Even though July is in the dead of winter here in the south west, there is always something to keep the keen angler motivated apart from tackle maintenance and fishing DVD’s.
Fortunately due to a Fisheries Victoria sea run classification, river brown trout can be targeted in some areas during what would normally be the closed season. The Merri River below the weir and the Hopkins River below the Hopkins Falls are great producers of trout during the colder months, particularly if we have significant rain. The Merri has been producing some good fish of late with fish from 1.2-1.8kg taking a range of lures and flies.
Also of interest has been the amount of bream being encountered in the upper freshwater regions of the Merri. This is not usually a frequent occurrence. Some have been taken as by-catch whilst targeting trout but people now are even stating to target them on baits like earthworms.
On the subject of bream the Hopkins has finally started to show some more promising reports of late. The weekend before the Vic bream tournament a pretty big sea pushed a lot of blue, clean salt water into the system. The morning of the tournament we were pretty pleased with ourselves when we had our bag of five by 8:30am, particularly as there was only one team that got a 5 bag during last year’s comp.
However when we started seeing plenty of other nets over the side in other boats it was obvious the fishing was a bit better than we expected it would be. By the end of the day around half the field of 50 boats had a full bag. Congratulations to Steve Parker and Declan Betts on their great day two come from behind win. Not long after the comp Brad Royce managed to catch and release a 1.695kg bream. Perhaps even bigger news than the improved bream fishing was the capture of several mulloway during the comp.
I know of at least seven mulloway landed and several more lost. The fish were around 60-75cm long, not huge but good fun on bream tackle. Since the comp several other mulloway have been encountered by anglers fishing the Hopkins. It’s been a number of years since multiple catches of mulloway have been reported from the river so it’s a great sign for the future along with a number of similar sized fish and larger being taken from local beaches in the past few months.
The southern bluefin should be a distinct possibility in by July, but the weather will be a big contributing factor. This season so far has still seen most of the good captures coming to boats travelling greater distances than last season. The most consistent captures have been in the 400m to the shelf region off Warrnambool and Port Fairy with only sporadic captures occurring in the inshore 40-65m waters that was so productive last year.
The exception being a 101kg cleaned weight barrel taken by Adrian Cuman, the only such fish to come in locally this season at the time of writing.Reads: 2669