On the chase and on the chew
  |  First Published: December 2016

Spring was a non-event weatherwise, so hopefully we get a long hot flat summer so anglers can make the most some of the excellent fishing available this time of year.

Last summer was a good one for those who like chasing surface pelagics, with some good kingfish being taken along the South West coast. Mixed amongst them were quite a few schools of southern bluefin tuna – add to that, some big schools of decent sized salmon. This made things very interesting each time you came across a shimmering school of fish or diving birds – you’re never were quite sure what was going to come charging after your lure.

Bream have been biting well in the Hopkins River recently, with the water slowly starting to clear after a prolonged period of dirty water. Bait fishing or deep fishing with plastics has still been the way to go. Hopefully come January, some warmer weather and clear water will see both bream and estuary perch smashing surface presentations on clam mornings and evenings. Visually, watching the fish hunt down a pink grub or a surface popper is addictive stuff.

For holiday anglers not into lure casting, there is usually plenty of opportunity to catch bream, mullet and salmon near the mouths of any of the local estuaries on bait. Using a little berley, keeping the line and sinker weights down and using fresh bait, can produce almost non-stop action for families trying to keep youngsters entertained over the holiday period. For those with the capability to do the same, just slightly offshore, then there is usually plenty of pinkie snapper around to keep rods bending frequently. Just head out a short distance from either Port Fairy or Warrnambool ramps on a calm morning and you should be in business, with the possibly of a mixed bag of squid, whiting and trevally also for the taking.

Mulloway have been present in the Hopkins River the past couple of summers, so hopefully that trend will continue this summer once the rivers clear up. Most fish were just around legal size, but there was enough bigger fish caught and lost to keep anglers keen.

With the wet winter and spring we’ve just had, trout should still be an option over the summer. Bait fishing the deeper holes with shrimp, mudeyes or flicking naturally toned lures is the best option.

With redfin becoming a popular summer option, and good water levels, Lake Gillear, Lake Aringa and Lake Ellingamite would be the best local options to try and secure those sweet tasting redfin – if those sea breezes make it too hard to get offshore. Lake Pertobe might also be worth a look for a rainbow trout.

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