The fishing is improving as winter deepens
  |  First Published: July 2013

It seems strange to say, but the fishing is actually improving as we head further into winter.

Finally the bluefin tuna arrived in steady numbers wide off Cape Otway and while not the monster fish of a few years ago they are still a welcome species during the winter months. At 15-20kg they are great sport and also awesome eating at this size too. The main area to target the bluefin has been over the Big Reef where trolling both skirted and diving lures seems to be the go to method.

Some decent sized schools have also been encountered 10km or so further south by those who have been prepared to have a good search around. Casting soft plastic stick bait lures in 5” or 7” on a 1oz jighead is another deadly method and seems to work best when the fish are getting a little boat shy. If the tuna keep sounding deep as you approach them then it is time to drop down the soft plastics or if you can locate a bait ball that has tuna feeding on it then simply cast in a soft plastic and hang on.

We have seen numerous captures of 100kg plus tuna off Portland this year so never say never to it happening off Apollo Bay. It has been done before and I’m sure it is only a matter of time before it happens again.

Another species worth mentioning from the saltwater is the ever-reliable gummy shark. There have been some great recent captures when fishing slack water around tide changes in 40m of water off Cape Otway with some big sharks caught. Fresh fish fillets of salmon or barracouta are best baits as are freshly caught squid heads. The average gummy shark is around 4-6kg but some beauties of 15kg plus have been taken recently.

If you have been following my reports over the years you will already know that I love my trout fishing. With the closed season now in play for most of the Victorian rivers I have been concentrating my efforts at the West Barwon Dam. Situated at the small town of Forrest only 30 minutes drive from Apollo Bay, the West Barwon Dam offers some very reliable trout fishing right through the winter.

With both brown and rainbow trout being present casting lures from the shore can produce some surprising results. On a recent trip I caught three trout all around 1kg which is par for the course in this waterway. Small hardbodied lures such as Rapala or Wild Bait minnows work a treat as does the ever reliable Tassie Devil.

The Aire River is producing good numbers of black bream on the high tide right down near the mouth of the river. Bream can be found feeding over sand flats and are best targeted with a lightly-weighted soft plastic worm. Cast out across the current and let the worm roll along the bottom until you feel resistance, then strike. If waves are pushing in clear water from the ocean then try fishing the colour changes with this same method.

The West Barwon Dam near Forrest has a good population of brown and rainbow trout and is a great option for a winter’s afternoon of fishing.

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