Just a couple of weeks ago I was catching kingfish now here I am writing about May! How quickly the seasons change, thank goodness for tuna and trout, as well as a few other species that make the slippery descent into winter somewhat bearable.
So far the early part of the tuna season has seen fish fairly wide and scattered, however by May we should be right in the thick of it. Last season most consistent captures were from off wide near the shelf. The season before saw lots of fish in the 40-60m region, what happens this year will be anyone’s guess. Keep one eye on the media reports and the other eye on the weather reports before making plans.
The Hopkins River after being closed to the sea for several months, opened up at the end of March and as usual when this happens the fishing instantly started to improve. May is often a good month to target fish in the river, even if they have started to move a little deeper, before the cool temps and dirty water of winter arrive. The spawning urge should also see some good trout stirring in May so get out there before the season closes, although many local rivers have sea run sections allowing for winter long targeting of the trout.
The local Shipwreck Coast Fishing Classic competition has just been run and won. This annual fishing competition, run by the Warrnambool Offshore & Light Game Fishing Club ran from March 1-10, culminating on the long weekend.
Marine, estuarine or freshwater fish caught between Port Campbell and Yambuk were eligible for prizes. The competition attracted 650 entries, 200 up on last year with the proceeds going to Peters Project a fund raising organisation for a local cancer care centre. Two boats were offered as grand prizes in a raffle-style competition: one for anyone who entered the competition and the other available for anyone who caught and weighed an eligible fish. In total about $64,000 in prizes were given away.
The first weekend of the comp was hampered by poor conditions and very little was weighed in but as soon as conditions improved, quality fish began coming in from many areas in all categories. Some fishing areas are very tide dependant, other areas rely on seasonal runs of fish, however here in the South West it’s having beneficial meteorological conditions that assist with good captures.
The heaviest catch was a 2.56m, 132.5kg mako shark caught off Warrnambool by Peter Mahony. Other catches of note in some of the other senior categories were a 19.75kg tuna by Harry Anders, 7.05kg yellowtail kingfish Ben Murrihy, a 21.35kg gummy shark by Jason Twaddle and a 5.6kg snapper taken by Matt Cook. In the junior section some impressive catches were Tyler Hewson caught a 6kg gummy shark, Lachie Mustard caught a 2.1kg mulloway and biggest salmon was 1.9kg by Brad Gedye, which was also the biggest salmon overall.Reads: 950