This past week has seen some great seas early on in the week but as time went on, the swell and wind has picked up making it difficult to get out there. Those that did were rewarded with some great size tuna ranging from school fish to the barrels that we are used to this time of year. Meanwhile onshore the rivers have produced once again.
Offshore: the winter months are a great time to target a feed of school and gummy shark right across the South West and that’s exactly what anglers such as Gerard Smith did early in the week. Giggles as he is known by said he left the ramp at 7am, got to his mark at 8.15am and was bagged out and releasing fish by 9am. With the gummies ranging from 8-12kg these are a brilliant eating size (haven’t found a gummy that’s not yet). Gerard was kept busy and frustrated by the school shark chewing his hooks off half way back to the boat so he has armed himself with some wire and some Black Magic KLT8/0 circle hooks in order to try and eliminate these bite offs. We’ll stay tuned to see how his next adventure goes and whether or not it works. Tuna have flooded the reports over the past week with lots of fish being caught in deep water both from Portland and off Port Campbell. Matthew Hunt has been putting his customers onto some red hot school tuna fishing with them bagging out most days from Portland. If you’re looking at jumping onboard a charter then give Matt a call on 0419760510. Luke Gercovich, Xavier and Marty Ellul had a crack at the barrels over the weekend but only found school fish that were smashing their big skirts targeted at a jumbo. The boys were plagued by rat fish which had no issue scoffing a 12” skirt which just shows that they are definitely on the chew. It’s been a weird old season this year where the fish have stayed relatively deep making it hard for the small boats to get into them. If you’re after big numbers of fish at present then venturing to Portland and fishing at the shelf will see you get tangled with both school bluefin and some nice Albacore tuna. After a few years where there were hardly any sightings of these often smaller models they appear to be back in our waters. To distinguish the difference between these and bluefin the easiest way to do so is look at their pectoral fin and their eyes. Albacore have very long pec fins opposed to the bluefin and same goes for their eye which is considerably bigger than the blue’s. Often known as the chicken of the sea Albacore are classed as one of the nicest eating fish in our waters. They are definitely a fish where if you put in the effort to travel to the shelf then the rewards are well worth it. Typically they really love eating a skirt in either vinyl or a simple feather skirt in the 4-6” size and can be targeted on light gear also making them a great sport fish. We have the biggest range of skirts for both Bluefin and Albacore in the South West so stop in and check it out.
Estuaries: the Hopkins has fished fairly well again this week for both Estuary Perch and Bream along with some odd species. There has been multiple bream caught over the 40cm mark but no monsters yet which should start to be more common in the next month or so. Anglers have reported that they haven’t had any spawn in them but are quite fat which to me suggests they are starting to think about spawning. The middle sections of the system from Rowans Lane right down to the mouth have been the most productive areas to look. Don’t be afraid to cast your lures and baits right in close as this is where most of the fish have been caught recently. Best baits have been shrimp, cut mullet and the humble prawn peeled and all fished with as light of a sinker that you can in that given day. The other species that has certainly made anglers brave the cold has been Estuary Perch which are being trolled and cast at by anglers recently. Above Jubilee park has been a great place to start especially after the recent dirty water that has come down the system. Matt Nicholls has been catching quite a few fish in this area trolling and casting Ecogear SX40’s along the edges. He mentioned the fish were absolutely smashing the lures just before dark. Another interesting capture was that of Shane Murphy’s rock ling that he caught while chasing bream in the ski run. A fairly rare sighting in the Hopkins and definitely the first that I’ve seen in my time. We wouldn’t know what could be caught in the system now after some flathead, snapper and trevally have already been caught this year. The Curdies River has settled down after the recent flood waters and anglers such as our Pure Fishing Rep Michael Moore found out last weekend. Him and his mate landed some quality Perch and Bream casting the new Protech lures hard against the reeds and working them back through the water column. It has dropped considerably and with this comes the movement of fish from upstream to the lower sections of the river so focusing your efforts from Dance’s Quarry all the way to the mouth would be my suggestion to have a crack at first.
With a rough forecast on the way this weekend I can’t see many offshore reports coming through but would think that the inshore waterways whether it be fresh or salt water would flood the reports. If you’re heading out this weekend best of luck and tight lines.