Summer is only a few weeks away and we are already seeing some summer like captures along our coast. The estuaries are beginning to clean up and produce some great fishing.

Saltwater: we have been waiting for a while now for a decent run of snapper and if the fish that Amanda Pirotta caught is anything to go by, then we are in for a fantastic season. Amanda has been trying to get a proper red for a few years now, but it seemed as though they always found their way to her husbands rod. She was stoked with this fish, and so she should be. Any snapper over 5kg is a great achievement in the south-west and to get it in only 45m, out of their 4.2m tinnie, is even better. There has also been some big nannygai both from Warrnambool and Port Fairy. Gavin Buchanan caught some lovely fish on 8″ Powerbait Jerk Shads in 45m. Nannygai to over 50cm were caught fishing off the bottom with these large plastics. An 8″ plastic used for 50cm fish may look out of place, but when you consider the size of a nannygai’s mouth, it begins to seem quite suitable. Fishing this type of lure is another great technique to pick up snapper and other reef species without going through bags of bait for little reward. When using soft plastics in this depth, you’ll need a fairly hefty jig head up around 1/2oz or bigger to make sure they get to the bottom. Fishing metal jigs will also get similar results, but will result in far more bite offs courtesy of the plethora of barracouta along our coast recently. If you do come across a school of barracouta, there’s no need to waste them, as they do make a fantastic bait for snapper, sharks and flathead. Further afield Anthony Smith caught his first mako over the weekend fishing with Goodie and Rhooky. We tend to see a few get landed this time of year and usually continue throughout summer. It’s nearly time to bust out the big gear, and burley hard to get one to the back of your boat. We have pre-made rigs ready to go for makos and can set your rod up with a wind on leader so you’re ready to battle a mako. Just remember that if you have never targeted one, extreme caution is needed throughout the entire fight as at any moment they can jump in your boat and cause mayhem. If you plan on keeping one for a feed, then I strongly suggest making sure the shark is 100% dead before bringing onboard as they will tear your boat and even possibly you apart if not. One of the best baits and one that is readily available at the moment is fresh salmon. Killarney has again been fishing well this past week for those braving the wind. Nate Monaghan has been loading up his freezer in preparation for the summer run of sharks. Casting 40g Ignition metals has seen some quality fish over 2kg. A little trick is the use of a BKK Ranger assist hook on the back. These hooks not only provide added attraction, but also mean that when the hook is in it very rarely comes out, as opposed to trebles.

Estuaries: the Hopkins River has started to clear back up after receiving some flood water following the recent rains. This has made a considerable difference in the fishing conditions for all manner of species. The bream continue to be spawning but are fairly easy to catch at the moment, on both soft plastics and deep diving hardbodies. Paddle tail plastics fished on a 1/12oz jighead is my preferred technique this time of year especially when dragged over mud and sand. The hits that you will get are a lot more aggressive than when you lift and drop. The other reason I do this around this time of year is due to the strong winds that we usually encounter which allows you to keep a relatively close contact with the plastic, with your line staying low to the water. It won’t be too far away and the estuary anglers will be throwing Cranka Crabs and top water at feeding fish on the edges. I have a good feeling we will have a great summer in the river after a couple of flush outs throughout winter and spring. The Glenelg River is again a hit and miss place at the moment, with more miss than hit. There’s no issue finding mulloway but getting them to eat anything is becoming more difficult. Live mullet has been the standout bait but simply catching the bait is challenging. If you are going to make a trip over there, I would suggest obtaining your live baits before you leave, at either Port Fairy near the boat ramp or even in the Hopkins down near the dangerboard on an incoming tide. You’ll need to make a stop half way to change the water if you want them to survive and make sure the bucket or esky you are using is aerated. You don’t want all that hard work to go to waste so look after them to get the most out of them. The slow fishing action the mulloway have offered has certainly been made up for by the bream and perch. They have been prolific in the middle section of the river, from the Princess Margaret Rose Caves right up past Sapling Creek. Shrimp and crabs have been the standout baits, cast along the many drop offs.

Freshwater: the upper Hopkins has been producing some nice trout for those doing the miles by foot. Skeeta and Cam Andrews have been getting into them while spending some father son time around the Hopkins Falls. Skeeta has also been catching some nice perch in the same water. Casting Daiwa Presso Minnows in the 60mm size, in flashy metallic colours, is the best way to get the attention of a trout at this time of year in discoloured water. Fishing soft plastics such as the Powerbait T-Tail Minnows and Daiwa Bait Junkies in the black/gold colours will create a silhouette, and also send off some great shine too from the gold flakes. Using soft plastics in the Merri River above the weir will begin to pay off with some big redfin as the water begins to clear up.  Slowly fishing the deep holes using a good sized (4″) plastic, preferably with some UV highlights, is generally a good way to connect to the redfin of the Merri.

Saturday’s swell is looking fishable but the wind is the worrying factor at the moment so there will be some keen eyes keeping a look out on the forecast. The rivers will definitely be worth a look for those not keen on fishing offshore. Remember to send your pics into us for your chance to win a brand new Daiwa Saltist MQ valued at $479. This will be drawn at the end of the year. Thanks to Daiwa for sponsoring this years Golden Fish Award, and to Mick Moore and the Pure Fishing team thanks for sponsoring last year’s award too. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!