The barrel tuna have come out to play again this week at both Portland and Port MacDonnell which has again confirmed this is one of the best years we have had for big fish in the South West. Not to be outdone, the freshwater anglers have also been nailing some solid trout.
Saltwater: the barrel fever is still in full swing and doesn’t seem to be slowing down; but getting better if anything! Tuesday alone was a dream day to be out at Port Macdonnell, with numerous big fish caught and plenty more hooked and lost. Matthew Hunt jumped onboard with Jayden and got him 3 fish onboard. The boys had 7 shots at fish and landed 3 of them. Numbers like this aren’t something that we see too often but it just shows how hot the fishery is. If you are chasing these fish and looking at keeping one, then proper preparation is needed to ensure these big fish don’t go to waste. We see too many at the shop where the anglers haven’t looked after the fish once caught and they are dried out and ruined. It’s pretty simple; if you aren’t set up to look after your catch and haven’t got the correct equipment (ice and a chiller bag) then release the fish and get prepared. Covering the fish in a wet towel is only good for a very short time and then you will need to put the fish on ice anyway. Everyone has been shown and told how to properly dispatch a tuna to get the best results, but just if we all take that bit extra time to prepare maybe we won’t see so many of these beautiful fish wasted. These fish over at Port Mac have been quite shallow and Tuesday was no exception with fish hooked as close as 35m of water, making them really accessible for the smaller fleet on the right day. Another great capture at Port Mac was by Lewie Holland who caught a 113kg barrel on spin gear. This fight took 2 hours which just shows how stubborn this fish was. Closer to home, and Salty Dog Charters at Port Fairy have upgraded their vessel to a Noosa Cat giving them a more comfortable experience for their clients. You certainly won’t miss them now with a bright yellow boat! They took it out for its maiden voyage and it didn’t disappoint with 4 ways and 5 ways most of the day. Off the beach there are steady schools of salmon at Port Fairy’s East Beach which have been getting caught on Storm Trick metals. The beauty of these lures is that they are designed to be a jig and a casting lure so when you pause it they flutter down and entices a strike. As well as lures the anglers who prefer a bait have been doing well on blue bait and squid with the top hook being a surf popper.
Freshwater: we are very lucky to be able to fish right throughout the year for trout and don’t have the restrictions of closed seasons. This means that we have the best conditions suited for trout and it’s certainly proven this past week. There are great numbers of fish starting to appear both in the Merri and the Hopkins rivers. Tim Vincent and Darcy Cutter have been putting in the time in their kayaks with some great results. Trolling lures behind their kayaks has been the trick for fooling these fish. Small soft plastics such as the Keitech 2” Swing Impact have also been accounting for a lot of fish these past couple of weeks. Using light jig heads cast in front of the rising fish is the go. Further away the twin lakes and Camperdown have also been fishing very well for both salmon and trout. Lake Bullen Merri is fishing exceptionally well for those walking the banks in the search of a trout or salmon. Plenty of tiger trout and rainbows have been caught recently by both lure and fly casters. Scott Gray has been having a flurry on the fly with some nice tigers and rainbows coming his way. If you’re wanting to cast some lures then using long cast hard bodies such as the Bassday Mogul Minnow will allow you to cover more area. Over at Lake Purrumbete the redfin have also been fishing well on live minnow fished relatively deep into the schools. These fish are moving quite quickly so if you find a school on your sounder and it disappears then simply wait and they will come back through. They hunt in schools up and down certain depths and it’s just a matter of time before they come back past your bait or lure.
This weekends forecast looks unfavourable for offshore opportunities with some strong wind expected both days. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!