The new year has begun with a bang for all South West anglers with a wide variety of captures coming in this week, which bodes well for the rest of the summer.
Everything from big trout in the rivers to kingfish and tuna offshore has been found on the end of a line, so let’s have a look at what was keeping anglers’ rods bent the past week.
The offshore fishing lately has been great for the variety that can be targeted right along our coastline.
Kingfish have taken most people’s attention the past couple of weeks and they’re starting to fire up for those willing to put the hours into targeting these speedsters.
Mick Moore from Pure Fishing had a great couple of days off Port Fairy while trolling live baits on downriggers around the many bombies.
Landing kings to 13kg now takes the lead in the Shipwreck Coast Fishing Classic for the heaviest scale fish and will be hard to beat.
There are plenty of rat kings (small fish) at Portland which are eating a wide variety of lures from skirts, sluggos, stick baits and poppers.
If you are chasing them on bait then squid strips and garfish trolled behind the boat are your best options.
Over the past week there have been a lot of mako sharks caught at the shelf by anglers targeting these on top.
A steady berley stream and a lot of patience is in order to hook and land one of these acrobatic magic looking sharks.
Grant Bellman fishing with Sam Powell and Gary Kermond landed a great 80kg mako off Port Fairy in 100m of water on Sunday which was one of five weighed that night in the Shipwreck Coast comp.
Reports of one boat that landed six makos in one session off Port Fairy have come in which just shows how many of these great tasting sharks are actually around.
Whole squid baits and tuna fillets have been the pick of baits being floated back in the berley trail under a balloon.
Just be careful if you are inexperienced with these angry critters when they come boatside or inside the boat, as they can cause some serious injuries to unsuspecting fisherman.
Try and kill the shark before it comes onboard and as soon as you do, wrap the shark’s jaws in gaff tape to avoid the risk of it having one last go.
Gummy shark and school shark have been going well with anglers finding good-sized sharks in both shallow ground and deeper water.
Drifting baits is again the standout technique for anglers as it covers a wide area rather than berleying in one spot.
Tough baits such as salmon fillets, squid and tuna have been some of the standout baits of late.
Big circle hooks in the 7/0-8/0 range are essential to ensure that you don’t get bitten off by the toothy critters.
Also, 60-80lb leaders are required due to the raspy skin of these two shark species which will wear through lighter leaders if they roll up the line during the fight.
The school-sized tuna are slowly making their way down to Port Fairy and Warrnambool with reports coming in of schools of fish coming closer and closer daily, so we should see another fantastic season for the locals and anglers abroad.
Typically, earlier in the season they tend to eat slightly larger lures and skirts due to the endless amounts of bait like slimy mackrell and pilchards they gorge themselves on.
The largest tuna weighed in the Shipwreck Coast classic so far was from Niki Oosthuizen at just over 20kg, gilled and gutted, so a great effort, but there are bigger fish out there, the issue is getting them to eat consistently.
Skirts such as Pakula Uzis and Micro Uzis will sort out the fussy fish and the ones that just want to eat can be caught on skirts up to the 6” size.
A shotgun lure out the back of the boat, which is a lure that you place in your spread way out the back for the spooky fish, will be a great option, and most of the time if they are being finicky, this lure will be the one that gets eaten a majority of the time.
Mulloway, mulloway mulloway.
That’s what’s been happening in the Hopkins River of late.
Numerous mulloway have been hooked and landed by some anglers with a couple pushing the metre mark which is a great fish by any means.
Both lures and bait have been working well, but bait definitely has the upper hand with the majority of fish being landed on squid and live mullets fished on the bottom.
Patience is definitely the key when targeting these very elusive fish where you can sit for hours in one spot and just when you think it’s not going to happen, zzzzzzzzz off goes the reel and you’re on, so just settle and relax.
Octopus hooks in the 5/0 size range are definitely my preferred hook size with a size 1-2 ball sinker as a running rig.
A reminder that the Shipwreck Coast Fishing Classic presentation day will be held on January 13 starting at 11am sharp, where one lucky entrant will tow away a brand new boat motor trailer package. Hope to see you all there.
Until next week tight lines and best of luck