Frustration has certainly set in for the many anglers chasing one specific species this week whilst others have turned their back on the fickle bluefin and concentrated on the great bottom fishing offshore.
Saltwater: the South West Vic bluefin have been tormenting anglers this week and are a real struggle on lures. Finding these big schools isn’t the hard part it’s just getting them to bite which is the challenging part for everyone. The crew from Warrnambool boat charters got into some topwater bites over the weekend with some customers on board. For one of their customers it was his first time on a boat and he was super stoked with his first bluefin which was plucked from the huge amounts of fish that are along our coast at present. Although many of the fish that you’ll encounter will only be small there has been reports coming in of some bigger fish lost after taking massive runs. Another thing to look forward to when chasing the tuna around Port Fairy especially is the fact there has been some great king fish mixed in with them. These fish will take the same lures as the tuna so you don’t have to change too much and in fact most of the time it’s just plain luck that you catch one in between the tuna bites. As I mentioned in the intro the other option for anglers heading offshore has been the great bottom fishing of late with some quality snapper, gummy shark and nannygai being caught on pilchards, fresh snook fillets and squid. Allen Anderson and Barry Hose fished off Warrnambool last week for a nice bag of pinkies as well as a wrestle of over 45 minutes with a nice Mako shark that decided to swim up to their boat. Estimated at over 80kg it was too big for these guys to manage to get in the boat and eventually broke free after poor Hosey copped a gaff handle to the eye after the shark flicked its tail knocking him to the deck of the boat. Just goes to show that extreme caution is needed if you intend to bring these very aggressive fish onto your vessel. In a blink of an eye they can turn and take a really nasty bite from you and do some serious damage. Some of the guys that chase them make sure the shark is dead before even trying to get it into the boat. The best way to do this is by using a Tony’s Tackle slip tip and trying to target the gill area and bleed it out. Then with the use of a tail rope tie it off the rear cleat on the boat and drive the fish around backwards which will essentially drown the shark. Before you bring the shark on board you must clear the deck because if the shark has a bit of life left in it then your rods and reels are going to cop it. Once onboard the first thing you should do is tape the mouth shut just in case it is playing dead. There has also been some cracking salmon from the beaches lately as Max and Janaka Kandage found out on Monday with 3 great fish up to 3.4kg caught on a Rapala stick bait. Often thought of as a winter species these sports fish are becoming more and more common in the warmer months and provide both good fun and excellent baits. If you’re keeping a few for bait then simply place them in a bucket or a cooler bag. Don’t bleed them as this is the best part about the salmon as it creates a natural berley trail.
Estuaries: the bottom of the Hopkins River is still producing some great bream along with lots of smaller fish. Below the bridge along the sand flats seems to be the best bet with pod worms and brown river shell the stand out bait. For those casting lures the bent minnow has also been catching their fair share just before dark. When using bent minnows keep an eye on your lure and in particular just behind your lure as the fish will usually give themselves away before eating the bent minnows. Sometimes it may take 5 or 6 times for a fish to properly eat it after swirling on the lure time and time again. If you’re wanting to chase Ep’s in the river then you really have to focus in the fresh water sections. Along with the perch there has also been some bass action which is what Luke Gercovich stumbled upon fishing with the Tackle Shacks Xavier Ellul one night. Using a topwater cicada lure Luke came up trumps with a nice bass which is a pretty rare fish to catch even though these boys make it look easy. I’m hoping that now we are back on normal tide rotations that we may see some big silver fish enter the systems after a very quiet summer. There has been whispers that there is some Mulloway in the Hopkins but we are still yet to see some proof.
With some windy conditions on the way this weekend fishing options will again be limited but I’m sure there will be some quality fish caught anyway. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.