Bigger fish are there and waiting
  |  First Published: March 2017

The offshore fishing scene has been nothing but superb for those who have been getting out on the briny. Some solid gummy sharks have been taken out in depths around 40m bottom bouncing baits. Whole baby squid or large individual squid tentacles are the pick to use. The odd flathead to 1.3kg has also been picked up in around similar depths. Concentrate your efforts over reefy patches. Pinkie snapper to 40cm have taken similar baits.

Some excellent yellowtail kingfish to 14kg have been taken offshore by simply locating surface or sub-surface schools feeding on baitfish. Surface poppers approaching 200mm in length whipped across the surface will kick up a fair bit of spray and entice strikes as well as hook-ups.

Squid are quite active close inshore and plenty of anglers are getting stuck into them. The inner core makes excellent calamari. The outer core and wings make for one tough bait that will withstand pickers for quite some time while soaking.

Mako shark are also out and about in a big way and will be for some time. This pelagic shark will stick around until the ocean temperatures start to drop and that won’t occur until around April. Plenty are being hooked and lost or caught. Large, floating baits suspended just under the water with a party balloon work.

Small, school-size bluefin tuna are being taken offshore from Port Fairy with fish averaging around 8kg. These fish have been located feeding in schools on baitfish balled up and forced to the surface. Small, skirted octopus lures trolled and cast just outside the schools are attracting bites. White, yellow and silver are working here.

The Hopkins is firing for bream and estuary perch. Use soft plastics slow rolled across the surface or shallow diving minnow lures twitched on or near the surface. The shallow mud flats have been the places to concentrate on, especially before the sun fully hits the water.

There are plenty of smaller ones about and you might end up catching quite a few before a bigger one takes the lure but. Patience and perseverance will eventually pay off, as it did for one angler recently who boated a bream that weighed in at over 1.5kg.

The Curdies River and lake has been fishing well for bream up to 39cm. The bream are well and truly spread out through the system. Local bream specialist Jim Murfitt from my hometown ventured out recently and had no trouble catching his bag of fish in a single session using baits like local greyback minnow and shrimp. Soft plastics have done well right throughout the system in grub and shrimp patterns.

Now that the holidays have well and truly finished, the months leading into winter (excluding the Easter break) will be less crowded out on the water. Many locals say this is the best time of the year to fish our local estuaries or launch (and find a park) along our coastline.

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