Even if you haven't been fishing much through the cooler months, you should now relishing the thought of getting back out on the water.
The water is warming quickly and this has brought a return of the summer species along the south west coast.
Boat anglers fishing off Cape Patton and Cape Otway are catching the occasional snapper along with some big gummy sharks. Fresh fish baits will give you the best chance at a big snapper or gummy if you concentrate you're efforts around the slack water periods of the tide.
Use a sounder to look for the edges of reef in 40m of water and use a sea anchor to slow the rate at which you drift if the wind is blowing. A GPS is very handy for this type of fishing and as soon as a fish is caught mark a waypoint for that location and continue to drift over the same patch each time you move.
If you drift off the reef then a feed of flathead shouldn't too hard to find and these can be big specimens at this time of year with 60cm fish being common. Closer to town the Bumbry and Marengo reefs are excellent spots to try for a feed of King George whiting and I have some reports of good bags being taken already.
A light berley trail of pellets and tuna oil will help bring the fish around while I believe pipis are one of the best baits.
Anchor on the edge of the reef or find a sandy channel that runs through the reef for a good place to locate the whiting and don't be afraid to move around if you aren’t having any success. I usually wait for about 15 minutes and if no fish have been caught I will move to another location and try again.
Trout to 2kg have been caught while trolling small hardbodied lures in the Gellibrand and Aire rivers. These trout have been in great condition as they have been feeding on the schools of whitebait that have entered these systems to breed in the freshwater.
Watch for schools of whitebait showering along the banks and then concentrate your efforts in that area. Bream and estuary perch will also be feeding on the whitebait and are better targeted by casting lures that have a long slender profile such as the Rapala Husky Jerks or Eco Gear MW65.
The smaller rivers such as Barham, Wild Dog, Skenes and Kennett are all producing plenty of feisty little trout that can be caught on bait, lures or fly. Stay low and move slowly along the banks, as the trout will spook easily in the shallow clear water of these streams.
You will be surprised at just how many trout are in these small streams and it can become a very addictive form of fishing when you are catching a trout every few casts.
Matthew Kearton has the trout fishing bug and loves to wade the small Otway streams in search of these beautifully marked brown trout.Reads: 1070