Hopping onto the Hopkins for hot fishing
  |  First Published: May 2017

May has the potential to be a great month for fishing locally. Sometimes we get protracted days of calm sea conditions before we head into the depths of winter. River species, like trout and estuary perch, also get on the move as we head into the cooler months.

These days the southern bluefin tuna season offshore of the South West Coast is almost a year round attraction. However if you were going to pick one of the most reliable months to try to tangle with a SBT then May would perhaps be it. Fish can be encountered in good numbers on the traditional deeper shelf areas and have also been found in 40-60m of water as well, which brings them into contact with smaller boat operators.

When sea and weather conditions suit, cruising around in an open style boat throwing lures at tuna bust-ups is an awesome sportfishing experience. There was at least three barrel-sized tuna landed off Port Fairy recently, including a 92kg fish taken out of a 4.8m tinny by Justin Nowell and Luke Smith, so getting out on the tuna water is even more attractive at the moment.

The Hopkins River closed over mid-March for the first time in almost twelve months. Normally it closes over summer, but that wasn’t the case this year, with the constant tidal exchange perhaps being a contributor to the good fishing experienced there recently. Bream have been taken in good numbers, and there have also been plenty of 40cm+ fish encountered. The best I’ve heard of was a 1.77kg fish taken by Mick Wilkinson.

Perch have been responding to the good old black crickets fished on the surface during calm evenings. May is often a great month to target the EPs in the freshwater as they begin feeding up and moving down to the estuary in the winter months.

The best thing about the estuaries recently has been the continued mulloway captures. The average size of the fish seems to be increasing from previous years. A cohort of fish from a good spawning year are coming through. Captures seem to range from high 60’s up to 80cm+. With the river closed these fish are going nowhere and hopefully will still provide an exciting target throughout May. Good mulloway have also been taken in the Moyne River recently as well.

As the water cools during May the trout in the local rivers will begin to fire up. It can be a great time to wander the local rivers, flicking minnow style lures like the Daiwa Presso minnow around, with the chance of a hook-jawed brown or a solid freshwater EP nailing your next cast.

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