How good has the South West been this past week for fishing! Offshore continues to produce the goods while the estuaries and rivers have fired up also.

Saltwater: Ed Richardson and good mate Hugh Leishman got stuck into some nice nannygai and snapper on the jigs last week. Fishing over broken rubbly bottom, the boys got some nice fish and plenty of less desirables. Ed said he hasn’t seen so many rubbish fish around including rock cod, gurnard and seven gill sharks, just to name a few. It was Hugh’s second time using jigs and he is now hooked for life. When deciding which jig is best suited for you remember, that the shorter and fatter the jig then the less action is required by you to make the jig work. These are typically called a slow pitch or flutter jig which basically does what it’s called and flutters on the way down. The thinner and longer the jig, the more action is required by you and the faster you’ll need to work it to get something out of it. These thinner jigs are more for king fish and tuna rather than reef species unless you’re fishing in deep water as they create less drag in the water. Along with this fishing with thin braid and lighter line class will also allow you to fish lighter jigs without the drag of the line being an issue. Some decent gummy sharks have also been landed this past week including one that Lisa Davies landed off Port Fairy. Other than the gummy it was a slow day, with rock cod and gurnard being most common catches recently. Closer to shore the whiting crew have been slowly catching some nice fish but numbers continue to be low. I think once this warm weather comes through next week we will see more consistent captures. The water in close lately has been fairly dirty and this could have been contributing to the slow fishing. Black Magic Whiting Snatchers in the Green Grub and Mini Pilly have been the pick of rigs lately for the guys wanting to do a quick trip. Pippies have been hot property with most stores struggling to get stock but we have plenty to go around. Finding the weed patches to cast to has been difficult with the dirty water so being patient and waiting to find suitable ground is a must. If you rush and drop your anchor in the wrong place it could stuff up your whole trip, catching nothing but undesirables.

Estuaries: the Hopkins River has fired up this week, with both good numbers and sizes of fish. One thing that I noticed fishing on Sunday with good mate Michael Hunt was the condition of these fish. All the bream and perch that we caught were either full of spawn or had obvious signs of gorging themselves with weed and mud along the banks. As I mentioned a couple months back with their habit changes whilst spawning, there has been a lot of fish still up in the shallows which usually isn’t normal. Typically you will find massive schools of fish sitting sulking in 3-5m of water during the spawning months but I think what is happening is that the feed is up on the edges and they obviously can’t survive without eating. Another positive sign is the abundance of small bait fish that are up in the shallows. The perch have been having a field day herding them up and smashing them on the surface. This might be an earlier top water season than we thought which if you’re like me wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. Summer evenings are my favourite to be out on the water especially when casting lures such as OSP Bent Minnows, Ecogear pink grubs and Cranka Crabs up into the shallows. There is a lot of smaller size perch around the bridge lately and can be targeted on both bait and lures after dark. Live shrimp under a float with a chemical light would be my preferred option for bait. Lure wise, I’d be casting 40-50mm long hard bodies and soft plastics along the shadow lines. Further afield the Curdies has fished well this past week with some cracking perch caught on soft plastics and blades. I know of one that was 47cm but wasn’t conditioned like the ones we know the Curdies can produce this time of year. All the action has been up in the river itself as the water level is quite low in the lake. The Glenelg River is fishing well for bream and perch lately. Just like the Hopkins the bream are absolutely full of feed and spawn with one particular fish being only 38cm and weighing 1.3kg. A true football bream that’s for sure. The perch have been a bit patchy, and seem to be moving from snag to snag a lot during the day. Covering water is the way to keep catching these fish instead of working over one snag.

Freshwater: Declan Betts landed one of the best captures that I have seen recently on Monday night; a 50cm bass out of Lake Bullen Merri. This fish is an absolute fish of a lifetime for the freshwater anglers down our way. The condition of this bass was exceptional, and could have been pushing 3kg! Bettsy has a new found addiction for these fish after a number of trips to Blue Rock Dam to sharpen his skills and now to be able to do it half an hour from his home in Colac is a bonus. He also landed another around 45cm so we could be in for a red hot summer for the local bass as long as the algae doesn’t cause too much hassle. Closer to home Xavier Ellul and Allistar Bourke have been catching some nice fish in the upper Hopkins including a double hook up from the same run. Casting 60-95mm shallow running hard bodies into the running water has been the technique to fool the trout.

This weekend isn’t too bad for offshore fishing but Sunday looks like the day to target with West North Westerly winds and a dropping swell making it fishable for sure. Remember to keep sending in those reports to go in the running for the Daiwa Saltist MQ 8000 reel drawn at the end of the year valued at $479. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!