What a couple of days we have had lately for those who have been hanging to get offshore with northerly winds flattening the sea off with swells to a metre. With this came some brilliant fish both offshore and in our rivers also. Let’s get stuck into it then.
Saltwater: after looking at the tides for this week and noticing small variances to the high and low tides during the daylight hours I wasn’t sure how it would effect the fishing but to my surprise the fish went nuts! Gummy sharks were coming in left right and centre by those bouncing a bait down on the bottom either drifting or on anchor. I was inundated with pictures of big gummies and none bigger than Barry Smiths which weighed in at a whopping 26kg!!!! Barry caught this off Port Fairy on Melbourne cup day making the most of the public holiday. One other great fish that was landed was by young gun Nate Monoghan who caught his personal best gummy that was easily over 20kg also. It didn’t stop there with the reports of big gummies with Harry Anders happy as a pig in the mud with his 20.2kg cleaned gummy also from Port Fairy. In what has been an incredible year for shark fishing off our coast I can’t see the end of it anytime soon with the water warming up each day. One species of fish that has definitely flourished with the warming waters has been a great run of snapper along the coast. Peter Goode and Rhooky were into them again on Melbourne cup day with some great fish to 4.6kg in a great session. Mixed in with the snapper has been some very nice Nannygai and the odd blue morwong or queen snapper. Both these fish will sit around the same ground as the snapper and provide some great fishing at times. Another great day was had yesterday by Darrian and Wal who both got a nice snapper with them going 55cm and 63cm respectively. The boys also landed 5 Gummies in what was a great day out and made even more special with Darrian’s grandson Jacko onboard and catching a few fish too. No sign of tuna yet offshore but it should all happen in the next few weeks and the focus will shift to those on stick baits and other surface lures. One other fish that have been getting customers excited has been the welcome return of the King George Whiting which gets a lot of anglers up and about down our area. These tasty fish not only make for a great feed but pull like the stink on the light tackle that’s required to get a bite. Black Magic whiting snatchers and whackers have been the standout way of catching them with our pippies that are caught fresh from S.A. There has also been steady reports of some great squid captures lately making for a great few months chasing these great table species.
Estuaries: the Hopkins River has fished well again this week with some quality bream and perch being taken on both lures and bait. The Warrnambool and District Angling club held their first competition of the 2020/2021 season on Saturday with 35 entries being taken and most anglers landing a few fish. Winners for the competition were Greame Whittaker landed the biggest fish with a bream of 1.416kg fishing with Shane Murphy who took out the biggest bag with 5 bream for 4.384kg. In the junior section young Henry Steenhuis landed the biggest fish of 1.37kg. His Mum Fiona also took out the female section with a perch of 946g. I fished it with my partner Mez and she had a ball landing quite a few fish on Zman Slim Swimz cast into the deeper sections. Perch was the main species encountered but we also landed some solid bream on the same techniques. I then ventured out Sunday night with Mick Hunt on the hunt for perch casting hard bodies along rock walls. We landed 22 perch in a couple of hours all on Jackall Squirrels and Daiwa Spikes cast to the very edge of the rocks and a slow roll back out through the deep water. We had fish come up from 8m of water to smash our lures only 2m down so they were very aggressive. A fellow anglers was fishing the same place and we watched him land perch to 47cm also on hard bodies. If you’ve never caught or targeted perch pop into the shop and we can point you in the right direction having had over 30 years’ experience combined chasing them in our local rivers.
Freshwater: the upper Hopkins River is still producing some nice trout and the odd estuary perch for those going bush bashing on foot. Joey Bourke landed a nice perch at the bottom of the Hopkins falls on Wednesday night with his brother Allistar. I know of one angler who caught and released double figures of good browns from a local river casting hard bodies into the runs. As summer is just starting to fire up places like the Rocklands reservoir will start producing cricket score sessions on the redfin. Over the weekend there was a 2.5kg Australian Bass landed by an angler and should see more people head up there for some great fishing. Another big bass that was caught over the weekend was from Lake Bullen Merri. This fish was as fat as bass get which seems to be a common theme in this lake. If you want to target these hard fighting fish start off with a heavily weighted soft plastic such as a Zman grub on a 1/8-1/6oz jig head and slowly work it along the bottom once you sound up the solid arches on the bottom.
Unfortunately the report looks like another dicey one for offshore fishing with southerly winds and some decent swell. Don’t be put off by this as there are still plenty of land based and inland options to get your weekend fix. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.