I love Easter time but not for the chocolate eggs. For me it marks the start of a new fishing season, which congers up memories of previous epic sessions and brings high hopes of another bumper season ahead. The anticipation is running high and all the signs are there that this year could be one of the best yet.
On my last few trips out in the boat, large schools of Australian salmon have been sighted right along the coast busting up on the surface as they crash into the even larger schools of baitfish. The birds have been diving in from above while hoards of hungry seals are attacking from below; the ocean has just been alive with activity. Considering that April is the start of our salmon run I predict that the next few months should provide plenty of action for boat and beach anglers. I had no problems catching a few salmon by casting metal lures into the feeding schools, and other boats trolling in the area were also in on the action with multiple hook ups being common place.
The beaches have already been fishing very well for salmon too, with Wild Dog, Aire River, Johanna and Station Beach being the places to be when the sea is flat. In fact, from what I hear the salmon fishing right along the coast from Lorne to Port Campbell has been sensational with schools of fish being visible from the land on most flat afternoons. Casting metal lures from the beach or rock platforms will provide some great sport and is a fun active way of targeting salmon when you know they are in the area. If the fishing is a little quiet, then soaking a bait is a more relaxing and less tiresome way to target these fish.
All the baitfish activity in close to shore has me excited and ready to undertake my first trip out wide in search of bluefin tuna. The bluefin tuna schools usually arrive before the end of April each year and will hang around right up until August if the conditions are right. Last season was a bit of a flop compared to the years previous but, as I said, everything from water temperatures to the bait schools has me confident that we are in for a better season this time round.
Gummy sharks are still biting off Cape Otway with numerous reports of fish around the 10kg mark being reported of late. I was lucky enough to get in on the action recently and had no trouble catching two healthy specimens from 40m of water directly south of the Cape Otway Lighthouse. The key to my success was using fresh salmon fillets for bait that I had caught on my way to the location. These fresh fillets give off a smell that gummy sharks find irresistible and will lure the sharks from great distances to come and eat your bait. Gummies are a year round option off Cape Otway and always worth chasing if you are in that area.
Other options for April include targeting King George whiting from the inshore reef edges, chasing mako sharks out in 70m of water, luring a bream or estuary perch from the local rivers or flicking lures in the freshwater reaches in search of brown trout. April never seems to disappoint and with so many options it’s hard to find enough time to do them all. In my books that’s a good problem to have! Hope the Easter Bunny comes.Reads: 505