Bountiful bluefin, barren bream
  |  First Published: August 2012

August should signal the end of what has been a busy tuna fishing season here in the south west.

While no more large ‘barrel’ size tuna have been taken in the last month, there continues to be an enormous amount of school fish present, even if they have been a little hard to tempt. Many anglers are returning to shore frustrated by the visible presence of leaping tuna but failing to convert these sightings to hook ups.

Even pulling up and casting at the schools hasn’t produced with the consistency it usually does. It’s pretty good fun though tearing around the southern ocean after birds and busting tuna, pulling up and trying to land a lure amongst them. When you do make that perfect cast and everything comes up tight, battling a 14-18kg SBT on spin gear is awesome fun.

The continuing joke that is the Warrnambool ramp reached farcical proportions when a sand bar formed just before the busy Queen’s Birthday long weekend just behind the end of the ramp. Combined with a very low morning tide as well as the every present surge, launching was made almost impossible for most boats on what shaped up to be a very busy long weekend. Hopefully the Warrnambool City Council is going to respond favourably to the plethora of submissions they received to improve the harbour launching facilities. Fortunately many anglers were able to use the Port Fairy facility where unprecedented queues and parking hassles ensued.

If the good news has been the excellent numbers of tuna present off the coast the poor news is how badly the estuary section of the Hopkins River continues to fish. In the recent Vic BREAM competition 45 teams produced only 108 size bream over the two days. In a river renowned for its big bream, only one bream over one kilogram was weighed in by the 45 teams; we alone had 3 that size in our own bag in last year’s comp.

At least large schools of dormant fish could be located on the sounder and hopefully come August something will trigger them into biting.

The brown trout began to fire up in the local rivers just before the closed season kicked in. Fortunately here in the south west there are a number of areas that are designated ‘sea-run fisheries’ that remain open during the closed season, allowing anglers to take advantage of the prime time to target those big winter trout in the cooler conditions of August.

If you’re fishing these areas for the first time you will find them very different to a high country trout river where fish are prolific but small. What the local trout lack in numbers though they make up for in size with many fish over 2kg encountered by lucky anglers.

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