December is the start of the fishing season around the south-west, when the water warms, the bait congregates and the predators come out of deep water and start moving shallower.
Here’s some ideas and techniques so you can take full advantage of the epic fishing conditions that summer offers.
Kid-friendly fishing spots
If you have the rug rats in tow over summer, there’s a heap of places you can take them and still enjoy some great fishing adventures.
One of the most popular spots would have to be the Glenelg River near the small town of Nelson, on the border of Victoria and South Australia.
Only a two-hour drive from Warrnambool, it can be done in a day trip and offers a great diversity of species and fishing techniques.
The jetties around the town of Nelson and places like the Isle of Bags, Donovans and Dry Creek are perfect for kids as the fish can be seen taking baits at your feet along the countless pylons and jetties that line the shore.
If you have a boat and want to take that over, then you have more than 60km of river to work your way through.
Summer fishing is great for surface fishing for estuary perch and fishing heavy structure for the angry bream that call this huge system home.
Over summer, there’s an abundance of small mulloway that come into the system.
They follow the schools of mullet, which can become a real highlight of an angler's fishing career, let alone a kid catching their first one.
I will never forget the buzz I got from catching my first mulloway.
I think I woke up most of Nelson when it hit the net.
The best baits for targeting bream in the summer on the Glenelg River are crabs, shrimp, prawns and pod worms.
If you are chasing the mulloway, then squid, live mullet and cut baits such as salmon and mullet will put you in the right direction.
Kingfish are definitely a summer species around our coast and offer a great challenge to even the most experienced of anglers with their wittiness, speed and pack-hunting mentality.
These attributes make them one of the most sort-after species in our waters.
A wide range of techniques can be used to target them but the most common is casting sluggos or stickbaits at them on the surface when they’re feeding off the top of sunning themselves.
The Tackle Shop has the widest range of stick baits in the south-west.
We also sell both the 9” and 12” sluggos, perfect for the rightfully named kingfish.
If you are after some great advice on targeting these epic fish, stop in and have a chat to Dylan who has had years of experience targeting them and can put you in the right direction.
Live baits are also a great way of enticing a strike with baits such as live salmon, trevally and slimy mackerel all worth a crack with if you can get them.
Snapper are another species that loves the warm water that summer brings, as they move from deep water into shallow ground.
Bait fishing is by far the most popular method for targeting them.
And it certainly can result in some red-hot action, with double headers a very realistic chance.
Double paternoster rigs are the best option as the smaller fish can pick off your bait in a flash, which will result in you winding up your rigs all day to re-bait.
A tough bait such as squid on one hook should help counteract this problem and a pilchard or some couta fillets as the other bait will often be enough to get your rod bent.
Circle hooks in the range from 3/0-6/0 will be adequate for our fish around here.
The Hopkins River really comes alive over summer, with fish finishing up their spawning and beginning to feed again.
Shallow water is the go when they get up on the mud and sand flats to feed on the shells and worms that call them home.
When searching for feeding fish, be sure to look out for some puffs of sand or mud.
This usually means there is a feeding bream sitting in that hole.
Cast your bait either behind or in front of that cloud and hang on.
If you’re looking to cast some lures, then plastics such as Eco gear Grass Minnows and Zman Slim Swimz, in the pink colour, fished unweighted can be some of the best estuary fishing you’ll have.
Rock walls and timber structure are the best to look out for as the fish will be looking to feed on the barnacles and crabs.
Speaking of crabs, the cranka crabs come into their own when fished through summer which sometimes out fish the live crab options.
Hope this helps you get stuck into some great fishing over the coming summer holidays.
Until next week, tight lines and best of luck.
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