What a week it's been with all the drama due to the coronavirus. This hasn't deterred anglers from getting onto some great fishing right through the coast.
Mixed reports have come in from offshore this past week, with a few anglers catching multiple tuna, gummy shark, snapper and other bottom species, while some anglers have been landing all the undesirables.
Daryl Richardson had a great day off Port Fairy with some nice snapper and nannygai while fishing on the bottom with pilchards and squid as bait. This time of year the numbers of snapper definitely increases, but the size seems to drop off until the middle of the year, when we usually see a run of bigger fish come through our waters on the way to Melbourne.
Phil Pirotta landed a solid gummy off Port Fairy last week in a pretty quiet session after work. He and his partner Amanda had fresh bait, and it still wasn't enough to tempt anything else. The whiting fishing in closer has been excellent lately, with some absolute belters being landed - one of those apparently being 4.5lb, which is an absolute monster in anyone's books.
One of our customers landed one over a kilo, which is usually the benchmark for whiting but is really dwarfed by the 4.5lb that was caught. Pippies has been the standout bait, fished on a paternoster rig with a bomb swivel sinker on the bottom or with a running sinker rig.
On the tuna front, they seem to have moved back towards Portland since we have had the easterly winds, which as Scott Gray mentioned he believes they blow around with the wind as the bait fish get pushed with it. Ben Woolcock and Todd Doran - fishing out of Todd's new Stabicraft 2050 - landed 10 tuna to 30kg on Black Magic Jetsetters and Rapala Xrap 15s trolled around the feeding fish. Scott also landed a great feed of gummy shark on Monday with two in two casts, completing his bag, and then it was home time so a quick session turned out really good.
With the barrel season just around the corner, now is the time to stock up with 35 per cent off all Pakula skirts in the bigger sizes from the Zipper right up to the Guru. There's some popular colours left that are sure to bring a few fish unstuck such as the Lumo, Evil Angel and Fallen Angel. There's some other great specials in store also.
The Hopkins River has again fished well this week for those fishing rock walls. The fish seem to have moved off the flats and up onto the harder grounds in search of crab, shell and coral.
Gavin Buchanan had a great session with Barry Thomas during the week, fishing live yabbies cast up into the rock walls, with them losing some cracking fish to the rocks and extracting some nice ones also.
No reports of mulloway caught this week, but Peter White mentioned there are loads of fish stacked up between the ski run and the bridge but were impossible to get interest from. Usually, when these fish are sitting in this area they wait until the tide is higher and push up into the shallows and begin searching for food. So it's worth hanging around that area and waiting for the tide to begin rising.
Other estuaries fishing well have been the Fitzroy and Yambuk Lake, with some really nice fish being taken from both on a mixture of baits. Yambuk has had a few mulloway in there recently too, which have caught some unsuspecting anglers targeting bream and making a real mess of their line. Fishing very lightly weighted Zman Grubz with hidden weights has been the choice of many in Yambuk, due to the high weed growth that is in their lately. If you're going to soak a bait then it's best that you have a few options as they have been switching off from one bait to another during the day. Clickers, shrimp, glassies and prawns have all been catching their fair share of fish, so any of these or multiple of these would be your best bet.
The freshwater scene is starting to fire up across the region, with some nice trout being caught in our rivers and streams along with a heap of redfin out of Lake Purrumbete.
Anglers have been getting stuck into the great fishing at Lake Purrumbete the past week, with cricket scores of redfin becoming the norm as these fish become schooled up and relatively easy to target on a range of different techniques.
Live minnow has been the pick for the bait fisherman fished down deep where they have been getting smashed nearly as soon as they come through the schools of reddies. Fishing soft plastics through the schools is another great option, as it gets them fired up with a bit of movement. If the fish are sitting deep and underneath your boat, then try the XP Baits redfin ice jigs which are designed to be fished vertically with their heavy weight and fold out wings that make them glide on the drop.
The boys from the Tackle Shack headed to the Otways on Saturday afternoon, where they landed some nice wild brown trout on a mixture of slow sinking stick minnows and shallow running hard bodies. Fishing crystal clear water sight casting these amazingly coloured fish is something pretty unique to our area.
Hopefully, the big river browns begin to fire with the cooler conditions only around the corner.
Until next week, tight lines, best of luck - and take care through these tough times.