Finally we are getting some winter winds and rain. Even though fishing can be challenging at this time of year, there are definitely rewards for those who make the effort.
Poor conditions, and relentless schools of barracouta, usually hamper offshore efforts in July and August, but despite this some good snapper and gummy sharks can still be caught. There have been snapper around 3kg and some decent gummies taken recently off both Warrnambool and Port Fairy. Deeper areas in 40-50m of water fish best at this time of year.
On the inshore saltwater scene, winter species such as salmon and trevally will dominate catches during August. At this time of year land-based locations such as Port Campbell Pier, the Warrnambool Breakwater and the Moyne River can produce good catches when conditions are too rough to launch a boat or surf fish.
Port Campbell Pier is already producing trevally to 1kg, with good salmon also around 1kg, but up to 3kg, being taken around Peterborough. Levis Beach has been producing good captures of mullet, but the salmon have been inconsistent. Mullet are an often-overlooked surf species and are a lot tastier than the river-dwelling variety.
In the estuaries, cooler water means less active and harder to find fish than in warmer months, but once they are located good captures can be had. For the bait angler, peeled prawns soaked in tuna oil can be a good dirty water option, particularly if more traditional baits are difficult to gather due to high water levels.
For the lure angler, dark well-scented plastics fished slowly on the bottom, as well as metal vibration lures fished the same way, will be best.
Dirty water may see the fish towards the mouth of the estuary. Clearer water may see them heading upstream in preparation for spawning. Adjust your techniques to suit the conditions you find.
With some big seas and high tides the Hopkins River opened naturally for the first time in a long while and should help the good angling continue in the river. High tides and higher water levels also open up a few areas that are normally a little too shallow to fish. The Belfast Loch area of the Moyne, the lower Merri and the lake section of the Curdies at Peterborough can offer some variety during these conditions.
In the freshwater many casts and cold conditions can make trout fishing seem like a chore, but making the effort in poor conditions can lead to some impressive captures. Hopefully as August rolls around, plenty more rain will bring some larger trout on the bite as most recent captures have been of smaller fish. Remember to check to see which rivers remain open in August before targeting trout.
Darren Evans with a 1.7kg bream taken from the Hopkins River on a hardbodied lureReads: 757