And just like that Christmas has come and gone, so we can all start to focus on the great fishing that we have on offer.
We have seen some brilliant captures this past week, and a lot of people just starting out for the first time.
The amount of snapper around at the moment has been crazy with these feisty fish spread right throughout the south west.
I fished North Shore last Thursday afternoon with Michael Hunt for a heap of smaller pinkies on soft plastics between six and 12m of water. Our go-to couple of plastics were the new Berkley Gulp 5" Nemesis in Nuclear Chicken and a 3" Zman Slim Swim in the Bubble Gum colour all rigged on 1/4oz and 3/8oz.
I was also surprised by a good King George whiting measuring 41cm which took the 5" Gulp. Not something that happens every day, but certainly a welcome surprise and one a seal that chased it up nearly ruined.
Also, at North Shore there have been some makos caught in the shallow water following in the schools of salmon and tuna. One which was caught had three gummy sharks in its stomach, and a bigger shark estimated at approximately 200-300kg was sighted there too.
The tuna along North Shore and the coast are very finicky at the moment which is a common thing for the first few fish of the season. Typically feeding on smaller baits they are very frustrating as you will see the school and have fish nearly push your lure to the boat but won't eat it.
Dropping down in leader and lure size will give you the best chance of getting connected.
Closer to home there has still been some good snapper and shark fishing on the bottom off Warrnambool and Port Fairy when the weather permits. Using Black Magic Snapper snacks in the Super Lumo colour with a squid strip or half a pilchard is the go.
Berley is also a must this time of year if the fish are widespread and will also bring in other species that make good baits such as trevally and yakkas.
Kingfish have been the topic on everyone's mind lately, but the weather conditions haven't been favourable for sight casting. However as I write the conditions are perfect; not a cloud in the sky and calm winds which are a sight-casting angler's dream for kings.
Many anglers have been trolling sluggos out the back and catching some great fish. Usually this technique is used to find the fish and then the others on the boat begin to cast at them and keep them around the area.
The humble squid strip trolled on a double hook rig with one of these hooks snelled is also a great way of catching a few.
The Hopkins is beginning to fish like it should in summer with many fish starting to push up on walls and feed on the coral and crabs that line the bank.
Mick Hunt caught some perch on Cranka crabs along the ski run wall, but this area will be very hard to fish once the ski boats and jetskis begin to hit the water.
If there is a ski boat in the area then I would avoid fishing it as they have right of way during daylight hours.
By all means if there is no boats skiing then go your hardest, but just be mindful that they have right of way.
Further upstream some nice mulloway were caught by a travelling angler staying at the Jubilee Park caravan park fishing with Ecogear sx40s out of his kayak.
Not often thought of as a mulloway lure, it's not the first time this particular angler has caught one this trip. It's actually his third so far on the same lure.
I have always caught more mulloway this time of year as bi-catch while chasing bream, especially on the flats where the theory is that they come up and sunbake in the warmer water during hotter times of the day, and then push out to the deeper sections during low light.
During the night if you're targeting these iconic fish then a live mullet or a medium size mullet fillet will be the pick and will also see some great perch caught on the same baits at this time of year.
The Glenelg has produced some school size mulloway this past week for anglers such as Dudley Wright who sets aside about a week every year to target these fish.
In the past four days he has caught eight or so fish up to 70cm and dropping some bigger fish at the boat also. Using his favourite bait in squid, he mentioned that they were being pretty finicky which meant he had to fish unweighted for them to take the bait properly.
Same as the Hopkins, Glenelg bream have moved up onto the rock walls and are readily taking Cranka crabs and lightly weighted soft plastics cast as close as you dare to the rocks.
Perch on the other hand have been targeted up river from Sapling Creek to Dartmoor. Some would say that's a big area to track them down, but there are that many in the river you'll track them down in no time.
Lake Purrumbete has been a hot spot this past few days with some absolutely cracking cheetah trout caught, including one 6lb fish by Charlie Farrugia which is the biggest that we have heard of since their stocking began a couple years ago.
Charlie wasn't done there though as he caught a 7lb chinook salmon also. Both these fish were caught down rigging minnows deep through the schools of bait.
The redfin have been prolific this past week and are taking nearly everything from worms and minnows to soft plastics fished deep in the schools.
Using your fish finder to track the schools down is the only way to do it, along with working the edge of the weed beds which are fairly easy to spot this time of year.
Bent minnows cast tight into the weed is a great way to entice the big brown trout and cheetah trout that this place is known for.
It's been a fantastic year of fishing and we would like to thank all our customers for sending in their reports over the year and hope next year is better with more freedoms and captures too.
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