Fishing wise, April is a real transition month in the southwest. As long as the weather and water temperatures remain good, there should still be plenty of opportunities to target the end of summer fish such as snapper and sharks. As the month progresses, schools of cooler weather fish like haddock, trevally, salmon and barracouta should begin to be more prevalent.
The autumn run of haddock (also known as trevalla and warehou) is a much anticipated event around the Portland Bay and Harbour region and they can also be taken at many other locations along the coast. Baits such as pilchard fillets and fresh pieces of chicken fished on light line in a burley trail are popular when targeting these fish.The Warrnambool breakwater is a place that can produce good fishing at this time of year. Schools of salmon and barracouta begin to show up and can be taken on traditional surf tackle and lures. Half a pilchard fished about 2m below a large running float is also a productive technique. There are usually a few pinky snapper still around as well as some big King George whiting. The old elephant shark has also been captured off the breakwall around this time of year.
How well an estuary fishes at this time can often depend on whether the mouth of the river is open or has been closed for some time. Often a river that has had a low summer flow can have a blocked mouth. The resulting high water levels often lead to pretty average fishing due to the lack of tidal flow, reduced access and simply trying to find the same amount of fish in a lot more water. However this shouldn’t be too big a problem this year due to the large amount of rain experienced this summer. February in particular was very disappointing on the weather front, resulting in limited opportunities to target the region’s summer species. While a few kingfish and big salmon have been taken in various locations, there haven’t been any protracted spells of hot, calm weather to really get them started. The lack of calm seas and fine weather has also reduced the chances of most serious beach anglers and hindered the offshore shark fishing. On the few occasions that the weather gods have smiled, there have been lots of blue sharks around.
On the positive side, good captures of snapper and quality whiting have continued to be taken throughout the summer. The whiting, as is usual for this part of the coast, have all been quality fish. Bag limits may be hard to come by compared to other well-known whiting locations to the east and west, but rarely do you encounter fish below 40cm. Lake Bullen Merri has also been a productive summer option if the seas are too rough, with quinnat salmon and Australian bass being on the bite.
Kingfish and salmon from one of the few days of flat seas and warm weather this summer.Reads: 563