From trout to tuna
  |  First Published: May 2015

Finally the onshore easterly winds have backed off with light offshore conditions prevailing over the past few weeks.

Now is the time to head out wide of Cape Otway in search of bluefin tuna schools. There have been some great captures coming from further west so I’m tipping by the time May rolls around, the action will be red-hot from Blanket Bay right out to the big reef system south off Cape Otway.

Trolling or casting lures once the schools have been sighted is the best way to connect to these speedsters so keep an eye out for diving birds.

Gummy sharks and snapper are continually showing up in angler’s catches when fishing over reef patches in 40m+ of water off Cape Otway. Fresh cut fish baits or squid have been doing all the damage but by far the most important thing to look out for is the slack water period of the tide. Anglers concentrating their efforts around the tide changes have found that the fish really fire up when the tidal flow is at its slowest.

Once slack water period has passed and the tide starts running hard try moving your boat out over the sand flats and drifting around in search of flathead. Using the same baits and rig (paternoster) as you do for snapper and gummies you should have no trouble putting some big specimens in your boat. Recent flathead captures have seen numerous fish in the 50-60cm bracket.

The river estuaries will fire up this month with both bream and trout feeding ferociously as more frequent rains keep the water levels topped up. If your chasing bream, try to fish when the river mouth is open to the ocean as the bream love the water moving in or out. If the incoming tide is pushing up clean saltwater then fish down low in the system over the shallow sand flats as the water rises. If the tide is dropping then fish up higher in the system around the reed and grass edges as all the bait gets flushed out with the receding water.

Both bait and lures will catch bream when fishing the tidal flows so choose whichever method best suits your fishing style.

The top of the estuary systems and up into the freshwater reaches will see the trout feeding up before their annual spawning run. Again, both bait and lures will catch trout but my favourite technique is to use small soft plastic lures such as the Berkley 3” power minnow. Casting upstream with a small 0.9g jighead, I slowly wind the lure back with the current giving it some small twitches. The trout find these baitfish style soft plastics irresistible when used correctly but if you are not confident with this style of fishing then stick to whatever works for you. The trout in this part of the state are not fussy eaters and can be caught on just about any bait or lure that trout respond to in other areas of Australia.

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