And just like that Christmas has come and gone; now we can all start to focus on the great fishing that we have on offer! We’ve seen some brilliant captures this past week, and a lot of people just starting out for the first time.

Saltwater: The amount of snapper around at the moment has been crazy, with these feisty fish spread right throughout the south west. I fished North Shore last Thursday afternoon with Michael Hunt, catching plenty of smaller pinkies on soft plastics between 6 and 12m of water. Our go to plastics were the new Berkley Gulp 5” Nemesis in Nuclear Chicken, and a 3” Zman Slim Swim in the Bubble Gum colour all rigged on 1/4oz and 3/8oz. I was also surprised by a good King George Whiting measuring 41cm which took the 5” Gulp. Also, at North Shore there have been some makos caught in the shallow water, following in the schools of salmon and tuna. One which was caught had 3 gummy sharks in its stomach. There was also a bigger shark estimated at approximately 200-300kg sighted along the north shore. The tuna along North Shore and along the coast are very finicky at the moment which is a common thing for the first few fish of the season. Typically feeding on smaller baits, they are very frustrating as you will see the school and have fish nearly push your lure to the boat, but won’t eat. Dropping down in both leader and lure size will give you the best chance of getting connected. Closer to home there has still been some good snapper and shark fishing on the bottom off Warrnambool and Port Fairy, when the weather permits. Using Black Magic Snapper snacks in the Super Lumo colour with a squid strip or half a pilchard is the preferred method. Make sure you berley; must this time of year if the fish are wide spread. Berley will also bring in other species that will make good baits such as trevally and yakkas. Kingfish have been the topic on everyone’s mind lately, and although the weather conditions haven’t been favourable for sight casting, as I write this the conditions are perfect. Not a cloud in the sky and calm winds which are a sight casting anglers dream for kings. Many anglers have been trolling sluggos out the back and have been catching some great fish. Usually this technique is used to find the fish and then the others on the boat begin to cast at them and keep them around the area. The humble squid strip trolled on a double hook rig with one of these hooks snelled is also a great way of catching a few.

Estuaries: the Hopkins is beginning to fish like it should in summer with many fish beginning to push up on walls and start to feed on the coral and crabs that line the bank. Mick Hunt caught some perch on Cranka crabs along the ski run wall, but this area will be very hard to fish once the ski boats and jetskis begin to hit the water. If there is a ski boat in the area then I would avoid fishing it as they have right of way during daylight hours. By all means if there is no boats skiing then go your hardest but just be mindful that they have right of way. Further upstream there has been some nice Mulloway caught by a travelling angler staying at the Jubilee Park caravan park fishing with Ecogear sx40’s out of his kayak.  It’s actually his third mulloway so far on the same lure so the old saying of elephants eat peanuts is certainly being thrown around. I have always caught more mulloway this time of year as bi-catch whilst chasing bream especially on the flats, where the theory is that they come up and sunbake in the warmer water during the hotter times of the day and then push out to the deeper sections during the low light. During the night time if you’re targeting these iconic fish then a live mullet or a medium size mullet fillet will be the pick and will also see some great perch caught on the same baits during this time of year. The Glenelg has produced some school size mulloway this past week for anglers such as Dudley Wright who sets aside about a week every year to target these fish. In the past 4 days he has caught 8 or so fish up to 70cm and dropping some bigger fish at the boat. Using his favourite bait in squid he mentioned that they were being pretty finicky which meant he had to fish unweighted for them to take the bait properly. Same as the Hopkins, the Glenelg bream seem to have moved up onto the rock walls and are readily taking Cranka crabs and lightly weighted soft plastics cast as close as you dare to the rocks. Perch on the other hand have been targeted up river from Sapling Creek to Dartmoor. Some would say that’s a big area to track them down but there is that many in the river you’ll track them down in no time.

Freshwater: Lake Purrumbete has been a hot spot these last few days with some absolutely cracking cheetah trout caught including one 6lb fish by Charlie Farrugia which is the biggest that we have heard of since their stocking begun a couple years ago. Charlie wasn’t done there though, as he caught a 7lb Chinook Salmon too. Both these fish were caught downrigging minnows deep through the schools of bait. The redfin have been prolific this past week and are taking nearly everything from worms, minnows to soft plastics fished deep in the schools. Using your fish finder to track the schools down is the best way to do it, along with working the edge of the weed beds which are fairly easy to spot this time of year. Bent minnows cast tight into the weed is a great way to entice the big brown trout and cheetah trout that this place is known for.

It’s been a fantastic year of fishing and we would all like to thank all our customers for sending in their reports over the year and hope that next year is a better year with more freedoms and captures too. Until next year tight lines and best of luck.