In October, as the fishing slowly draged itself out of a long winter, the highlight was been the excellent sharks taken off the coast.
Not too many years ago gummy or school shark approaching 20kg would be fairly isolated captures. In the past month though several gummies and school shark, from 15-20kg, have been captured both off Warrnambool and Port Fairy. These fish have been taking decent sized fresh fish and squid baits in around 40m of water. Fishing large, tough baits is essential for these sharks to withstand onslaught of less desirables like small pinkies and gurnard until that decent shark comes along.
Seven-gill sharks have also been prevalent and can be a nuisance when targeting gummies or schoolies. Whilst not having the appeal of these species they can put a serious bend in your rod and test the drags on your reels. I know my arms are still sore from tangling with one over 100kg that we were hopping was going to be a schoolie even bigger than the 20kg model we’d landed earlier.
Some good snapper around 3-4kg have also been taken in these depths of water. Come December these fish should still be available in the deeper areas as well as a bit closer in as the water warms. The first mako shark reports should be coming in come late December as there was a few around locally this time last year.
The inshore areas should also begin to fire as water temperatures rise. The Killarney area is already producing some good captures of King George whiting in the 40-45cm range. Careful anchoring here is essential not just for safety in heavy swell but to also avoid the plagues of wrasse.
Drifting or using an electric engine around the shallow bay areas in calm, clear conditions sight casting to squid is not only but a great way to get a quality feed but great fun too. Inshore areas just out from the Moyne at Port Fairy and in Lady Bay at Warrnambool can produce some good whiting at this time of year as well.
Recent dredging of the Warrnambool harbour area should slightly improve on the abysmal launching conditions experienced earlier in this year. The new floating jetty at Port Fairy is operational and makes what was always a good launch even easier.
Late November/December is perhaps my favourite time for fishing the Hopkins. So hopefully by then the fishing will have improved in this river as at the time of writing things are still very quiet as they have been for some time. Yambuk Lake has continued to produce some good bags of bream in the past month.
Most fish have been taken in the lower reaches, no doubt pushed down by the recent rains. Some nice bream to 43cm (which are big fish for this system) have also been taken.Reads: 737