Well, we are now officially in summer and doesn't it sound great!
Looking outside at the time of writing this, you wouldn't think we were in summer but here's hoping that it clears up.
Estuaries are fishing well along with some brilliant snapper offshore.
There has been some quality snapper landed this past couple of weeks off Warrnambool and Port Fairy, giving anglers plenty of options. Andrew Meade has been getting some great fish, including a bag of three rippers between 65 and 75cm off Warrnambool. A great effort in a sub 4m tinnie on minimal experience offshore. Just be mindful that if you haven't done it before out of a little boat, you need to be certain of the conditions and have the appropriate safety equipment. Andrew also had a great day again but this time landing a great gummy shark around the 15kg mark, so his family will be eating well this Christmas for sure.
Chris and Neil Clarke have also been having a great time fishing together off Port Fairy, landing some good snapper up to 71cm.
This time of year sees some big fish mixed in with what we call Pinkies, which are juvenile snapper, and are great fun for all and provides the great unknown and expectation.
These fish can be caught between the shore and 50m of water, which gives everyone an opportunity to get stuck into them. If you're looking for a starting spot off Warrnambool, try around the Hopkins River mouth in 35-40m of water and try a range of squid, pilchards and even soft plastics. Straight out from the water tower west of Port Fairy is always a great place to start by drifting with baits and soft plastics.
When choosing a soft plastic to use on these brilliant fish, you need to account for a couple of things. I have a couple of stand out colours that I've been using for a few years with good success. The Berkley Gulp range of plastics, especially the 4" Turtle Back worms and 4" Nemesis in both Nuclear Chicken and Pumpkinseed colours, are always going to be a great starting spot. In the Zman range, it's the 3.75" Streakz in Red Bone colour that I find myself catching fish on. When trying to decide which jig head to use; then it's quite simple, you're trying to get the plastic to the bottom with as little weight as you can. Some days, for instance, in 40m of water, you might need a 3/8oz to allow for the current etc, while other days, you can get away with a 1/6oz and simply count it down with minimal tide.
If you've never tried using soft plastics on snapper, then it will only take one good session before you're hooked for good.
Salty Dog Charters, Port Fairy, have again been getting their customers onto some ripping shark fishing with both school and gummy shark hitting the deck.
The Hopkins River has seen super low tides, with the mudflat in front of Lyndoch and Proudfoots showing most days now, so extreme caution is needed if you're unsure of the bottom structure.
There are a few danger areas that you need to be mindful of. The first is the Bay of Biscay, just upstream from Deakin University, which has claimed a lot of props and gearboxes in the years. A very big piece of sharp reef in the middle of the river, with pinnacles right throughout, is a place to be super careful of. The safest route to avoid this is to navigate through the right-hand side, heading upstream, staying about 15m off the rock wall. The hen and chickens reef is another area to take care through, which like the Biscay, is full of pinnacles and unexpected reef. The left-hand side is the deeper section of this part of the river and will give you a safe passage through. The last and the most dangerous part is the pass at Jubilee Park. My guide to whether or not I can get through is the middle set of boulders where the red buoys are situated. If there are rocks showing, then I don't even chance it. The right-hand side of this section is the deepest, which you should stick roughly 5-10m off that bank but, to be honest, if you haven't gone through here before then I would wait and see where other people navigate through.
There has been some great fish caught recently, including some decent perch and more mulloway.
The bream surely have finished spawning and should be ready to eat most things that get put in front of them.
This is my favourite time of year to fish, as the perch and bream move up onto the edges and start feeding on surface lures and crabs. The slightest flash of a bream feeding is all you'll need to have a crap day turn into a great one!
The Curdies River is another river that has been fishing well right throughout the system for both perch and bream. Using live shrimp and grey back minnow is always the best option in the Curdies, so putting the time in before you fish will reap rewards.
Fishing light sinkers cast along the edge of the reeds that line the banks is the spot to be.
Lake Purrumbete is again the go-to spot for trout and redfin. Daniel Kent and son Jarvis landed some belter trout and salmon, casting hard bodies into the weed beds. Dan landed a cracker, roughly 8lb.
The redfin have been prolific lately and are being targeted on a wide range of techniques, including live minnow, soft plastics and small jigs, fished along the deeper weed sections.
Coming into summer proper now, I would expect the reddies to fire up big time.
A bit on the ocean this weekend contributed by south westerly winds will see most anglers stuck on land dreaming of a flat day coming up.
The rivers and lakes will definitely be a place to be and will fish well again.
Until next week tight lines and best of luck.
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