This past weekend has seen a mixture of reports but it was the offshore fishing that really held strong.
The shark fishing is still excellent with some brilliant captures being reported.
As I mentioned in the intro the gummy and school shark fishing has been nothing short of exceptional with no end in sight.
Sam Powell had a day to remember fishing solo out of Warrnambool landing 11 gummy sharks and dropping three school sharks.
Talking to Sam he was fairly stuffed by the time he got home with double hook ups and everything.
This isn't an uncommon occurrence for this time of year when targeting shark and is certainly something you can do too.
Berleying the bottom was the key for Sam as it led the shark straight to his waiting baits on the bottom.
We hear a lot of people coming into the shop saying they only berley the top of the water column but this is near useless as your baits are on the bottom and a long way from your berley.
Unfortunately you do lose the occasional one due to the seven gill population but it certainly works a hell of a lot better than from the top.
The thing with berleying the top is that you will bring in the undesirables such as couta and other toothy predators that pinch your baits and berley before they get to the sweet spot on the bottom.
Speaking of bottom fish, snapper are beginning to show up in the same areas of the shark with some nice 2-3kg models already being caught.
Fishing Black Magic Snapper Snacks in super lumo with a 5/0 hook is the go to for most snapper anglers down here now.
The hooks are super sharp and have a rust resistant coating on them.
Just remember to not strike and let the hook work its way into the corner of the jaw in the rod holder when catching snapper.
It's as simple as leaning back into the rod and applying some force to make sure the hook has worked its way into the corner of the jaw.
In other saltwater news the salmon have finally turned it on with huge schools being targeted at Port Fairy on both fly and spin cast tackle.
Tim Vincent landed some small fish but mentioned that the bigger models were out that bit too far to cast too.
I'm sure they will be back in closer by now due to the way they feed in packs.
Using metal lures in a 40-60g size range will give you the best casting range to be able to cover more ground quickly.
I haven't heard too much on the estuary side of things this week so I thought I would just give you a rundown on how I go about winter time in the Hopkins and other estuaries.
Winter estuary fishing
First thing I do is use my fish finder to first of all find the schools of fish that will ball up this time of year in preparation for their spawning run.
Once I have found these fish and the depth they are holding in then I would find the closest bank and start working on that.
What I find is that the fish on the edge of the bank or in the shallow water are there for one reason and that is to feed so they are typically easier to catch than the deeper fish.
If this doesn't work then I will move out to the previously found schools and work those with heavier weighted soft plastics and metal blades.
My favourite blade for this time of year is the same as the Ecogear VX35 in colour 445.
This lure is a black blade with an orange belly and some small faint orange dots on the side
I don't know if the fish think they are shells or crabs but they certainly love them.
When working these lures I don't like to do long draws as my theory is keep it in their face for longer so a short hop is all I do.
Fishing with a softer rod allows me to lift into a lot of fish without pulling the hooks out of them.
Whilst this technique was mainly started for winter bream they certainly work deadly on the local EP population.
Trout are in full swing down in the South West with some great captures already being caught this season.
The lakes of Bullen Merri and Purrumbete have been the hot spot with both lakes producing some incredible fishing opportunities recently.
Both land based and boating options are available at Bullen Merri but the makeshift ramp isn't one I would tackle with any boat bigger than 4.5m.
Walking the edges with both fly and hard bodies has been producing some excellent tiger trout to 6lb and some nice rainbows also.
The Chinook salmon have been getting caught on downriggers and pilchard cubes fished deeper from the boats.
Max Fahey caught a nice tiger while casting lures from the bank saying that "it's going off".
Lots of redfin are still being caught by anglers fishing live minnows and lures and soft plastics.
Our local rivers are fishing well for browns also and will only get better once the water really starts to become dirty.
This weekend the weather is looking ok for some offshore fishing with northerly winds forecast for Sunday morning so we should see some more reports come through.
Here's hoping we have a bumper weekend and week.
Until next week, tight lines and best of luck.
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