G’day fishos and welcome to your new fishing report, bringing you what’s been keeping lines tight around the district.
While we have been blessed with some exceptional winter days, recent weather hasn’t been as kind and offshore fishing has been tough with less than ideal sea conditions.
However, there have plenty of great catches recently, both on the saltwater and freshwater scenes.
When conditions have allowed, offshore fisherman have headed out to target some winter shark.
Gummies, school shark and a couple makos were landed by those who braved the cold mornings and calmer days. Luke Smith, Tyson Osborne and his father Barry Osborne fished deep off Port Fairy and landed some excellent snapper, school shark and a small mako shark.
If you’re after something a bit different to do, grab some micro jigs, head out wider and start trying your luck at slow jigging. This is a really fun option for those that get bored fishing baits as you’re constantly doing something.
Snapper, nannygai, sea perch, kingfish and even tuna respond to a slowly pitched jig. If you’re unsure how to do it, come see us at the Tackle Shack.
Inshore, the shark have been turning it on, with some school shark up to 30kg being taken on baits such as fresh squid and salmon fillets. The snapper inshore seem to be on the smaller size but can be a lot of fun on the light gear.
When the small fish move in, try using a soft plastic on one of your hooks instead of bait. This will save you a lot of time re-baiting and might be the difference between getting a feed of fish and continually having small fish pick your baits off. When selecting plastics for this application, try getting ones with a grub tail or something which requires minimal action imparted by you. Even replacing a bait with the large cranka crab will get the bigger fish and stay in the strike zone for longer.
Rig-wise, the old faithful double paternoster with about an 8oz snapper lead on the bottom and twin Black Magic KLT 6/0s will do the trick nicely. If you are drifting, you may have to beef up your sinker depending on tide and current etc.
Surf fishing has been slow even when conditions were good. Salmon schools are few and far between and hard to find. There have been some nice catches of mulloway towards Narrawong and Yambuk from the beaches. Cut mullet and salmon, squid strips and the humble pilchard are worth a crack with. Fishing these baits, you’re always in with a chance of a school shark or gummy shark as well. Just make sure circle hooks and heavier leader are being used in case you come across a toothy critter.
The Hopkins River has been fishing really well throughout the ski run with some excellent bream to 1.6kg being landed.
Best results have come on metal vibes and heavily weighted plastics under the salt wedge. The added bonus of fishing this way is there is a chance of hooking into one of the many mulloway.
Stu Carruthers from Melbourne landed a great 7kg fish while fishing with Aaron Bickery and Shane Handley earlier this month. Jamie Dunn landed the trifecta one Saturday when he landed a bream, estuary perch and a mulloway all on Zman Midnight Oil Slim Swimz.
The mulloway are a real handful on the light gear, with Stu’s fish taking an hour and 45 to get in the net. If you’re wanting to have a crack at the bream and mulloway on bait, then live mullet for the mulloway and shrimp and cut mullet for the bream will be your best chance.
Morgan Flook landed a 1.6kg bream out of the Hopkins River a couple of weekends ago, Peter Lane got a 1.2kg bream on Sunday while fishing in Warrnambool District Angling Clubs comp, also in the Hopkins.
In the freshwater section of the Hopkins, Dylan Pace has been catching some cracker trout to 5lb on Daiwa Double clutches and Rapala F7s. Please note that bream are spawning or are full of spawn, so please limit what you take so we can look after the stocks for years to come.
The Merri River is still productive for brown trout, with many anglers catching fish around the 3lb mark and the odd one pushing 5 and 6lb. These fish have been taken below the Bromfield Street Weir down to Merrivale on early mornings and late arvos.
The Hopkins has been the best option from the Hopkins Falls to the junction section, having produced some nice fish while casting larger minnow styles hardbodies. Rapala F7s and F9s, Daiwa Double Clutches in 75mm, Bassday Moguls and Atomic Jerk Minnows have all been good.
You will have to beef up your leader this time of year to counter the flow in the water, so about a 8-12lb leader would be ideal for targeting these bigger fish.
Try targeting the slower moving water as the trout will most likely sit in there resting and waiting for food to be brought to them.
The crater lakes at Camperdown have been producing some nice fish, both off the bank and trolling out of the boats.
Redfin are pretty slow due to the colder water, but if you target them deep you should be able to find a feed.
Bobbers and redfin jigs are the standout lures.
Although, you can also jig a soft plastic down on their noses to get some red-hot action.
Young gun Xavier Ellul landed a huge redfin measuring 46.5cm on a Daiwa minnow in the Merri.
Woodford has continued to be good for trout to 4.5lb casting Rapala F7s.
Lake Purrumbete continues to be fishing well for trout, redfin and chinook salmon while casting and trolling hard body minnows.
Lake Bullen has been producing some nice chinook salmon around the Potters Point area and the ski beach by anglers fishing power bait and whitebait from the bank. The new boat ramp upgrades mean you will be able to launch and retrieve your boat in most conditions, with 8m more of ramp in the water.