Murray cod season around the country finished up just this week until later this year, but a few anglers got out and gave it one last crack before giving the fish a bit of a break. While not normally seen as the cod 'time' of year, there have been plenty of fish caught. One nice fish was caught by customer Izzy, on her first cod session. Izzy saved it until the last few days of the season but managed her first Murray cod on a spinnerbait, and even better locally in the Yarra River. Now just bring on December 1!


Up around Mulwala customer Vito fished with mates in search of a few fish before the close. With some good conditions they fished the lake and down into the Bundalong region, doing a bit of casting and trolling. The guys managed a few fish on both techniques, with swimbaits as big as 25cm catching fish - right down to lures under 10cm also. The better fish from the session was caught on the troll, and was a nice solid river fish taken on a hardbody bumping the timber.


It's not all over luckily - as Lake Eildon stays open for Murray cod fishing year round. Some of the big fish have been seen moving into shallow bays and fighting with each other for prime habitat so bigger lures have been working still. Customer Ben fished the lake on the weekend and had a 600g trout almost jump into the boat to escape a big cod lurking nearby, while the roach schools have also been a target for active fish. Customer Thomas fished the lake just recently and nailed another nice fish from the the timber - with the huge Megabass Garuda looking like a snack in comparison to the chunky fish. Thomas has been spending hours on the water casting and has found both the Garuda and Magslowl to be some of the more consistent performers on the lake.

 


If you're looking for a good quality gummy shark for the table and the weather plays ball - head offshore from the bays. The offshore gummy fishing has been excellent all winter and continues on, with the wind and swell the only real factors to consider. Heading out from either entrance in Westernport or from The Rip there is acres and acres of quality shark ground to drift or anchor near. If you're heading out from the eastern entrance like customer Steve did, you can head halfway towards Cape Paterson on the right conditions, and catch your bait and gummies out there. Steve fished a bit closer in around Cape Woolamai just recently, where he a couple of gummies to 12kg on baits of freshly caught wrasse and red mullet. Steve managed the fish in about 35m of water.


Out from the western entrance customers Benny and Damien have also been getting into the gummies. The boys fished out from the Seal Rock area in 40m of water and landed 3 nice fish between them. All 3 of the fish were around the 10kg mark and took baits of wrasse and pike caught from the area. There have also been a few snapper floating around these same reef areas as they make their migration into the bays.

 


Westernport bay has been fishing well as we roll on into the start of Spring. The main species are on offer for anglers chasing them with whiting, squid and snapper all worth the effort. While the snapper fishing is far from red hot, there are fish in the port willing to eat if you are out there looking for them. The usual late Winter areas of the port are where the fish have been, with the Corinella region to Spit Point a good area to look, along with up the North arm out from Hastings. Customers Thao and Johnny have been out making the most of the weather windows in the port and have seen a couple of fish for their efforts. Snapper to 4.4kg have made their way into the boat with fresh squid being the successful bait. 14m of water and the early stage of the run out tide were the go.


The squid fishing has been good in the port also, even with some milky water up on some of the banks after the rain. The hot spots have been the Quail and Tyabb banks, with most coming from slightly deeper grassbeds in the cleaner water. Spring is normally a great time to be out in search of the larger squid as they spawn - and the southern end of the port has already seen some nice specimens caught. As usual a variety of jigs will give you be best results rather than 'putting all your eggs in one basket' with one colour. The best thing to pay attention to when selecting jigs colours is light level in the sky and water colour.


Staff member Don and mate Sam fished out on the port over the weekend in search of some squid and they caught some up to around a kilogram. Water conidtions in the morning were ideal but as the wind picked up they were forced to fish a bit deeper off the banks in 8m where they caught some larger squid. Red foil jigs worked well on the shallower banks, with UV blues and greens doing more damage in the deeper water. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been spending time out in the port with customers on the squid grounds - with plenty of happy anglers. James has been fishing a variety of colours and sizes with blacks, green, and bright UV yellow/orange all working - just depending on light and cloud conditions. The Tortoise head area and south of Sandy Point has been excellent for numbers of squid.


While many anglers aren't really thinking King George whiting, there have been enough out in the port to keep any KGW angler happy. Numbers of fish have been good, and average sizes around the high 30cm mark to low 40cm nothing to turn your nose up at. The middle spit and Tortoise head have been excellent areas to try and where most of the fish have been coming from. The region around Balnarring and Somers has also had some quality fish but much smaller numbers of fish. Customers like Long have been catching some respectable bags of fish to around 39cm from the area on both pipi and squid. Pipi has been the standout in the shallower water with the fish really firing up before dark.

 


The late Winter rain has done wonders for the estuary fishing both locally and down into Gippsland. The local Port Phillip rivers have been fishing well for bream, particularly with bait. Customer George was fishing the Werribee river just last week where he found a few reasonable size bream, but was also pleasantly surprized when a nice 90cm mulloway decided to eat one of his bass yabbies. George managed to wrangle the fish in using very light main line and leader which was a good effort.


Members of the Keysborough Angling Club fished the Melbourne metro rivers in search of bream over the weekend with mixed results. With only a few members able to fish over the weekend there weren't a huge number of fish weighed in, but the fish that were came from the Patterson River. The Patto has been running dirty in the main river with fresh coming down from the top, but the bream have been feeding actively. Customers Paul and Dave managed a few fish around 350g from the river using mainly prawn for bait. Fishing eddies and small drop offs in the river will see you come across a few fish as they cruise out of the main current and feed at their leisure. 


Down in the Gippsland lakes there have been some solid bream on the chew as the freshwater pushes down the rivers and gets them schooling and into pre-spawn mode. The fish in the 3 main rivers have been biting well, once they have been found. Looking for downstream areas of higher salinity has been where a few fish have been hanging out lately.  Customers Brendan and Phil have been doing well on nice fish into the 40cm mark fishing the Mitchell river in Bairnsdale. The best baits for targeting these bigger fish have been cut crab and freshwater yabbies. Fishing these hardier baits generally flushes out the smaller 'pickers' and leaves a solid bait intact for a bigger fish to eat. Just make sure to match your hook style and size to the bait correctly.

 

 


While most anglers have bypassed the thoughts of tuna fishing, there have still been reports of fish coming from the West coast. Over the years the bigger tuna have moved along the coast sporadically - but around 2/3 years ago the large fish were at the best at about the same time as now - pretty much the start of snapper season. A lot of anglers were caught off guard, with the problem being that many were caught up preparing for the snapper run and not thinking big tuna. James Rogers from Unreel Fishing Charters had a ripper session a few weeks ago where he and his crew landed 2 'barrel' tuna over the 100kg mark.

Just again last week James and his crew hit the water and landed another a ripper bluefin tuna. James had his sons on the rod fighting the fish and it was successfully hauled aboard and landed. The tank tuna ate a skirt in bright redbait colour and will provide the boys with plenty of A grade sashimi. 

 


As of this Sunday 1st of September, Murray cod are off the table for anglers around the state - but there are still a couple of days to go! If you're fishing the early states of the weekend you still have a chance to land a ripper like customer Ivan did. Ivan was fishing over near Gunbower in the state's North-West when he landed this cracker on yabbies. The big fish went well into the metre mark and is true trophy status!

Never fear if you miss your chance this weekend as Lake Eildon is a year-round Murray cod fishery, and open for cod angling 24/7. The best part is that Eildon has been fishing very well for cod this winter, and should continue well into Spring. The key with Eildon cod is persistence and presenting large offering for these fish. Most of the large fish caught from the lake this Winter have been on big lures. If you are keen for an Eildon session come past the store and get your big lure fix and terminal tackle to suit.

 


While not everyone's game, there has been some excellent offshore fishing when a break in the weather opens up. There are numbers of snapper starting to move just offshore from the entrance to both bays, some excellent gummies on offer and still decent numbers of tuna along the West coast. James from Unreel Fishing Charters had a purple patch on the tuna along the West coast earlier this week, with 2 massive fish over the 100kg mark. James and his son both managed a 'barrel' each - with the monsters weighing 110kg and 140kg. There are still some serious inshore tuna out there to had when the wind and swell decide to calm down...


A little bit closer to home around the offshore reef the gummies have still been quality. Customers Johnny and Thao have been outside when conditions allow and have seen some serious gummies punching well above 15kg. There haven't been any 'hotspots' as the boys tried a new area recently and had results. Finding and plotting isolated patches of reef has been the key, with locally sourced baits also a key step. Catching wrasse and parrotfish from the reef is an excellent step in catching a solid sea-going gummy. Baits of squid are excellent for catching fresh bait, as are artificial offerings.


Small flutter-style jigs and soft plastics get eaten within metres of the reef by the wrasse species, but keeping them as  close to the bottom is key. Multi-coloured depth marked braid is excellent for doing this. Generally speaking, the most successful reef zones are outside the main entrance shelves, in the 25 - 30m depth or wider around 40 - 45m. At this depth there is plenty of bait and food for cruising gummies.

 


During bouts of calm weather the offshore gummy fishing has been excellent. The bays have been producing good numbers of gummies for anglers but the offshore fish have been of better quality. Customer Dave and mate Gawaine fished out from Phillip Island recently in slick conditions to land some nice gummy and school sharks. The average fish ofshore at the moment has been around 15kg, with much larger fish to 25kg or so frequently encountered. Dave and Gawaine plotted a small section of reef and after working out the layout they anchored up and started collecting bait. Fresh chunks and fillets of parrotfish and wrasse along with pike did the job on both the gummies and school sharks, so make sure you are adept at catching fish like these fish fresh bait if you venture offshore.


If landbased fishing is easier for you, then gummy fishing can be good. There have been plenty of land based options for these sharks around Westernport in particular. Customer Brendan has been landing gummies table sized gummies to around 7kg from the shore along the eastern side of the port at locations such as Corinella, Tenby Point, Lang Lang and Grantville. The region from Lang Lang through to Reef Island is good for targeting gummies as there are plenty of mudflats for the fish to patrol during the night, and they can be routinely caught if you pay attention to your tides. Brendan has been landing gummies on a variety of baits, with pilchard, pike, trevally and mantis shrimp all working well after dark.

 


Some clean weather has let anglers out for a break to catch some squid. The squid fishing hasn't been red hot but has been fairly consistent in both bays but the standout has been Port Phillip bay. Southern Port Phillip has been the go-to around Rye and Sorrento, but there have been good reports coming from Frankston and further south around Mornington. Customer Thao fished the Rye region recently with a mate and they found some nice squid for their efforts. Fishing the banks in 4m of water was the go, with multiple squid taken from single drifts. The killer jigs were the Hayabusa 'Aussie' specials in red whiting and black oil in size 3.0.


Customer Justin has also been making the most of the good quality squid about in southern Port Phillip. Justin has landed some nice squid to over 2kg from the Portsea - Rosebud region, with the bigger ones holding deeper in the fast tidal water. Justin has been fishing baited jigs in the shallows and 'tip run' deep jigs in the depths. Size 3.5 jigs in dark greens and purples have been good towards Portsea and UV white a standout back in the shallows off Rosebud.


Across Bass Strait customer Zach has been going hard on the squid. Zach has been fishing King Island from the rocks and piers and has been landing squid to around a kilo. Zach has been liking the white red head Shimano Sephia along with the Yakamito 'lemon' colour in size 3.0 and 3.5. The best time for Zach has been an hour or so around sunrise, with the light level change a real hot bite time.

 


Many anglers assume murray cod fishing is reserved for the warmer months of the year, which may be the case for some rivers when chasing numbers of smaller fish - but the depths of winter as the time to be targeting the larger fish in the dams and impoundments. Lake Eildon just 2 hours from the front door of the store has been producing some lovely murray cod for persistent anglers casting lures. Customer Thomas managed to land an awesome fish from the lake just recently, being a chunky 1.04m. Thomas has spent many hours on the lake in search of fish like this.


Thomas has been casting large swimbaits in both hard and soft plastic, and the big bait big fish theory is definitely paying off. Large swimbaits in the 7 - 10 inch mark haven't been too big for these big predators to fully swallow. The trick has been to fish them very slow and deep along the banks and ledges where the big fish are cruising.


Staff member also fished Eildon just recently to land a nice healthy fish from the Jews creek arm of the lake. Dylan persisted away with weighted swimbaits and while only 1 bite was had, it turned out to be a solid fish. Finding suitable depth edges with bait schools nearby on the sounder has been a good starting approach. 


Fishing swimbaits can be a good way of tricking some of the large cunning cod in the lake. With the natural profile of many of the swimbaits, both soft and hard - and their enticing action these fish can be tempted to engulf the lure during the first retrieve. Dylan, along with other anglers has found that although these large fish can be aggressive many swimbait 'bites' can be quite subtle - so the use of high quality gear that transmits as much feel as possible is a must. The best part of this style of fishing is that Eildon can be fished this way for murray cod all year, and the next few months should be as good as the last.