After the two last months, April can be a bit of a let down fishing-wise. The warm weather species that have provided such entertainment over the summer have probably passed their best, while it’s still too early for the winter species to really hit their straps.
April 2006 was different because the southwest was in the grip of tuna fever. From late March onwards, bluefin tuna ranging from 40-100kg were being targeted by game fishers along the continental shelf. Hopefully by this April people will once again be experiencing some line-burning tuna action. Last year, skirted trolling lures on 37kg gear were the way to go when targeting these fish. Remember though that the southern ocean is no place to muck around. With the huge distances involved in getting to the fish, local knowledge, big boats with competent crews and good equipment, and travelling with another boat are essential for safety.
If we do get a warm start to the month, anglers might still be in with a chance of encountering good numbers of summer species. The last few months have seen some excellent bottom fishing captures of snapper and gummies. These species should still be around in April even if you have to concentrate your efforts a little wider as the water cools down. If you’ve been out searching for tuna, a bit of time spent bottom bouncing on the way in can help alleviate the fuel bill, particularly if you can snare some sweet-tasting gummy fillets.
King George whiting, trevally and pinkies will still be worthwhile targets on the inshore reef areas throughout April. Your chances of targeting kingfish will just about be gone though as April progresses. It has been a fairly patchy season so far on the king front, with the Killarney area being particularly poor for the second year in a row. Most fish have been taken west of Port Fairy and have been between 3-5kg, with the odd bigger fish amongst them. Shark action may be a better bet if you want some gamefishing action in April as they are a little more tolerant of cooler water.
The abalone virus continues to be big news down this way as it spreads its way along the coast. From people who enjoy a bit of recreational diving for abalone to the professionals who earn their living from these shellfish, it has been a terrible occurrence. It seems now that no human measures will make any difference and hopefully the disease will run its course like the pilchard virus of a few years back. Even so it will take many years to repopulate the reefs.
On the estuary scene the Hopkins has been steady without being exceptional for bream and perch. Most fish have been between 27-33cm, with very few reports of the 40cm+ fish the river is renowned for. Better quality bream have been reported from the Curdies, with both bait and lure techniques being productive. There have still been no mulloway reports from the Moyne, with small salmon, tailor and trevally being the major captures. Yambuck and the Fitzroy River continue to provide productive bream fishing alternatives to the more well-known and larger rivers.Reads: 397