With the off weather this past weekend, and lack of chances for everyone to get out, I thought I would turn your attention to what will be coming on the bite as the water cools down and we start to see some cold water species turn up.
The saltwater anglers begin to turn their attention back to the huge tuna that frequent our coastline each year. If the past couple of years is anything to go by, we should see these fish widespread from as far east as Melbourne all the way through to the stronghold of giants in Portland and Port MacDonnell.
So, what is it that makes tuna fisherman and women lose their minds when there is even a whisper of big fish around?
The moment when you finally stumble across a proper work up of bait and fish absolutely destroying them is something that I think brings anglers back for more each and every year. Not only that but when the reel finally starts to get line ripped off it at 100mph, the rush that anglers get is what makes these fish right up on anglers' list over the colder months.
To target these monsters of the blue, you're going to need some serious pieces of equipment, which stretch from the line, rods, reels and lures. In the rods department, most anglers are running a 24kg -37kg stand up rod, with at least a roller tip on it - if not a full roller set up. The idea of a roller tip is that over long periods of a fight, the line won't build up as much friction as it's running over a moving part, as opposed to a standard tip that heats the line up over time.
Game reels are certainly something that need to be used if you're going to be serious about landing one. A 50-80 size game reels such as the Penn International 50/70 or a Shimano Tyrnos 50 is a great couple of options. Matching these reels to either straight 24 or 37kg mono is the traditional way of setting them up, but a lot of anglers are turning to braid for the lack of drag in the water and the line capacity you can get on a reel. The other part of a braid backed reel is having a top shot of 100-150m of the required mono on top, which gives you that little bit of stretch. Lures will range from huge big pushers, like the Bonze D Shackle and JB Chopper range, right down to bullet-shaped heads that track well in the rough water.
The old saying of chopping and changing until you find one they want to eat is certainly relevant in this day and age. Sure, there are proven performers that keep producing fish, but keep your options open.
Another species that the offshore crew hang out for is the annual run of big gummy and school shark. Both are again widespread up and down the coast. The goal is a 30kg shark for most of them, and through this time of year, it's certainly possible. Depths from 30-100m this time of year hold great numbers of shark and can fill your freezer up in no time. Squid, yakkas, salmon and tuna are definitely the go-to baits. We typically see the smaller snapper head out and this allows anglers to properly target the shark without being hassled by pinkies.
The colder months is when it all starts to fire up down in south west Victoria, especially for places such as the Glenelg River.
Massive schools of Mulloway make their annual pilgrimage into the entrance at Nelson and begin to head upstream in search of mullet, salmon and eels. The size of fish during this time of year is exceptional, with fish ranging from undersize all the way up to 50lb plus being caught the past couple of years.
Hot spots for these big silver slabs are Popes Nose, Flat rock, Isle of bags, Taylor's Straight, Donovan's, Dry Creek and the Princess Margaret Rose Caves.
Typically, the diehards will use mullet trolled behind a putt putt boat or trolling hard bodies that replicate these bait fish. Fishing with bigger soft plastics in the deeper edges and drop offs will also get you in the right area to get connected to a rampaging mulloway. It's not only the mulloway that fire up this time of year, but also the bream and perch, which will begin to ball up in depths from 3-5m of water and can be very easy to land on lures such as black vibes and deep diving hard bodies. Baits such as live shrimp and whitebait are also a great way to get stuck into these fired up fish.
All eyes turn to Lake Purrumbete during the colder months for one thing and one thing only - trophy trout and salmon fishing. Fish of 10lb are a real possibility for this lake when the water cools down and the many, many bait fish begin to move around the lake. Anglers are typically trolling hardbodies on downriggers this time of year, but they can also be targeted on surface lures and shallow running hard bodies on the cast. The thick weed edges are the place to look for a trophy fish on the cast but getting them out on light line is another question, as the weed can sometimes break the leader or braid knot.
The Hopkins and Merri Rivers are also a great option this time of year for those casting hard bodies and soft plastics. Some great trout are caught each year by doing this and simply casting into the flowing water, with bigger lures such as the Daiwa Presso 95s. Doing the miles on foot this time of year is the way to cover ground and find the feeding fish, so chuck the gumboots or waders on and get trekking.
There you go, don't pack those rods and reels away just yet, as there is certainly going to be some great fishing coming up in the next few weeks that I'm sure you don't want to miss out on.
Until next week, tight lines and best of luck.
The Warrnambool and District Angling Club's annual Easter Fishing Classic is all go for the Easter weekend. Some brilliant prizes across all three categories in the open section, ladies and juniors. Adult entry will be $20 and juniors under 16 are $5. For more information, you can send a message to the Facebook page and click on the events page.
All rivers between the Curdies and Fitzroy will be open to fishing between 10am on the Saturday and 12pm on Easter Sunday.
Get the kids keen and spend the weekend on the water!
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