Last week kicked off with the opening of cray fish season for recreational fisherman and the many that wait every year to get stuck into these sort after crustaceans didn’t waste any time. Like past weeks all the rivers have fished really well again.
Offshore: as I spoke about in the intro cray fish were at the top of most fisherman’s target species after the season opened up on last Monday. Drop netting along our coast has been the preferred method for many over the last few years and this is no different this year. The Oosthuizen family have started off the year in cracking form bagging some ripper crays so far. I heard of a very lucky fisherman that stumbled across a cray at Killarney that was in shallow water in the open. After putting his catch bag down and coming back the cray was still there so he reached down and grabbed it and after a bit of a tustle and multiple scratches and cuts a 3kg+ cray was ready for the dinner table. This is a freak thing that probably won’t happen again to him but what a story! The snapper fishing has again been great with some solid models taking pilchards and squid fished on the bottom. Even though the tides have been pretty useless, it just goes to show how hungry these fish are. With the water temperature only going to rise in the next couple of weeks I can’t see them dropping off. Gummy Shark have also continued to hit the decks of the bottom bouncers too with Sam Youngman and Henry Falkenberg fishing out of Port Fairy landing a big gummy weighing over 20kg. The exciting news has been captures of king fish around the south west by a few of the gun anglers that live for these fish. Casting sluggos and stick baits at the cruising schools is the most active way of targeting them. If you’re wanting to chase them on baits then trolling squid strips and fishing live squid under a float is the best option. There has also been reports of tuna starting to move into our area but as far as I can tell they are yet to be confirmed but it won’t be long and they will be here in huge numbers.
Estuaries: the Hopkins River has seen lots of smaller perch taken on hard bodies along the edges. Although these fish are quite small they provide some hot action when you stumble across a school of hungry ep’s. A steady retrieve with no pauses is all that is required to entice a bite out of these schools. The beauty about finding a school like this is the next cast might be a giant! On the bream front there has been some great captures of fish to 45cm by bait anglers using live minnow. The water level fluctuating up and down has made consistency in capture rates harder to nut out. Along with the tide times of the bigger high tide being in the early hours of the morning this makes it hard too. The last time I fished I did see some very big bream rolling on the edges looking for crab and coral to feed on so it’s probably only a matter of time until they really fire up. The news that everyone has hung out for is that there is a big school or multiple schools of mulloway in the system too. I fished up at Toorum stones last time I was out and in 10m of water there was 6m of Mulloway under the boat. Even though they didn’t bite on that particular day it was great to see them again on my Garmin fish finder. Brody Couch landed a 72cm fish on a Zman Slim Swim in baby bass colour a few days later. Over the coming weeks anglers will start to turn to top water for their bream and perch fix. This is a very exciting technique for these fired up fish.
Freshwater: Lake Purrumbete has again produced some great red fin fishing this past couple of weeks. Fishing deeper schools of fish with either heavily weighted soft plastics or live minnow seem to be accounting for the majority of fish. John Clements from the Lake Purrumbete caravan park reports that the fish are schooled in 50-60ft of water making it hard at times to fish especially in higher winds but the rewards are there if you work hard for them. The upper Merri around Woodford has accounted for some great trout fishing casting shallow running hard bodies in the deeper pools. Extreme caution is needed this time of year with snakes coming out of their winter hiding spots. Long pants and gumboots are best for this to prevent a bite.
With some nice weather on the way this weekend I reckon we will see some great captures again next week. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.