There has been some quality fishing out around the entrances to both bays and in Bass Strait over the last week or so. Reports of acres of Bluefin tuna hanging around, kingfish in good numbers off the headlands and reasonable shark fishing as well. While the tuna have been getting caught, most anglers aren't keeping their eyes peeled for signs that these fish are about. Water temperature and colour changes, seabirds hovering or shimmering 'slicks' of baitfish can be enough of an indication that the larger predators are around, so it's not just a matter of throwing a lure out and driving around until you hook up. Smaller lures have been working better than larger offerings lately as well, as most of the baitfish in the area are small pilchards and whitebait.


Customer Justin got outside over the weekend and went around towards Cape Schank where he managed 2 nice kingies. Justin caught one of the fish on a fresh squid head near the bottom and the other on a 'Slither' jig in 165g.

Customer Marty has been catching both tuna and kings down at King Island recently. Marty has found casting to be the most productive method on both fish, with soft plastics like 'sluggos' working well rigged on a jighead, and small surface stickbaits like the nomad 'madscad' also doing the job. Natural, baitfish colours are tricking the fish when conidtions are calm.


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The natives have been fishing well over recent weeks, with many holidaying anglers getting amongst the Murray cod and yellowbelly, from Nagambie on the Goulburn right up to the Murray around Barmah. Young guns Jayden and Lester fished with their dad up at Bonnie Doon recently where they landed 5 nice chunky yellowbelly. The most productive method was fishing a small freshwater yabby on a paternoster rig, with 2/0 'shiner' style hook the best choice.


Customer Steve was fishing up around Eildon just recently where he landed this ripper Murray cod on an Icon spinnerbait. The cod measured 84cm and was in excellent condition.


Customer Andy has been up on Lake Mulwala again recently where he loves to target the cod. Andy has found the fishing a bit slower of late, with water traffic probably a bit factor. Andy has still been getting a few smaller cod like this one later during the day and into the evening on surface lures, with this purple 'cod cracker' one of his favourites.


Customer Steve has been fishing further along the Murray near Barmah, where the fishing has been patchy. Steve recently caught a few nice silver perch like this by bobbing live shrimp around the snags. Steve has been catching the shrimp in bait traps along the edges of the river, with gum leaves or aniseed scent attracting the shrimp in.


Customer Chris has recently come back from holidaying along the Goulburn River at Nagambie. Chris sent us these photos of his sons Flynn and Atticus both with their first ever Murray cod caught just downstream of Nagambie. Both the boys are well and truly hooked on fishing and are well aware of catch and 'live to fight another day' fishing.

 

Some of you may or may not have been to Hazelwood Pondage in South Gippsland over the last 12 months to try your luck on our very own 'Victorian Barra Fishery'. Things started of with a bang at the pondage and anglers were rapped on being able to successfully catch barramundi just over an hour from the city, but as we entered the cooler months of the year things started looking grim. Well fast forward to today, Victorian Fisheries have opened up an extended section of the pondage for land based fishing to all. Fisheries have confirmed that there still are barra in the pondage with fish OVER a metre in length, and that they have been somewhat confined to an area that was, until today off limits to any for of fishing.


This map from the Victorian Fisheries Authority shows the lake with restricted zones and permitted 'land based fishing zones' - with the newly opened zone in green at the top right of the map. While the access is still somewhat limited for anglers, this new section could be described as a bit of a 'hot spot' as testing has shown that the fish have been congregated in this area for some time.


If you are interested in having another shot at these fish pop into the store as the guys have been down and caught these 'vic barra' on both lure and fly and can pass on any handy tips and hot lures for the pondage, to give you a good shot at getting a fish for yourself.

 


The warm weather over the last week has seen plenty of anglers out fishing after dark, making the most of the mild nights. The squid fishing has been good around the many piers and rocks around both bays although no real monsters have been caught. Customers Jim and Harry fished with staff member George down at Flinders earlier this week where a few nice specimens were caught. They weren't monsters by Flinders standards but quality none the less. The boys also noticed lots of anglers targeting the horse mackerel around the pier with small baits under a float.


The best jig for the night was the slow-sinking Yamashita Q Live Search in pink. The tide was low at Flinders so the slow sink rate of this particular jig helped in staying in the 'hit zone' for longer, while also keeping above the leather-like weed and kelp that claims many jigs every day. These 'slow sink' jigs in 3.5 size are recommended for any shallow. heavily weeded bays like around the pier.


Over at Queenscliff customer Scott has been getting some nice squid. Scott came in store to top up his jig supplies, after losing some to the weed. Scott and mates have been getting most of their squid on a mixture of baited jigs and artificial jigs along the right hand side of the pier.


Small garfish suspended under a 'flasher' style float have been getting results, while the Yamashita Q Live 490 search jigs have also been working around the this area. The slow sinking models (blue eyes) have been good as the ground around Queenscliff is similar to Flinders and lacks the amount of tidal flow compared to places like Portsea or Sorrento.


Further back up Port Phillip, the small pier at Mornington has been producing loads of 'typical' sized squid. While there have been a few better sized squid coming from the cobblestone wall section of the main pier, they have been patchy in numbers. The small pier in front of the restaurants has been holding large numbers of these small squid, which have been a bit picky on jigs. Being so small, the most effective jig size on these are tiny little 1.5 - 2.0's, with natural baitfish patterns working when most others aren't. Start with a brighter colour to test the mood of the squid, as some nights they will hammer the brighter colours over the naturals. Staff members Dylan and Don have been at the pier catching these bait sized squid with the above mentioned jig sizes working best, and the odd one like this grabbing a size 2.5.

 


The bream fishing around Melbourne has started to heat up from the recent bit of rain we've had. The water had been very clear around the local estuaries and rivers and the fish were becoming flighty and a bit harder to trick. Now that there is a bit of colour to the water again, the fish feel a bit less vulnerable and have been going about feeding more actively and they haven't been as touchy on offerings.Customer Tony normally fishes the Patto regularly and his prediction was the fish were going to bite well this morning, and he was right. Tony fished earlier today to land 10 nice bream from 38 - 42cm. Tony fished small live freshwater yabbies on 10lb leader to land his fish, with a couple even busting him off on 10lb.


Customer Vis also fished the Patto recently with a mate, and using the same bait they landed a nice bag of bream. Vis was rapped with how successful the yabbies were when fished on the Gamakatsu 'C10U' stinger hook.


Customer Alex was down at the river during the week, before the rain where he found the fishing a bit slow. He landed some bream to 33cm and found the most productive time was about 5am as the tide was pushing in. With clear water he found the fish would bite delicately and drop the bait if any resistance was felt, with fine gauge hooks being the only way to pin them. Light leaders and almost no sinker weight was also key to getting the fish to mouth the baits for long enough to be hooked.

 


Eildon pondage is still ON FIRE for anyone thinking of heading up there. The trout fishing has been excellent, provided you are using the correct methods. Staff member George fished with mate Jim earlier during the week and they cleaned up again. With bright, sunny conditions the fish were holding a bit deeper but also biting more tentatively, with small size 14 hooks and corn kernel sized baits getting the bites. Using finely balanced coarse floats and 4lb mono gave every bit of bite detection from these fish.


Customer Zoran fished the pondage over the weekend and found some nice fish again. Powerbait and 'hatchery trout dough' was the most effective for him.


Staff member Don fished with mate Sam up on the pondage on Monday where they caught around 40 fish. Don and Sam caught a lot of school sized rainbows, with some bigger fish to around 6lb coming ashore also. The same methods have been working for all, with trout dough/powerbait the gun baits when fished on the correct hook, and a combination of sinking trout berley pellets and Stimulate fine grit berley mixture keeping the fish around.


If you are unsure of the gear being used currently at the pondage, come in and talk to the guys in store - as between them they've caught over 100 fish from the pondage in the last week alone, and these methods work excellent on all stocked lakes.

 

The whiting fishing in westernport has picked up a bit over the last week or so, with some better size fish on the go. The hot areas have been the middle spit and also the Yaringa end of quail bank. Many fish over 40cm have been around, with the average size being about 38cm. Customer Carlo got out over the weekend and got into some nice sized fish. The hot bait was fresh squid, with a few taking pipi also. The run out tide fished the best in 6m of water.


Quail bank has been producing some solid whiting like this ripper for customer Colin. Colin fished around the 4m area along the bank and got his bag of fish, with 10 of them being over 40cm. Pipi and mussel fished best during the incoming tide.

 

The western crater lakes and surrounding waterways have been fishing well of late with a good number of people interested in Bullen Merri in particular, which has been fishing well for the chinook salmon and trout. Many anglers catch both fish on various trolling methods, generally with the use of a downrigger as the lake is very deep. Fishing around the thermocline can produce good results along with actively searching for bait schools.


Friend of the shop John 'Mr Jinkai' has been out in the crater lakes recently where trout and salmon have been caught. John's most recent trip was last week where some big salmon were caught deep bait fishing. The bait of choice were pilchard strips, fished on a simple running sinker rig around the bait schools. Cubing with pilchards also helps tremendously to keep the schools of salmon around. Small metal 'flutter' jigs fished around the schools have been working well also.


Customer Ryan and mate Nick have been fishing some of the western lakes in search of some bigger redfin. The larger redfin seem to proliferate the western lakes, so if big redfin are your target - west is best! The guys have been fishing slightly bigger lures to weed out the smaller fish, with 4'' plastics and also yellowbelly sized vibes getting the interest of the larger fish. Some of the larger fish have been belting the lures as they are burnt back through the water as fast as possible, so it always pays to mix up your lure style and retrieve speed also.

 


The last few weeks have seen some good garfish activity locally, with the piers producing a few for the anglers chasing them. There have been numbers to catch if you're fishing inshore in a boat or kayak, but most of the reports have been coming from the piers and rock groynes around the eastern side of the bay. Berley is a must when targeting these fish as without it you may only get 1 or 2, whereas the use of a fine mix berley trail can result in good bags of these tasty fish.

Customer Dragon fished Frankston pier earlier this week where he got a great bag of fish. Both silverfish and maggots worked equally well when fished on size 14 hooks.


Staff member Don has also been out on the gars as well with his family. Fishing from Frankston pier over the weekend, Don managed a nice feed of gars, with silverfish being the more productive bait. A fine grit berley mixture keep going helped keep the fish biting while there were people jumping off the pier and swimming around it.

 

 


There has been plenty of talk of bluefin tuna over the last week or so, which is good as most anglers only assume tuna season is May-June. Yes they are certainly about during late autumn and winter, but some of the best tuna fishing can be had right now no matter where you're fishing for them. While many anglers may find the thoughts of finding tuna locally quite daunting, there are normally fish around within reach of offshore anglers during the summer months. These fish can be very flighty however, and trolling straight through bait schools with big lures very rarely cuts it. A lot of these fish are feeding on schools of small whitebait and pilchards or similar sized prey, so scaling down your gear and lure choices is the way to go.


James Roger from Unreel Fishing Charters has spent some time last week down fishing around Portland where he has caught some nice bluefin tuna with his sons. The tuna have been around in small numbers along the west coast, with the inshore reefs and contours holding fish.

A fair bit closer to home the tuna have been making their presence felt, with a ripper bluefin caught by James' son Dylan amongst some nice kingies just earlier this week. This nice fish was caught on a small pilchard patterned stickbait on a 3000 sized stradic reel, and took nearly 2hrs to land! The best part was this fish was caught just out from Flinders, where a few fish have been hooked - even by locals fishing from the pier.