portland coast. We as a collective must follow these guidelines to ensure that our abalone industry can get the best chance of surviving.
On a final note and a reminder of our upcoming Barrel Tuna talk night on May 28th beginning at 6pm sharp which features 2 of the most well known charter operators in our area Dan Hoey of Salty Dog Charters and Matthew Hunt of Matthew Hunt Fishing Services. The boys will give you some invaluable tips and what to look for when chasing these now iconic fish. Along with the talk night you’ll have a chance to ask your own questions and get an insight into how these two operate and continue to put fish on the deck. We have some great prizes up for grabs including a Wilson Live Fibre 24kg fully roller rod, Casio tide watch donated by AFN, Nomad Madmac’s and DTX Minnows donated by Nomad Tackle and some sweet skirts that will have you hooked up to a barrel. For your $25 entry fee you’ll go in the running for all these prizes, receive a beer or soft drink and enjoy a BBQ. We should also have some tuna tasting which will showcase the different types of dishes you can do yourself. It’s sure to be a great night and one you don’t want to miss out on.
Until next week tight lines and best of luck.