It’s been a topsy turvy week of conditions, and unfortunately the forecast is for more of the same. But what has this done to the fishing results? The answer is nothing; as there has been some cracking fish caught all over the South West in the past week, especially on the snapper front.

Saltwater: as previously mentioned the snapper fishing has been fantastic, off Warrnambool, Portland and Port Fairy with the annual influx of pinkies and the odd bigger fish mixed in for good measure. Chris Fowler fished North Shore last week for a bag of small snapper in 12m of water. Chris was using a mixture of soft plastics, pilchards and squid. This time of year the North Shore at Portland is alive and well, and often has everything from King George Whiting right up to tuna swimming around the area. Typically the early season snapper are quite small, but as the water begins to warm up the bigger models move in close. The Lee Breakwater is producing some great sharks and bigger snapper at the moment for anglers fishing in comfort from their own car. This is a pretty unique way of fishing for us down here, which has been producing quality fish for as long as I can remember. The bigger snapper seem to be caught just after a big Easterly wind, due to the waves and wash stirring up the edge of the wall, causing food to become dislodged from the rocks. Interestingly, it’s a lot harder to get one of these fish on a boat even if you’re anchored close to the wall itself. Closer to home, the snapper and sharks have also been fishing quite well with snapper to 80cm caught on the Black Magic Snapper Snatchers and Snapper Snacks. One customer ended up catching 11 gummy sharks off the one mark, and even though the size wasn’t great it still shows that they are around in numbers. Jimmy Lombardo landed his new PB snapper fishing off Warrnambool with Xavier Ellul and a couple of other mates. Jimmy’s snapper ended up measuring 80cm and took a pilchard. The amount of bait offshore at the moment is amazing, meaning that once the school tuna find it, they should hopefully stick around for a long time.  There were certainly a few tuna present at Port Fairy a couple of weeks ago,  but since then they’ve vanished. Reports of tuna are coming in from the Lawrence Rocks area at Portland, so we can only hope they’ll continue traveling east.

Estuaries: The crew from Richardson Marine and the Tackle Shack ventured down to the Curdies River on Saturday for our annual Christmas fishing competition. Bream to 40cm were caught by those using soft plastics, as well as a good number on worms. Downstream from the lodge there is some nasty blue green algae just beginning to bloom, so possibly take care if you’re looking to take a feed for yourself. We can only hope that the river gets a good flush soon, before the combination of warm weather and blue-green algae begins to cause fish kills. The Hopkins River has again fished well this past week for bream and perch on a range of baits. Colin Hurford and Jamie Twaddle fished last week for a nice feed of bream on both garden worms, and cut baits such as mullet and salmon. Kinnears was the most productive area, and is also where a big school of mulloway was sounded up recently, however they continue to be a challenge to get a bite from. With the warm weather showing glimpses in recent weeks, the bream are beginning to look at eating hard baits such as crab and coral. Turning your attention to fishing structure such as submerged reef and the many rock walls that line sections of the bank will give you the rewards. If you are flipping rocks to find your bait for the day, keep in mind that the possession limit per person is only 1 litre or a combined total of 30 whole or parts of crab from one or more species. The other thing to keep in mind is to flip back the rock that you move, as for one you’re sure to stand in that hole and wreck your ankle, and also because it could be the home of a crab or some other creature too.

Freshwater: Skeeta Andrews has been catching some nice perch, and even a bass out of the same section of water. Casting hard bodies has been the preferred option for Skeeta and others chasing them, but it won’t be long until they start to take the surface lures again.  Lachlan Read caught a good trout while fishing with his Dad Tony out of Brucknell Creek on Tuesday. In only skinny water it would have been a real heart in the mouth fight for both of them. Summer isn’t usually regarded as a great time to target trout in the southwest, but this fish still shows there are some decent ones to target.

This weekend is another that could go either way, but the looks of it now seems unlikely that we will get a chance to head offshore again with 30km/h winds expected and some swell up around 2.5m as well. Sunday will be the day if anything changes as it blows from the North East early and changes around lunch time. If you do head out this weekend and you want to share your catch then email it to fishing@richardsonmarine.com.au to go in the running for the Daiwa Saltist MQ ‘Golden Fish Award’  prize drawn at the end of this year. Until next week tight lines and best of luck!