Flat seas favour anglers
  |  First Published: December 2011

It’s only taken a few warm October days and some flat seas and the reports are starting to come in, suggesting that the local fishing scene is starting to really pick up after a long, cold, wet winter.

Hopefully in December we are well and truly benefiting from the opposite of the old adage of ‘drought on the land, tough in the sea’ and anglers will be enjoying some rewards from the burst the flushes of fresh have had to the aquatic ecosystems.

Even with the water temperature hovering around 15C there have already been reports of mako sharks being captured and sniffing around boats. Marty Ellul landed a nice fish around 80kg off Peterborough and I’ve also heard of fish taken and sighted off Port Fairy.

Gummy sharks continue to be taken offshore right along the coast. The gummy shark fishery has shown great signs of recovery the past few seasons with fish being taken consistently through the year. Most fish are in the 5-8kg range although a 20kg monster was taken off Warrnambool in the last week.

Snapper around 2.5-3kg are also featuring on the offshore scene, still mostly out deep in around 30-40m of water. They should move closer inshore as water temperatures rise.

Those bigger snapper can be more elusive during December with swarms of pinkies that invade the inshore areas making up most of the snapper catches. Making the decision whether to line fish for snapper or hoop net crays was often a difficult decision, particularly when flat days were few and far between.

By the time you anchored up, got your rods in, maybe berleyed a little often it was then time to go check the hoop nets again. However now using soft plastic techniques in between pulls of the nets is a far more efficient way of putting a mixed bag of snapper and crays in the boat.

Come December the cray season will also be in full swing and divers, snorkelers and hoop netters will be out in force on flat days targeting the succulent southwest crays.

Estuary action

December is often a great month to target estuary species before the holiday crowds really come out in force. The Hopkins has slowly started to improve and clear after a year where estuarine angling has really been affected by the massive flushes of floodwater.

The recent Vic BREAM competitions, although held in appalling weather conditions causing a tough bite produced at least 10 fish all between the 1-1.24kg mark and the water is now at least clear enough to encourage shallow water luring techniques.

Plenty of small estuary perch from 28-34cm are also providing some good fishing at the moment and should do so through December on those warm still evenings. We had a fun session recently targeting them on the surface using pink grub soft plastics, something water conditions in the river haven’t allowed for almost 12 months.

No reports of mulloway in the Hopkins as yet but if they are ever going to show themselves again surely this year will be the year after the massive flush the river has had.

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