Tuna, trout, bream a’plenty
  |  First Published: April 2012

There is so much fishing action going on around Apollo Bay I don’t where to start.

How about I start with the rivers and work my way out to sea from there?

The smaller streams along the Great Ocean Road have been low and full of weed due to the warm summer weather but by April I’m tipping the first good rains will have fallen and the trout fishing will be back in full swing.

Once good flows return to the rivers the trout really fire up and will hit lures, flies or baits with gusto as they feed up before spawning season. Down low in the river estuary systems the bream and estuary perch are taking a variety of small hardbodied lures and soft plastics fished tight to structure.

If you can locate any submerged rock bars or fallen timber it will likely be crawling with fish but remember to fish light 2kg leader as the fish will be spooky in the clear estuary water. If you find that the snags are empty of fish then have a look at any shallow sand flats in the area as sometimes the bream like to get out on the flats and dig a few holes in search of worms and yabbies.

Make long casts to get away from the boat and make sure your shadows are not spooking the fish before you get close to them. This type of fishing is not for everyone but it can be an absolute blast if fish are switched on and you get to watch them sneak up behind your lure and eat in only a few centimetres of water.

The beaches have been fishing very well for Australian salmon, snapper and gummy sharks with Aire River, Johanna and Station Beach being the places to be when the sea is flat. The salmon fishing right along the coast from Lorne to Port Campbell has been sensational with schools of fish being visible from the land most days. Casting metal lures from the beach should see you connect to a fish within a few casts and nothing beats fresh salmon fillets for gummy bait.

After dark these beaches have been producing excellent gummy and snapper fishing with plenty of snapper to 1.5kg and gummies to 8kg being taken. Small boats just offshore of Apollo Bay boat harbour have been playing with the many salmon schools taking fish of around 1kg.

Trolling will catch fish but most boats seem to be casting lures into the busting schools with light spin outfits and having a ball as the salmon fight and leap all over the place. The inshore reefs at Marengo and the back of the golf course are still littered with whiting schools and I have heard recent reports of over 30 fish in a session being landed. Pipis fished on a light paternoster rig in the sandy channels or along the reef edges will do the trick.

The offshore reefs off Cape Patton and Cape Otway have been invaded by huge schools of snapper in the 1-2kg range. Fishing in 50m of water recently I couldn’t get a bait to the bottom because the fish were so thick. After losing count of how many I had caught and running out of my 2kg pilchard block I called it quits and headed for home.

Remember there is a bag limit of only 3 snapper over 40cm per person per day and nearly all of the snapper I have seen coming in have been over this 40cm mark.

This time last year I was lucky enough to be involved in a capture of a 153kg bluefin tuna off Apollo Bay and I have already noticed an increase of big boats each weekend visiting town and reports are that the fish are thick at Portland.

So if you own a boat over 5.5m then totally disregard what you have read earlier in this report and head offshore of Cape Otway as the tuna are out there somewhere, and so am I!

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