Settled weather in the latter part of summer has allowed offshore anglers to at least salvage a few good fish out of a summer that stated with so much promise early in the season, but was ravaged by constant prolonged periods of strong south east winds.
You know the winds have been bad when people who aren’t even keen anglers are whingeing about how constant the wind has been.
Plenty of snapper have been caught, mainly pinkies but enough larger fish to 5kg mixed amongst them to keep you enthused. The best snapper recently being an 8kg fish taken by Anthony Lubic, which is a exceptional fish for this area. Flathead, queen morwong and squid have been filling out bags as well along with the seemingly ever-present gummy sharks. Mako reports have also thinned out a bit since the beginning of the summer more probably due to lack of good conditions rather than a lack of fish.
The yellowtail kingfish season locally has been very hot and cold with a only few good captures isolated around many peoples unsuccessful attempts. Scott Gray had one good session on kings to 11kg when he came across a patch of fish whilst travelling between two more reliable kingfish locations. Unusually, these fish refused surface presentations but climbed all over trolled X-Rap 30s.
Come April the call of the kingfish will be well and truly replaced by that of the southern bluefin tuna. Already as I write this good captures of school-sized tuna are being caught to the west past Portland. Early sorties out of Port Fairy have failed to locate fish but the signs of bait, bird and other sea life like dolphins and seals are all there. By April I’m sure these schools will have continued to push east and fish will be coming into the ports of Warrnambool and Port Fairy.
It seems the reliability of the masses of school-sized tuna seems unquestioned again this season. The big variable and the question on everyone’s mind will be where the big barrels turn up along the coast this year. I’m sure there will be no shortage of fuel exhausted in the attempt to find the answer to this question!
The mouth of the Hopkins River is closed at the moment. Both bream and estuary perch have been responding well to surface lures and hardbodied lures fished in tight to areas where the water has risen over.
Mulloway are one fish that has been very elusive locally for some time. The Easter full moon has always been a good time to have a try for that elusive jew either off the beaches or in the estuaries.Reads: 981