With the further easing of restrictions across the state the fisherman have been taking full advantage of this with some cracker fish being caught. Although Melbournians are still required to stay within 25km of their home while fishing, as soon as they are allowed they will swarm our area and bring their boats with it. Nevertheless the locals of the South West have been taking full advantage of our waterways to ourselves with some beautiful fish being landed.

 

Saltwater: the hype offshore this week has been the amount of good snapper starting to pop up right through our coast. Along with the seasonal pan size fish there has also been some bigger models mixed in again this week. Peter Goode and first mate Rhooky had a great morning on the snapper having caught their bag before lunch time. The best fish went 3.6kg and were all caught off Warrnambool in some great conditions. The recent run of Easterly winds have probably got a fair bit to do with this pretty good bite lately. The water is warming each day and this has also got the local king fish gurus up and about preparing their onslaught onto the summer population of kings. The welcome sight of squid along the coast is usually the first sign that kings will fire up as they love eating squid. If you’re like me and love eating them yourself too then come in and see us for all the squid how to’s and where to target them. In my experience chasing them I’ve found that black, white and a natural bait fish coloured jig works best in our area. The size of the jig all depends on the conditions you’re fishing in and what you’re fishing. Generally speaking a 3-3.5 size jig will be sufficient for majority of our situations that we will find ourselves in down here. If you are looking to eat your catch of squid it’s important to dispatch the squid asap and there is a couple of different ways to do this. The use of a squid spike which is used in the middle of the head and then both sides of the hood just where the head connects to the body. You will know you’ve done this correctly as the squid will change colour to a white and go limp. The other way to dispatch a squid and is my favourite to do which is simply striking the squid with the side of your hand like a karate chop between the head and the hood. The squid will instantly go white and will be ready for preparation. Why do you have to do this you ask? Well it’s simple like all fish the quicker you can dispatch them the better they will taste as the muscles all relax and don’t become firm.

 

Estuaries: the Hopkins River is again the place to be with some really nice fish coming from it. Mulloway have been caught by some keen anglers fishing at night on live mullet around the Deakin area. With the mouth open fairly well now after the recent flood waters I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a good run of big Mulloway this summer like a couple years back. The bream and estuary perch fishing has been red hot with bream and perch caught over 45cm on a range of cut baits, crab and lures. Seeing the bream are eating crabs shows that they are on the job because usually when they are slow the softer baits such as cut mullet and shrimp work really well. The water level has cleared up heaps and should continue to going into the proper summer which will mean fish will start to transition from flats up onto the rock walls and make it a really visual way of fishing. Cranka crabs and unweighted soft plastics such as the Ecogear grass minnows will come into their own during these times.

 

Freshwater: the upper Hopkins river has started to fire back up after the initial flood waters have dropped. Allistar Bourke has been catching some great trout on hard bodies cast into the flowing runs. He caught a nice trout which had a bad scar from a battle over the years most likely from a bird when it was younger. Just shows how tough these fish are and what they can withstand. Woodford up on the Merri River will also be well worth a look with some km’s put on the legs while doing so. Shallow running hard bodies such as Rapala F7’s, Daiwa Presso Minnows and Bassday Mogul Minnows have all been standouts over the years. In the dirty water it’s also well worth a shot with a T-Tail black gold minnow rigged on a light jighead and cast it into the pools.

 

The Warrnambool and District Angling Club are holding their first competition of the season this Saturday with a mixed bag comp being held in the Hopkins River. Entries will be taken from the clubrooms prior to 8am which is when the comp starts. The weigh in will then be held outdoors at the clubrooms with strict covid rules applying. If you’re interested in fishing then simply turn up before 8am on Saturday and register. Please note you will need to be a member to fish this as it is a season competition.

 

With some good conditions over the weekend and early on into next week the hype is up for a solid weekend. Hopefully you get stuck into some great fish and enjoy the great conditions. Until then tight lines and best of luck.