Saltwater: Even with some brisk winds nudging over the 30km\h mark, some great fish have been taken offshore over the past seven days. Friday and Saturday saw some incredible conditions with glass outs and blue skies; not normal July conditions, but we weren’t complaining! Phil Pirotta got some cracking fish, with a snapper of 5.16kg being the pick of the bag, a really solid fish for south-west Victoria. Phil’s wife Amanda also managed a serious sized gummy shark, not to be outdone. Scott Gray also got amongst some nice sized school sharks whilst fishing out wide. Alongside the sharks Scott located and landed some bight redfish, pink ling and a good sized knifejaw of over 50cm. Tyson Osbourne went for a look out wide with his mate Luke Smith. The boys put together a nice bag of deep-water fish, including frostfish and plenty of tasty blue eye trevalla. The tuna have been quiet over the last week, at least locally. The Ocean Onyx gas drilling rig located offshore from Port Campbell has still produced a few tuna, but not with the same amount of activity and life being reported a couple of months ago. Further east towards Apollo Bay is where the action can be found. A bluefin of 147kg was taken earlier this week by Sienna Chiappetta whilst fishing with her boyfriend Noah Zammit; a seriously big tuna and a tremendous effort. The weather on that particular day was rough, being the only boat out. The bluefin took a Jaks Zeus in Angry Skittle colour, a lure which continually shines as a top fish catcher each season. Inshore, calm conditions stirred a few local divers and spearfishermen to get amongst a few crayfish. Lucas Wilson jumped in for a dive and was rewarded with several nice crayfish and abalone for a winter feast. Ben Woolcock also jumped in off the rocks and found a couple to 1.9kg. The Moyne River mouth at Port Fairy, despite being quite discoloured and fast flowing, has been producing a few good-sized silver trevallies for anglers casting soft plastics. I’ve always found half a pilchard, filleted, to be quite an effective bait fished after dark and on tide changes.

Estuary: Despite increased rain this week, the estuaries have continued to produce plenty of bream for keen anglers. Corey fished for a couple hours on Friday afternoon with Michael Hunt and he found a few fish up around the Hen and Chickens reef. These fish were chewing their heads off on the coral and were even eating the soft plastics off the reef when snagged up! He managed 15 or so fish in a short amount of time, with the best being an extremely dark 36cm bream which had spent most of its life up in the fresh. As well as the steady flow of bream hitting the deck Corey also landed some nice estuary perch on the same technique. Casting soft plastics on a 1/12oz jig head allows the plastic to sit up more and become less snagged up as opposed to lighter heads that sit flat. Over at the Curdies River, anglers have been left amazed at the sheer size of the schools being marked up on their sounders. From the ski run below Curdievale right through to the lake, there are plenty of fish but they remain pretty tough to get a reaction from. There was one quality perch that measured in at 48cm, which was caught by a relative newcomer to casting soft plastics. The water clarity over there at the moment is quite dirty so anglers have been using brighter coloured soft plastics in white and gold to get their attention. Fishing dark coloured blades will also put you in with a shot at connecting to one of these fussy fish.

Freshwater: This past week has seen some ripping catches of brown trout especially in the Merri River. Skeeta Andrews landed a cracker of 3.9kg on a Rapala F9 cast into the running water. With the water fairly discoloured now, the bigger lures will come into their own especially old faithfuls such as the Spotted Dog Rapalas of which we have just received a special shipment.  These legendary lures are available in 7,9,11 and 13cm and are all floating lures. In other systems, Lake Purrumbete is again fishing well for redfin and chinook salmon for those bait fishing and trolling lures. There has also been some tiger trout that are mixed in with these schools. These angry little fish provide a real spectacle when hooked and can be caught fairly easily with either a lure or a soft plastic cast at the edges. John “Tack” Hewett landed some nice redfin while fishing with Lake Purrumbete Holiday Park owner John Clements. The boys were using live minnow fished over the schools of fish that as Tack mentioned aren’t hard to find at the moment. Just the other side of Mt Leura, Lake Bullen Merri is also fishing well. I have seen a cracking bass taken by a kayak angler over the weekend. Not a common target in BM these days, but it certainly shows just how tough these fish are as they haven’t been stocked for a number of years. They have survived many algae blooms, and in recent years fish kills, that dwindled the numbers of big rainbow trout in the lake. The Camperdown Angling club members helped the Victorian Fisheries Authority in stocking 3,000 Tiger Trout into Lake Bullen Merri making this another option for anglers in the future. Well done to all that helped out in what looked like a not so pleasant day.

With this weekend looking like a typical winter write off the fishing opportunities may be limited. Might be a good weekend to come into the Tackle Shack and stock up for when conditions allow. Don’t forget next Friday the 23rd of July we have a Barrel Tuna talk night hosted by Dan Hoey from Salty Dog Charters and Matthew Hunt from Matthew Hunt Fishing Services, 2 of the most experienced skippers out there sharing their knowledge about when and how to target these iconic fish. The night will kick off at 6pm with a feed beforehand and some soft drinks also on arrival. There is well over $1000 of giveaways planned for the night. After the talk is finished, the Shack will be open with some great specials. Hope to see you all there.