This week has seen the news that no one wanted to hear and that is the extension of the control zone for all types of fishing inside that area. Unfortunately for the many anglers who migrate to Portland each year to target XOS Barrel tuna this zone sits smack bang in the middle of the target zone for these iconic fish. With this anglers have turned their efforts to other areas in search of their fishing fix and with good success also, so let’s dive in and have a squiz and what’s been caught lately.
Saltwater: as I mentioned in the intro the news of the extension of the controlled zone until at least the 31st of August has raised some eyebrows of many recreational and charter boat operators who become confused at why they are unable to troll lures on the surface for bluefin. Unfortunately for us as recreational anglers we have to follow these guidelines until further notice which the Victorian Fisheries Authority are reviewing at present and the virus is also being monitored by divers. A public forum will be held in Portland at a later date so everyone is up to date on all the developments so until then we just need to sit tight and follow these rules put in place to help ensure the professional abalone divers livelihood is protected. Anyway enough doom and gloom lets get into some captures lately. Sharkmen Charters have been smacking school tuna to the West of Portland while trolling skirts. There are also some great schools of fish just past the control area behind Laurence Rocks in the 60-70m water depths. If you’re fishing past the control zone please take note and add the gps waypoints that are given on the Victorian fisheries authority website. This will ensure you aren’t doing the wrong thing by accident. Some serious big fish have been landed recently in the Apollo Bay area right out past Port Campbell by those that are prepared to put the time and effort into travelling to the fishing grounds. This is a welcome sign for the many Melbourne anglers who have been waiting for some big fish to turn up closer to home but not a great sign for us down here. These fish can be reached by the bigger boats launching from Warrnambool but if you’re going to do this be careful when launching and retrieving the boat especially after the last big storm. Unfortunately what has happened to Portland has again highlighted the need for a boat ramp upgrade to be made for Warrnambool. Year in year out we lose as a town a massive chunk of tourism dollars due to our poor and straight out dangerous boat ramp. Hopefully we see a upgrade come sooner rather than later and the boats will show how much it’s been needed for years. In other saltwater reports there have been some great showings of Salmon caught off the beach around the Killarney area by those using Blue bait and also casting metals and small stick baits from the surf. Fish to 3.5kg have been getting landed quite frequently and provide some epic fun on light tackle.
Estuaries: the Hopkins River has turned the corner after a pretty lacklustre few weeks over the weekend. The Warrnambool and District Anglers Club held their second last competition for the year on Sunday in less than ideal conditions but for those that braved the weather they got stuck into some quality fish. Michael Hunt caught both the heaviest bag and heaviest fish for that day with 5 bream weighing 4.712kg. Micks biggest fish in his bag weighed in at 1.233kg and were caught on shallow running hardbodies cast right into the shallows with a couple twitches of the rod tip. In the Ladies section Jess Lane caught the biggest fish with a Perch weighing 722g caught on lures also. There was a great number of perch caught during this comp which seemed to be wide spread throughout the system meaning we should see some good captures coming into winter proper. The Curdies River has also fished well this past week for bream even though the bottom section in the lake is still suffering from an algae bloom. The water is very high and will make it difficult for most boats to launch up at Boggy Creek so you may need to launch at Peterborough and transit through the lake. If you do the first few hundred metres you’ll need to pay close attention to the posts on the way up which indicate the channel and safest route through. Once you get past these you can then open it up and run all the way up to the river. The bottom sections of the river have been producing most fish lately and should only get better as the cold weather sets in.
Freshwater: Lake Purrumbete has again gone gang busters this week with some cracking brown trout caught like the one young gun Jarvis Kent caught with his dad Daniel over the weekend. Casting shallow hardbodies in the weed beds Jarvis was rewarded a cracker around 8-9lb and was over the moon with it. These fish are an ideal fish for kids to target as they put on a great show and don’t have any spikes to speak of as such. This time of year is absolute prime time for these big trout and can be targeted on a wide range of techniques. While trolling is the preferred method for targeting trout in the crater lakes it’s the casting side of things that have changed the way anglers target them. Surface fishing for them has become the go to as it’s so visual and addictive seeing a big fish swoop on your lure off the top. Even seeing a fish come up behind the lure gets your heart racing as they throw out this big bow wave and keep following it all the way to the boat or bank. It’s not just the trout that have been keeping anglers occupied but also the redfin and chinook salmon. Anglers fishing live minnow down deep have been catching some great bags of reddies which make for some awesome eating. With the chinook salmon best results have been coming from fishing a berley trail with cubes of pilchard and sending baits down through that with unweighted baits or as light as you can fish on that given day. You can also troll for these brilliant looking fish with downriggers and a tassie devil in silver or pink. Our local rivers have also been producing some cracking trout with fish to 8lb caught recently on shallow hard bodies cast into the many rapids. Doing the miles chasing these fish will give you the best chances of tangling with a trophy fish as there is a lot of anglers fishing this time of year so think outside the box and put the gumboots on.
Don’t forget about our upcoming Barrel Tuna talk night next Friday the 28th starting at 6pm sharp. Local charter operator Dan Hoey from Salty Dog Fishing Charters Port Fairy and Matthew Hunt from Matthew Hunt Fishing Services will be on hand to give you some invaluable information after 15+ years of targeting them for their clients. With this much knowledge and experience there’s sure to be something in it for everyone and a night you won’t want to miss. We have some excellent giveaways and some on the night specials in the Tackle Shack. For the $25 entry fee you’ll go into the running for these great prizes, we’ll fill you up with a BBQ and you’ll also receive a can of soft drink or some water. For more information you can call the shop on (03)55626373 or jump over to our Facebook page and hit the events button. Hope to see you all there.
Anglers are preparing for a Friday and Saturday onslaught after some less than ideal conditions in recent weeks. There have been some anglers coming in gearing up for the barrel tuna so here’s hoping we see some caught locally. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.