Although the last thing some people might about during the winter months of the year is landbased fishing - some of the best fishing from the shore can be had at this time of the year. The winter months can be interesting while fishing from the shore with some species preferring calm, stable weather and others fishing best during the roughest weather that we get. With the recent rough onshore weather that Melbourne has experienced there will be some snapper roaming about close to shore. Of course standing on the pier or rocks when it's 8C and facing a 20 knot westerly wind isn't always easy - but these are the sort of conditions when your chances are the best. Customer Tony fished recently after a big front and was successful in catching a ripper snapper from the shore. Needless to say the location isn't really rocket science, but it is more about picking the conditions to target these fish. Tony managed this ripper fish on some freshly caught squid pinned to a 5/0 Owner SSW hook, on 60lb leader.

If you'd prefer to fish from the pier when the conditions are a bit more friendly - then garfish are for you. These fish prefer less rough weather and have been pretty good this season from all of the normal haunts including Beaumaris, Mordi, Frankston, Seaford and Frankston piers. Customer Kozi fished Frankston pier recently and caught a few during the run in tide. Zealcol fine grit berley and silverfish worked the best for him. Staff member Don also got a good haul of gars recently further down towards Blairgowrie. Don found that maggots and silverfish both worked well but the key was definitely setting up a good quality berley trail to bring the fish in and keep them around.

Further down towards the bottom end of the bay the squid fishing has been good. Blairgowrie, Sorrento and Portsea piers have been producing quality squid both during the day and after dark. A good selection of jigs in the 3.0 - 3.5 size range is crucial down here, as colour/foil and running depth will determine whether you have a good day or a quiet day. Customer Kozi fished Portsea pier just recently and did well during the run out tide on size 3.0 Keimura jigs with red foil. Staff member Don also fished from the pier and caught some nice sized squid on red foil Haramitsu jigs in size 3.0 and 3.5.

 

Even though trout streams are off-limits until September, the local family fishing lakes around Melbourne have been worth fishing if you need a trout fix. Karkarook, Emerald, Casey Fields and Rowville have all been fishing well lately with some recently stocked rainbow trout on the hit list. There has definitely been a proper technique to catching these fish consistently with anglers just 'taking a punt' most often going home fishless. Preparation of trout-specific berley and the correct rigging technique, along with a bit of patience will see you tackling with some feisty little rainbows. 

Staff member Don took his twin boys down to a couple of the family lakes recently and had no trouble catching a heap of trout using the proper methods. He did notice a few anglers struggling with incorrect presentation or bait but after a good explanation in the store these anglers were out catching the week after.

Customers George and Kristina fished Emerald lake during the school holidays where they caught some trout. Using a light paternoster rig and Gulp trout nuggets they caught 5 rainbows in a couple of hours.

Close by some of the local wetlands and suburban lakes have been keeping people busy with catches of redfin. Customers Kozi and Yuta have been casting lures in some of the local dams and wetlands for redfin up to about 400g. Yuta made up his own lure using a vodka cruiser bottletop and it tricked a couple of fish, but now has to live down the fact that everyone knows he drinks cruisers...

 

The tuna season down along the west coast has wound to a close for most anglers and many have turned their attention to the run of larger bluefin tuna off the southern coast of NSW. While the 30 - 70kg average size of these fish is much larger, the fish are also a lot further out. Some anglers are venturing up to 80km offshore to tangle with these fish. Trolling skirts and hardbodies has been an effective method of locating a patch of fish - then starting a pilchard cube berley trail has been the best way to keep them hanging around.

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has still been giving the west coat a run and he has been catching plenty of tuna with customers, without too much of the crowds. James has found lots of school fish to 15kg fish moving around the 40 - 50m line out from Portland, Port Fairy and Warnambool. Hardbodied lures have been working better for James recently, with Rapala XRAP 20's doing well and the new Samaki Pacemakers also doing a very good job. Natural colours like pilchard, saury and redbait patterns have been much more effective than brighter colours in the shallower water also.

 

While a lot of people don't seem to think there's much happening on the fishing front over the winter months - it can be the best time of the year to target fish like bream. There an still be some very tough days when chasing them, and a bit of ground work to locate the fish - but once they are found they are generally found in good numbers. Most often than not the fish are located in the deeper sections of the waterway during the colder months, so that is a good place to start looking. Customers Thao and Nick fished around the estuary of Mallacoota during the week with a few mates with bream being the main target. 

Both of the boys caught some nice fish to just over the 40cm mark using various different lures. Most of the bream were found in small schools and responded to lures being fished deep and slow. The most productive styles of lures were plastic and metal vibes along with Cranka crabs.

Thao and Nick also kept a feed of flatties in the 45cm size range while out targeting the bream. Dusky flathead this size are a very common by-catch while targeting bream in the eastern estuaries, and are perfect size for a couple of fillets.

 

Snapper reports have been pretty good considering it's late June. The snapper in the bay have fired up somewhat since Melbourne copped some ugly weather a little while back, so if you're a snapper freak then now's just as good a time as any to go out and try pin a good sized fish. The best part is that the snapper action hasn't been too confined to any certain areas of the bay; there have been fish caught from Geelong to Port Melbourne and Brighton to Mount Martha. Customer Vic made use of some ugly weather earlier in the week and perched himself along the rocks down towards Mornington. Vic was targeting snapper and lost a couple of fish, but the fish that he did land was a beast. Fishing with a whole pillie on 60lb leader Vic managed to land a thumping fish of 10.2kg - not bad for landbased in June hey...meanwhile across near Williamstown in only 8m of water customer Reece caught this nice 7kg fish on pilchard while drifting along a small dropoff with flatties in mind. That's the shoreline and city in the background.

Along pretty much every reef patch in the bay the pinkies have been in plague proportions. While there have been heaps of fish to attack a bait, a lot of them have been on the small side. A lot of the fish have been around the 30cm size, with a few bigger models mixed in. Larger baits and bigger hooks are a good idea if you're after a few bigger fish for the table. Soft plastics are a good option when chasing pinkies, and brands like Zman are excellent when the smaller fish are chewing other plastics to bits. If you're lucky you might even get some by-catch like customer Shane did. Shane was fishing out around Mordi with a 4" plastic when he landed a rare catch. This strange fish is an Australian Angel shark, which can reach around 1.5m in length.

For the squidding enthusiasts, the calmer weather we have had has been perfect for hitting some of the piers and rock ledges in search of a few. The southern end of the bay has been the best recently, especially along Mornington, Blairgowrie and Portsea. Staff member Don headed down to Portsea pier during the week and found some nice squid and cuttlefish. Don found that size 3.5 Yakamito's in gold foil were the best on this occasion, with all squid and cuttlefish caught on similar jigs. Customer Ryan has also been catching a few squid from the rocks around Mornington recently. Ryan has had to work hard and hop around in search of a few but he has been getting good numbers in the end. Size 3.0 and 3.5 Gancraft and Yamashita jigs have been the best, with green/gold tones/grass whiting patterns working the best. Most of Ryan's squid have been in the 300g size lately. 

 

Most anglers have a 'dream fish' or place they would really love to go and fish. For Customer Barney his dream was to catch a big barra. Barney fulfilled his dream recently while he was in Darwin with his wife Irene. Barney was fishing aboard Vision Charters with skipper Ben when he caught these 2 rippers at 94cm and 95cm. These nice salties were caught trolling hardbodies around the Shoal Bay region just north of Darwin. Nice one Barney!

 

While the southern bluefin tuna fishing can be good in western Victoria, the attraction of jumbo bluefin is what lures gamefisherman to Tasmania. Many of the fish caught around these southern waters are 100kg+ 'barrels' as these fish are regularly caught within a few kilometres from the shoreline. Customer Frank ventured down to the Apple Isle only a couple of weeks ago in search of his own 'barrel' and wasn't disappointed. Frank fished out from Eaglehawk Neck on the southeastern coast of Tasmania and was lucky enough to hook a jumbo sized tuna on his 50W Tiagra. After a 2 hour fight the fish was boated and weighed in at around 120kg. The big fish took a Rapala XRAP 30.

 

Tuna reports from western Victoria have been a bit wish-washy over the past few weeks, mainly due to on and off again weather. When the conditions have been good, there have still been school fish caught right through from Port Fairy to west of Bridgewater. Most of the fish caught have still been around the 10kg mark, with the odd bigger fish towards 20kg. 

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been doing trips on the tuna in both Portland and Port Fairy recently, with some long days required to keep customers catching fish but in the end everyone was happy. Ever reliable XRAP30's and Halco Laser Pro 160's have been doing well for James along with smaller skirts in the 5" size. James has noticed a lot of people finding fish but not catching them as they are running lures that are too large at the moment. A lot of fish have been feeding on whitebait and pilchards so the smaller profile lures are doing the trick.

Many customers are still picking up fish on small skirts, like this school fish caught on a 4" purple skirt . If the tuna have been picky towards your offerings though then these new lures might solve the puzzle. These new 'Pacemakers' from Samaki are the ultimate offering to fool fussy tuna. Pictured here in the pilchard colour in both 140DD and 180DD compared with the real deal. Pretty hard to spot the difference! Available in store now in a variety of colours.

 

The high country and snowy mountains region has been producing some nice trout for anglers persisting the cold and bitter weather. The surrounding areas of Jindabyne and Eucumbene have been producing spawn runs of brown trout making their way up the rivers. Staff member Ian fished with mates Claude and Nick recently in search of a few quality brown trout. Ian fished a tandem fly rig on spin gear, working it through likely runs and pools to land some nice brown trout.

Customers Zoran and Johnny also fished the same technique in the same sorts of areas to land some cracking brown trout, with some of the larger fish weighing nearly 7lb. 

Staff member Dylan also took the trek up to the snowies with mates in search of a few quality trout on lure and fly. Fishing various larger hardbodies like Rapala F series, Dylan caught trout to around 5lb working lures aggressively around deep runs and ledges. Casting tandem fly rigs with added weight off a 5 weight fly rod was tricky in the stiff breeze but Dylan also caught fish around the 5lb mark using this method.



Dylan and mates also fished some smaller water away from the crazy crowds in search of some fun on the 3 weight creek outfits. After a bit of walking and a lot of fish spooking the guys caught some nicely coloured small creek trout and also missed some much larger fish in the 4 - 5lb size. Small tungsten bead headed nymphs fished under a NZ yarn Strike Indicator were effective on the smaller creek fish.

The trout fishing in the lakes has been good recently, as the conditions have been perfect for them! Cold weather with rainfall really triggers the trout to feed up and move in their annual spawning congregations. Lake Eildon has been fishing well around some of the arms like Jews Creek and Big River. Customer Mick fished the main arm out from Eildon boat harbour in search of a few trout, and he did catch a few small browns trolling tassies behind downunder sinkers. 

Customers Rene and Andrew also fished Lake Eildon recently, where they camped out and did some trolling. The guys trolled a mixture of lures like Tassies, Merlins and Rapalas - with a few pelagic browns taking a mixture of lures. The guys trolled around Jews Creek and Big River to find their fish.

The western lakes normally fish well at this time of the year, and this year has been no different. Bullen Merri, Purrumbete and some of the northern lakes like Wendouree and Toolondo have all been producing fish. Lake Bullen Merri has been producing some quality size fish from anglers trolling and baitfishing. Young angler Gabrielle was fishing out in the lake with live bullhead minnow when this massive brown trout got hungry. At around midnight her bubble float went under and this 4.3kg trout came up. What a cracker!