If you didn’t know it was winter last week you definitely do now after the blustery winds. Unfortunately this impacted fishing opportunities dramatically so reports have been light on especially from the offshore fisherman and women. The staple winter species have begun to fish really well so there is a bit of fun to be had during the cold times.

 

Freshwater: Like every year there are anglers who live for this time to chase our world class trophy fishery that we have down here in the south west. Even with the clear water in both the Hopkins and Merri rivers the fish have been taking lures and soft plastics readily. This is a great sign for the months ahead when the water begins to dirty up and they start flowing. The Bromfield street weir has been the most targeted area to fish due to its close proximity to town but the duck weed has started to become a problem. Fish around the edges of these patches of weed as it provides great cover for them especially in the middle of the day. This can be quite annoying to do as you need to continually take weed off the hook/s but the reward is there for your effort. There have been some very big fish seen over the last week by anglers trolling the river which is a great sign that they are becoming more active in the cooler conditions. One of these fish was estimated at 8lb+ which is a big trout in anyone’s language. The fish that are being caught have been landed on shallow hardbodies or tassie devils trolled behind the boat with a simple flat line technique. Finding a defined weed edge is the key to this so keeping your eyes peeled for these will put you in good stead of becoming connected to a trophy fish. In other freshwater reports Lake Bullen Merri has again produced a few chinook salmon for guys down rigging lures and for those fishing white bait and pilchards from the shore. The rainbow trout that have been caught have been very well conditioned and are pushing 2kg. Hopefully we see fish in the same class as the Lake Bolac fish a few years ago which were around the 8-10lb mark. Across the other side of town the excitement has been all about the big brown trout that are becoming a regular capture now. These fish are hungry and working the edges of the weed line early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Many are turning to bent minnows for this as they are a topwater lure that allows you to hover the lure over the weed and entice a bite from a cruising fish. There has been a lot of small chinook salmon caught also with most of them pushing 500g to a kilogram. With these reports also comes the news of some cheetah trout and tiger trout are now being caught. These great looking fish are a great initiative from the Victorian Fisheries Authority and will add another dimension of this already iconic waterway.

 

Saltwater: The saltwater scene has been pretty hard work this past week due to poor conditions making it difficult for trailer boats to get into the action. T.J Symons skippered his mate Sam Pickford onto the first barrel out of T.J’s new Stabicraft 1850 package which took a JB Dingo skirt trolled around a big school of bait which had multiple big fish working it. After a 10 minute fight the fish was in the boat which in years gone by was unheard of but with the technology of stronger and thinner lines and more powerful gearing in reels it’s becoming normal to knock one of these over in only a few minutes. The trick to it is to really get up them and not let them get the upper hand on you which will hurt you but unless you want to be hurting hours into the fight it’s the only way to do it. You will lose more fish then you land which can sometimes become frustrating but it’s the way to do it. A good quality harness and gimbal are essential to make sure you have adequate support for your lower back and your centre of gravity is a lot lower which helps if you do get into a long battle with a stubborn fish. Another really popular technique lately has been using pilchards and simply finding a bait school and sending down unweighted pilchards into the schools. This is a really fun way of fishing cause you feel the fish take the bait instead of relying on the sound of the drag once the fish is hooked itself. Fishing circle hooks such as the Black Magic KLT 8/0 are perfect for this style as they are light gauge but strong as. If you’re doing this style please be mindful of others that will be trolling around you as this can easily start an argument if somebody does the wrong thing.

 

Estuaries: The Glenelg River is starting to fire for good size mulloway with a few landed over the last couple weeks. Shane Quinlan caught some nice fish to 18lb on cut baits in a good session that seen him land multiple fish. The putter patrol which is the old fibreglass and wooden boats with inboard engines in them have been getting some great fish trolling live mullet and hard bodied lures along Taylor’s Straight area right up through the SA border. The bream and Ep’s have also been fishing well for those fishing up around the caves or down the bottom on the incoming tide. Shallow hardbodies down the bottom and lightly weighted plastics have been the standout techniques. If you’re planning to fish up higher then Cranka Crabs cast tight to the structure has been producing some nice bream for anglers such as Kobi Rothall who had a great session while fishing with Ben Jeffreys. So it goes without saying that if you are wanting to soak a bait then live crabs are your best chance at landing some quality fish out of the rock walls. The Curdies River has again fished extremely well this week both up from the Boggy Creek boat ramp and below into the lake itself. Up in the rivers metal Vibe lures are accounting for cricket scores of bream and the odd EP along with soft plastics rigged on 1/12oz jig heads bounced along the bottom. The boggy creek ramp can be tricky if you’re launching by yourself due to the thick mud so take some care when launching there and if you see someone who is there on their own offer them some help.

 

With some decent northerlies coming up later in the week the sea looks to be calming off from 4.5m swell back to 2.5m which is a good sign for those wanting to head offshore and get a feed. Until next week tight lines and best of luck.

 

Corey McLaren