The effects of a wet southwest winter are still continuing to influence angling options, even as we head into the supposedly warmer part of the year.
The region received yet another good soaking and wind lashing on Warrnambool show / Melbourne cup weekend, which is often looked upon as the start of putting in serious effort on some of the summer fishing options. Anglers have been making do with winter style options and cold water techniques recently, with the hope that by the time December rolls around we get some flats seas, warmer water and clearer rivers.
The Hopkins has begun to fish better as the water temperature has increased although the river remains quite dirty. Both bream and estuary perch, were schooled up in the deeper, upstream sections of the river so hopefully there is some good spawning taking place. Bait anglers are still having the most success in the dirty water at present although lures are finally starting to produce some fish.
Trolling deep diving hardbodied lures such as a Daiwa Double Clutch or a Zipbait Rigge 56 deep behind a downrigger has been able to tempt some of the fish holding in the 6-8m mark. This depth is usually well out of the range of a normal bream-style hardbodied lure. The Curdies River, after clearing slightly and producing some great bream luring, quickly dirtied up again and the bite slowed down. Yambuck Lake has also produced some good bags of bream in the past month. Most fish have been taken in the lower reaches, no doubt pushed down by the recent rains.
When the freshwater section of the Hopkins finally cleared enough to be fishable there was some fantastic trout fishing to be had with numerous fish to over 2kg being encountered by anglers fishing hardbodied lures in the runs and plunge pools.
The Merri also continued to fish well; I managed a 3.1kg brown on the way to work one morning, but most fish have been in the 800g-1.5kg class. The fishing was a little inconsistent though; rivers conditions changed frequently as the waters dropped and rose with each ensuing rain event. Plenty of anglers are targeting the trout due to a lack of other angling options.
On the offshore scene the highlight has been the capture off Port Fairy of two porbeagle sharks of 84kg and 54kg by Shane Chromie. Taken on deep-fished bait, on two separate trips around the shelf region, it adds another possible target specie to the ever growing list for southwest game anglers.
Hopefully come December things will be looking at least more spring like, if not summery. Gummy shark and snapper will be common captures in deeper waters from along the coast. King George whiting, squid and crayfish will be coming in from the inshore reefs. Bream and perch will be hitting lures in shallow clear water.
Well, we can only wait, and hope.Reads: 2025