Anglers in the southwest are slowly beginning to get back into the swing of things following another lockdown in regional Victoria. Fishing has been restricted to the estuaries and lakes, due to the sea conditions, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any memorable fish caught.

Estuaries: the Glenelg River saw some dirty water come downstream, from the run off in the last downpour. Typically this shuts the whole system down but in this case, it probably helped a bit. The bream and estuary perch have fired in the deeper water by anglers casting blades and heavier weighted soft plastics to try and get down into the water column. Right before the flood water made its way down the system, there was a ripper 19kg mulloway caught by a local who was trolling live mullet. Getting live bait has been an issue with the dirty water so anglers have been forced to catch them from Port Fairy, Portland and other estuaries and harbours. A popular technique for catching these bait fish is using a dip-net in shallow water, such as boat ramps and slip ways. The way to do this is get a good spot light or a head torch, and walk the shallow water until once you find them. Sneak up behind them and do a quick swipe with the net. Once you’ve got the mullet in the net, you have to take care as they are very susceptible to dying if handled incorrectly. The less you can handle mullet the better off they’ll be in the long run. If that doesn’t float your boat, berleying with bread and tuna oil then casting some worms, prawn, pippies or even a very small piece of pilchard on a double paternoster with long shank hooks will also get you a few. When you’re doing this you’ll need to remember not to strike, as you will literally rip their lips off. Mullet have extremely soft mouths. Simply keep winding when you feel a bite and they will do the rest for you. A bucket with a aerator inside is essential, because if you don’t you’ll get to your fishing spot and all your hard work will be sitting belly up in your bucket. Moral of the story; look after your live bait when you get it.

The Curdies River in the lower section has produced some outstanding fish on the high tide with some cracker bream being landed and the odd big estuary perch. The river section has also been a hot spot lately with big schools of bream and perch mixed along the banks and in the deeper water. Don Swain landed some nice bream and perch casting his trusty blades in a black colour. Small lifts this time of year seem to be the best bet, as they don’t often hunt them down if they are moved away too far.

Freshwater: Lake Purrumbete has again been the freshwater fishing destination of choice with some quality trout being caught along with some bags of redfin and chinook salmon also. Richardson Marine’s fabricator Cameron Pickert landed his new PB brown trout on the weekend. Noticing a big splash nearby, he quickly picked up his rod that had a lure tied on and first cast he was on. After a quick battle he landed a 8lb fish-smashing his PB into next week! Tack Hewett landed some tasty redfin on live minnow late last week, which he was stoked with. One great thing about redfin, and perch in general, is once you find one you will generally find lots of others, which can provide non-stop fun for hours. Mick Evans of Victorian Inland Charters ducked out just before dark for a solo reconnaissance mission fishing topwater lures. He managed to land several fish in that session with one being a stand out model. If you’ve never done it and want to learn then Mick is the man, so give him a call on 0402347515 to get onboard today.

Saltwater: the beaches around Killarney are full of good size Salmon recently which are providing anglers with great sport. Warwick Hamer caught some solid fish over the weekend just before the wind and rain hit. These fish were destined for the smoker and the table. Many don’t see these fish as an eating species, but prepared well they come up alright. The first thing you need to do is bleed them as this makes the flesh taste so much better. A simple way to do this is to break their neck and place in the sand with their head down and tail sticking out so you can find them again. Don’t bury the whole fish as you’ll lose them. A lot of anglers who keep a feed of salmon either make them into fish cakes or smoke them in their favourite smoking chips flavour. Even though these fish are plentiful, they don’t need to be wasted.

The Warrnambool and District Anglers Club are holding their first competition of the 2021/2022 season over at the Fitzroy River this Sunday. The comp will start at 9am and conclude at 3pm with prizes accumulated at the end of year presentation day for the open section heaviest bream or perch, heaviest 5 fish bag of mixed bream or perch, heaviest other fish; which could be a mulloway or salmon. There is also a prize for the heaviest fish caught by a lady angler, and a junior prize also for the heaviest fish. All existing and new members are most welcome to attend. Memberships are $20 for an adult, or $30 for a family and $5 for a junior. Juniors are free to fish the competitions throughout the year once joined as a member and the adult entry which is 16 years and over are $10 entry per competition.

This weekend doesn’t look favourable again, but I think we are getting used to that by now, so we will see what happens next week. Until then tight lines and best of luck.