With summer slowly emerging from the clouds, gradually the fishing is beginning to change which is only going to be a good thing. Water conditions offshore are beginning to look promising for tuna and king fish, while the rivers are beginning to clean up too. Let’s have a look at some of the reports making news this week.
The King George Whiting fishing has been fantastic lately, right across the southwest. Anglers fishing in the calmers bays of Portland, Port Fairy and Killarney have enjoyed some excellent sport on these tasty fish. It’s still reasonably early in the whiting season, so things are certainly looking promising for a great season ahead. Most anglers are using a pre-made flasher rig, such as the Black Magic Whiting Snatcher and Whacker ranges. Match these with a 10 or 20g sinker, dependant on current at your chosen location. Whiting will generally be found on the edges of reefs, as well as mixed ground of weed and sand. These same reefs have produced a few squid lately, another species which will only become more common as we progress into summer. Some anglers have reported success using pellet based berleys, which can be the ticket to success at times. The best time to chase whiting is generally towards sunset, and even after dark. Small squid strips and pippies are the two most popular baits for whiting anglers locally. At times, whiting have been known to take certain soft plastics, a fishery that could be further developed, but typically they are a bait only species. Offshore, young Max Kandage had some action on snapper and nannygai running metal jigs. Max was out fishing with his dad Janaka, aboard the Graham’s Stabicraft Supercab. Jigging has really grown in popularity recently, with ever increasing numbers of anglers making the switch from traditional bait techniques. Jigging is a cleaner, and more fun, way of catching reef fish. It eliminates the need to rebait each drop, can drop catch numbers of less desirable species such as rock cod, rays and wrasse, and can be a lot of fun with the right tackle. Beginners to this style of fishing will often fish too heavy and too fast; micro jigging is all about slow jig movements and light tackle. If you haven’t run jigs for snapper yet, possibly this summer could be time to set yourself up with some suitable micro jigs and a light spin combo. Unexpected, but welcome, bycatch including kingfish and even school sharks often get caught by anglers fishing jigs for snapper in the southwest. There’s no complaining when either of those comes up next to the boat! The same can’t be said for instances when a school of marauding barracouta takes a jig! The beach fishing has also been quite productive of late. Killarney salmon are still present, although not in the same quantities as seen a couple of months ago. More open and exposed beaches along the southwest (including Yambuk, Levies and Logans) have produced a few nice sharks and the occasional small snapper.
In the estuaries, there are mixed reports across the southwest. The Hopkins has fished slow from most reports, with fish still schooled up attempting to spawn. Even though it is quite late in the season for bream to be displaying this behaviour, we have had quite an unusual winter and spring weather wise. If you do decide on a Hopkins bream trip, typical winter techniques will reign supreme. That means black blades and deep soft plastics for lure anglers. Strong scents and dark colours are the two tricks to bream success under such conditions. Bait anglers may be best to use scrubworms and cut mullet. We can only hope the rain stays put for a few weeks, to allow the water to clear and encourage these fish onto the edges. I don’t like the chances of a dry week though! Tom Leach has been having some success fishing around the Lyndoch area, using peeled prawns as bait. This is a fantastic way to introduce kids or new anglers to fishing, as it’s quite simple yet enjoyable. A small piece of peeled prawn, fished lightly weighted or even with no sinker, and a light line, is very hard to go past. Further west, the Glenelg River has been producing some excellent mulloway fishing. Peter Grant reported eleven mulloway taken over two days. Peter was fishing the Taylor’s Straight area, using soft plastics and live mullet slow trolled. These have been the best two methods for Nelson mulloway recently. John McCosh reported success on the Westin Shad Teez soft plastics; he was told by another angler these were all the fish showed interest in. There are some good sized fish in amongst them; up to 90cm. Kris Hickson has been touring the southwest over the last couple of weeks. After targeting some Apollo bay trout, and Curdies River bream, Kris made it over to Nelson where he was able to land a few bream, perch and a mulloway. Daiwa Bait Junkie soft plastics were the lure of choice, casting the edges around the shacks that line the banks, as well as around the bridge.
Lake Purrumbete has again been producing some excellent bags of trout and redfin this week. Rainbow, brown and tiger trout, as well as chinook salmon, have all been quite well represented in catches recently. Most anglers are casting hardbodies on the edges of the weedbeds. I had a trip across a few weeks back and found plenty of fish willing to eat a Bait Junkie soft plastic, as well as bent minnows. Big bags of redfin have been taken by anglers either casting, or fishing vertically with minnows or jigs. The average size of the redfin has been respectable too, at least for Purrumbete. Victorian Inland Charters has taken a few clients out this week, with some great catches to show for their efforts. Rocklands Reservoir is certainly worth a mention as well. Plenty of yellowbelly are now coming out of this massive expanse of a reservoir, located near Balmoral on the upper Glenelg River. Even though Rocklands is a popular camping area, there’s still plenty of room to spread out and have a fish. Most yellowbelly, as well as a few large redfin and small cod, have been taken on live yabbies and worms fished either from the bank or a boat. Trolling small hardbodies, or casting soft plastics and spinnerbaits, are a couple of other tactics to try for a Rocklands perch. Chris Vickery had a great trip up; landing some quality yellowbelly as well as a lovely Murray Cod. Rocklands has only been officially stocked with golden perch and Murray Cod for four years now; so to see such healthy native fish already is an excellent sign for the future. Being dubbed the next Lake Eildon by many; keep a close eye on Rocklands to see if this lake can live up to expectations. It certainly looks promising.
Whilst the next couple of days do look quite unfavourable in terms of weather, there’s a few windows to head out fishing over the weekend and into next week. Whatever you decide to target, best of luck from us!