The easter rush is over, and things should start to get back to normal once the crowds subside and return to their home towns. There has been some great fishing action all over our region recently; whatever you choose to target, there’s a good chance they’re currently firing!
Saltwater: the offshore scene for tuna is still going mad, with no end in sight. Charter boats, such as Salty Dog Charters, Matthew Hunt Fishing Services and others have enjoyed a red hot start to their season. Clients of these charter vessels are hooking into some of the best school size bluefin we have seen in recent years. Fish ranging from the “jelly beans” around 6-10kg are still present, but it’s the captures of the 20-40kg school fish that has everyone talking. Over the past few seasons, fish between 40-80kg have been quite rare along our coastline. However, over the past few weeks, there’s been plenty of fish in this size range taken, indicating a healthy fishery. Albacore tuna have also made a welcome return to our waters over the shelf. It’s a long drive to target albacore- but most offshore anglers would agree it’s worth the effort. Whilst appearing similar in comparison to a bluefin (to those unfamiliar), albacore have a considerably larger eye, and also have very long pectoral fins in comparison to their bluefin cousins. Although they are a much smaller size class of fish, they are fantastic on the table. Scott Gray got stuck into them during the last ideal weather window, which allowed him to make the trek out to the shelf where he bagged out on some tasty albacore on the troll. There has been countless barrels caught from Port Fairy, Portland and Port MacDonnell up to 130kg over the past week. Looking for the clean water after the green water moved in has been the best way of finding both the bait and the tuna. Young gun Nate Monaghan found out that it’s not just the tuna having a good feed but also mako sharks. After landing his very first mako which weighed in at 37kg, he was stunned to notice that its stomach contents was virtually full of small blue fin tuna with heads and tails right throughout. I wonder if these tuna were taken while these fish were hooked up or this feisty mako attacked them free swimming? Either way it was a surprise to find so many tuna inside a relatively small shark’s stomach.
Estuaries: the Hopkins River has been manually opened by the authorities and has seen some great saltwater pushing in on high tide. Prior to this on the weekend it fished quite well for numbers of fish, but it was just getting through these smaller models that proved hard work. One angler who did get through the small bream and scored some cracking fish, was Slick Pemberton who landed the heaviest bream in the Easter Fishing Classic run by the Warrnambool and District Angling Club. Slick’s bream weighed in at 1.295kg, narrowly beating David Hall who had a 1.22kg fish. In the ladies section Wendy Pemberton took out the first place with an 881g bream. On the juniors side, it was a hotly contested contest with some very keen young anglers whipping the river to foam in search of the winning fish. Mason Hunt took out the first place with a 1.01kg bream taken while fishing off the bank with his mates. Although the real big fish didn’t play the game, it was still an enjoyable weekend for all. Now that the water level has dropped, we will see some completely different fishing techniques being used. Some of the areas that fish were holding are going to have little to no water on them, so that will throw a curve ball for most. Using your sounder is an absolute must, especially side-view equipped models. As the water begins to cool right down and becomes dirty again like other years we will see more anglers fishing in deeper water with lures such as blades and heavy soft plastics. One estuary that isn’t going to be fishing well in the near future is the Curdies River, which is in dire condition after a severe algae bloom. Thousands of fish have now become victims of a poorly managed situation. Action is needed to get an answer as to why one of our best rivers has become a steer clear zone for everyone. Anglers and water users deserve to be given the answers, and those that are to blame need to be held accountable for ruining this system. It’s not only the fishing community that is affected but the people that live down at Peterborough, where the fish have been washing up and rotting away. Travellers staying at the caravan park have been left disgusted at the state of the water, which has been turning many away.
This weekend looks like a short window with Saturday looking the best for swell and wind. Tides are looking really good for the estuaries too, with a meter difference between high and low tides. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!