Winter Options Aplenty
  |  First Published: August 2005

Winter may not be perceived as the most productive time to fish in the southwest, but at the moment, there’s certainly been enough going on to keep anglers busy on things other than tackle maintenance.

I’ve been on holidays recently and have fished nearby lakes for trout and salmon, estuaries for bream, chased bluefin (forlornly) and bottom bounced for various deepwater species. All this without even chasing Australian salmon or estuary perch, which are major target species at this time of year.

The variety of winter fishing options has some other benefits. The prime fishing times of dawn and dusk are at much more acceptable times than in summer, so super early morning starts aren’t necessary, unless you like fishing in the dark! And with short days, I’m often home, cleaned up and ready for tea with the family – a nice change.

Another plus is the reduced crowds. Nothing like summer! Fine winter days are also usually calm winter days with no nasty summer sea breezes to blow up and make conditions uncomfortable. If you can get out on one of these calm winter days then deepwater bottom bouncing is a productive way of getting some quality table fish. Fishing in more than 40m of water, the ultimate prize is a good gummy shark along with pinkie snapper, morwong and flathead. You might need to sort through some less desirable fish but it’s certainly worth it.

Closer inshore, salmon will still be available off most beaches although the best salmon fishing down this way has often been and gone by August.

August usually sees an increase in schools of silver trevally in the southwest. Small boats fishing the calmer inshore bays, or places like Port Campbell Pier (or the Moyne River if you’re land-based), can turn on some quality trevally at this time of year. Cut pilchards or whitebait fished in a light berley trail is the way to target the silvers.

King George whiting are also on the cards if you’re fishing one of the many inshore bays and usually are quality fish over 40cm.

Even if the estuaries are dirty from winter rains, good bream can be still taken in the lower reaches. For the lure fishermen, plastics with a strong scent, such as the Ecogear Paramax in black or anything from the Berkley Gulp range, are good to use at this time of year.

For the bait angler, peeled prawns soaked in tuna oil can be a good dirty water option. This is particularly so if more traditional baits are difficult to obtain because of high water levels.

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