It's been a wet and wild week along the south west of Victoria but many anglers have taken the small opportunities when they could.
The rivers are fishing really well for numerous species and offshore the tuna continue to amaze people.
The Hopkins River is alive and well with estuary perch, with lots of fish moving down the bottom sections of the system for their annual spawn.
The Warrnambool and District Angling Club held its final competition for the season on Sunday and everyone who fished lures noticed the amount of perch around.
In our boat, between the three of us, we would have caught in excess of 40 fish on soft plastics, fished in the 2-3.5m water depth.
These perch were super aggressive and would often come back two or three times before committing to the lure.
Michael Hunt landed the biggest perch for the day, with a 970g fish coming from the Hen and Chickens Reef downstream from Jubilee Park.
The heaviest bream for the comp was taken out by Greame Whittaker with a fish of 1.075kg and was also part of Greame's winning bag of five bream for 3.897kg.
In the junior section, it was young Flynn Colins who came up trumps with a bream of 1.002kg caught under the bridge taking shelter from the rain.
All of the better bream came from around the Deakin area and were caught on shrimp and cut baits.
Over at the Glenelg River, the Mulloway have been excellent this past couple weeks but getting the live mullet is proving difficult.
Fish to 18lb have been reported in the Taylor's Straight area and are being caught on a mixture of live and dead baits trolled.
Local anglers are turning to dead baits and trolling those in the hope of getting the attention of these big river beasts.
Yakka's and even Pilchards are being used in the desperate times when the live mullet aren't available.
When rigging these baits, you must make sure that the bait isn't twisted or kinked at all because that will just make it spin and no mulloway will look at that, let alone eat it.
There are some whispers of mulloway also in Yambuk Lake after the big tides have forced some nice clean water into the system.
These fish have been causing havoc on unsuspecting anglers targeting the bream in there. These fish aren't a common sight in this system, but when they do make their way into it, they are usually quite big.
The Merri River is fishing exceptionally well for trout in the past week, with anglers catching up to 10 fish in a single session. Most of these fish are between a pound and three pound but there has been some big fish following anglers lures up to the boat.
The old saying if I had another couple of metres left in my retrieve I would've caught it has definitely been thrown around lately.
Hard body lures are the go-to recently, along with the old faithful Tassie devils in the Frog pattern. If you're targeting the deeper pools, then a soft plastic is definitely worth a cast or two. We have just received a good range of Keitech plastics in a variety of sizes and colours that are proven fish catchers in the south west.
The upper Merri has been producing some nice fish for those looking to sight cast to cruising fish.
Adam Fraser fished Woodford on Monday for a couple of trout, fishing in the shallow runs behind the school. Although this area gets peppered every year, it still produces some nice fish.
I don't know of a year when there was so many big tuna caught over this long.
It feels like they have been lingering around for ages and don't show any signs of stopping.
Although we as anglers don't like the rough weather the tuna of all sizes absolutely love it and it's definitely fired them up.
These big, powerful fish are widespread from Port Fairy to Port MacDonnell and everywhere in between.
With the rougher conditions, anglers have turned to skirts to get that hook up due to their ability to track straight even in the snottiest of seas. The downside of a diver is that when the boat lunges with a wave and makes the lure swim faster than it should and eventually it will "blow out", which means it will lose grip of the water and spin to the surface.
Typically, if the ocean is a bit cranky and there is a bit of swell, then anglers tend to go for either a big pusher or a bullet style skirt that will have a real erratic action. Bonze Exocets and Billmark Ernie's have all been working well and have done in previous years also.
If chasing tuna isn't your cup of tea then bottom bashing for a gummy or school shark is definitely what you should be doing.
Sandy and a few of his mates fished off Warrnambool on Wednesday for five shark, which were mostly caught off fresh couta that was caught out there.
Although the barracouta wreck your gear, they make an excellent bait for all manner of species, including big snapper. Fishing a wire bite trace is definitely something I would recommend this time of year due to the school shark numbers at present.
If you're not confident in making your own traces, then we have done all the hard work for you with our school shark rigs. Made with 150lb mono as the main line and 125lb clear coated wire with a pair of 8/0 KLT Black Magic hooks they are a great rig.
The weather is turning it on this weekend, with minimal swell and wind forecast, so the offshore brigade will be out in force completely. If you happen to catch a fish you would like shared then send it into firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be more than happy to share it. Until next week, tight lines and best of luck.
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