Bluefin, browns, and bream
  |  First Published: June 2014

Even though it’s now winter, there are plenty of bluefin, browns and bream around to keep anglers motivated.

The bluefin season is in full swing with plenty of bluefin and albaclore being taken. Currently, all the action is out wide near the shelf with most fish being taken blind trolling. Hopefully come June some of the schools will have pushed closer inshore as they have a tendency to do at this time of the year.

The South West Alliance Game Fish Challenge 2014 was fished over two weekends (5-6 and 12-13 April). Hosted by Warrnambool Offshore & Light Game Fishing Club and Victorian Game Fishing Club, the comp was fished out of Warrnambool and Port Fairy. A total of 87 fish were tagged and released over the 4 days of fishing, with 6 southern bluefin and 3 albacore weighed in. The Champion Boat was won by Intruder with 45,000 points. Champion Angler was won by Ashley Dance with 30,000 points and Champion Female Angler was Cindy Dauria with 4,000 points. The most Meritorious Tuna (heaviest tuna caught on the lightest line) was Peter Goode’s 17.55kg southern bluefin tuna on 8kg line.

With the closed season for salmonids in 2014 beginning from midnight on Monday 9 June, to midnight on Friday 5 September, there are still sections of some local rivers open for trout fishing due to their sea-run classification. They are: The Merri River (downstream of the Bromfield Weir) the Hopkins River (downstream of the Hopkins Falls), the Moyne River (downstream of the Toolong Bridge) and the Gellibrand River (downstream of the Great Ocean Road Bridge.)

How you target the Merri for trout in June will depend on whether there are any significant rain events between now and then. Little rain and fishing natural coloured stick minnow plastics and smelt coloured flies in the deeper areas will work best. Trolling minnow styled lures also work well.

If we get some serious rains then fishing shallow runs and flooded margins will be a better bet. The 7-9cm hardbodies, paddle-tailed soft plastics and dark large wet flies are the weapons of choice.

The Hopkins River mouth closed over fairly quickly again after opening. Fortunately it seems many of the mulloway that were present in the system haven’t all taken off, with the odd fish to 80cm still being encountered. It makes every bream/perch session, whether throwing lures or using cut baits of salmon and mullet, just that little bit more interesting when there is a sneaky chance of getting a mulloway. Corey McClaren has been catching some nice bream to 1.15kg while Barry Johnston managed an impressive estuary perch over 4lb in the old scale.

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