The recent autumnal equinox saw a big shift in weather conditions and angling options. Some very warm conditions in late March suddenly gave way to seriously cold conditions.
It was strange to be thinking about summer species one week, and then targeting salmonids the next. The disappointing thing is that the long, fine spells of calm weather that are typical of autumn in the region haven’t eventuated yet. This has made it difficult to target many species, particularly the offshore options such as sharks and tuna.
In early April, tuna have been caught from the Continental Shelf area well to the west at Portland and Port MacDonnell. May last year saw tuna caught by anglers launching at Port Fairy, so by this May, hopefully, keen tuna anglers won’t have to venture as far west.
The popular week-long Hooked on Rods and Reels Shipwreck Coast Fishing Classic coincided with the spell of very warm weather. Ken Hines took out the game fishing section with a 56kg mako shark. Peter Goode weighed in the heaviest non-game shark with an 11.5kg school shark. In the finfish side of the competition, the largest fish was taken out by Cameron Ordner with a 3.6kg yellowtail kingfish. Other notable winners in the species sections were George Hayden with a 2.6kg morwong, Brendan Keane with a 2.09kg snapper, and Travis Hyland with a 1.85kg salmon. Darren Evans took out both the trout and perch sections. In the juniors, George Siceley took out the heaviest gummy shark and snapper, and Grace and Hannah Mitchell landed the heaviest bream and perch.
Another popular competition, where the record of 122 entries helped raise money for the Royal Childrens Hospital Appeal, was the Warrnambool Angling Club’s Easter Competition. The heaviest fish was a 1.58kg brown trout caught by Darren Evans. The heaviest bream was taken by Troy Hamilton, with a fish of 1.37kg. No mulloway were caught during the competition, however a few were encountered by anglers in the lead up to the Easter full moon. With the estuary now closed for the first time in many months hopefully a few mulloway still remain in the system.
During May the Hopkins will play host to the second leg of the Vic BREAM Classic Series. This catch and release, lure event will be on May 3/4. Although entries are already at their limit, it’s always interesting to make your way down to the weigh-in at 2pm each day to have a look at all the flash boats.
The beginning of the spawning drive can often make May a good time to target brown trout before the season closes. The Merri, which has had a few algae concerns of late, should be running clearer and producing some good trout.
Hopefully, school-sized southern bluefin tuna will be prevalent during May.Reads: 859