The Western Lakes near Camperdown have been a bit quieter of late but there have still been a few fish caught by persistent anglers. Lead-lining and downrigging seems to to be the most constant producing methods but there have been some nice fish caught from the shore by anglers casting hardbodied lures into the wind.

Customer Mick returned from Bullen Merri where he caught and released over nice school sized rainbow trout. Mick kept a handful for a feed and found that the best method for him was shallow downrigging at 4m with 13g tassie devils. A variety of colours worked with added UV orange standing out on any colour.

 


The northern coastline of NSW is a popular destination for anglers as it is fairly quiet and holds a good mix of both southern and northern fish species. Popular fishing locations along this part of the coast include Brunswick Heads, Ballina, Yamba and Coffs Harbour. Customer Gary lives around Ballina and fishes the region a fair bit, and his latest beach session has seen him yield some massive tailor to 80cm. Gary has been fishing pilchard on ganged hook rigs early during the morning, with most of the fish coming while it's still dark.


Staff member Chris has just returned from a trip to Yamba, a tad south from Ballina. Chris did some fishing with his father but found the weather to hold them back a fair bit - with only 1 decent trip offshore. A good mixed bag of species were caught offshore with spotted mackerel, snapper, tuskfish, pearl perch, flathead and small whaler sharks making it to the boat. The humble pilchard did most of the damage with nearly all fish finding it heard to refuse.

 


If you're the traveling type of angler it can be very easy to pack up and give Melbourne a break over the winter months, with the potential of warm sunshine and good fishing too much to resist. Barramundi fishing is popular for Victorians during winter, whether it be the top of the NT or to northern QLD.


Speaking of the NT, customer Bob flew to Darwin with a mate to try and get into some barra and whatever else was on offer. The guys fished with Peter at NT Fishing who put them onto some nice fish. Being a barra novice, Bob stopped by for lure and tackle advice and packed some essentials with him. We are pleased to see that Bob and mate got into some fish and had fun using the gear they purchased. Among the different forms of fishing they did they got to catch saratoga and barra from freshwater billabongs, and some nice barra and threadies from the salt.


Big threadfin salmon were a common capture in the larger rivers, with some real honkers up to 10kg landed. A couple were kept for a feed seeing they are excellent eating. The threadies are suckers for 'soft vibes' fished deep in the river channels and holes.


Customer Billy has also been escaping the cold Melbourne weather for a warmer climate. Billy regularly travels to Cairns and does a fair bit of fishing while he's there. Billy came into the store just before he left and stocked up on some different lures to try on the local barra. Even though only land based Billy has managed to land some respectable barra around 70cm using the lures he purchased. The main trick has been to scroll through different lure styles to find the one that's best suitable for the conditions, with shallow and deep running hardbodies working well, along with sinking soft vibes.

 

 

 


Bluefin Tuna season has well and truly hit the states' west with good numbers of fish hitting the cleaning tables from from Apollo Bay right through to Portland. Rumors of fish a lot closer to home have surfaced as well, with reports sketchy and evidence even sketchier - but worth a look locally by the sounds of things.


Down along the west coast, James from Unreel Fishing Charters has seen good numbers of school fish to around the 15kg mark around both Portland and Port Fairy. James has been finding plenty of fish between 40m and 120m, with fish right out towards the shelf in 400m+. Hot lures at the moment have been smaller skirts from 4 inches through to 6 inches, with weighted and jet head styles holding a very consistent catch rate. Skirt colours in pink/yellow/brown and also lumo/mackerel have been real standouts with natural blues and blacks not far behind.


Out in the same area customer Mark has been catching school tuna to around 10kg on a few different methods. Trolling small skirts in squid patterns has been an easy method of hooking up but Mark has also been catching fish casting and trolling stickbaits. Mark has found the Megabass stickbaits dynamite on the fish, with their awesome castability really getting out to the fish without getting too close to them.

 

 

 


The bread and butter species like gummy shark are an excellent option during the winter months, as you are able to catch them shore based in the bays, from the surf beaches, boat fishing the bays and also offshore. The best part about this style of fishing is you don't have to go overboard, for a landbased session a surf outfit of your choice is the way to go, along with a sturdy rod holder and enough tackle for the session. 

Staff member Dylan did just this last week, took to the the ocean beaches in search of a gummy or two. A nice gummy of around 7kg hit the sand during the first hour of the run in tide, and took a fillet of freshly caught grass whiting on a single 8/0 circle hook. Picking your preferred beach during the day can give you the advantage in spotting the more likely gutters and rips, and taking the guesswork out of your fishing.  Programs like Google earth can also help you identify similar features from the palm of your hand, but just be mindful that these conditions can change subtly between aerial shots.


If the boat fishing for gummies is more your thing, then the offshore fishing at the moment has been worth getting in to. The gummy fishing just offshore from Western Port has been exceptional, with much better average sized fish coming in. Among the gummy sharks, you will also have other species like snapper and flathead to keep you busy offshore, so you can really bring back a mixed bag at times.


Frogleys Offshore Victorian Rep Gerry took his new boat out for a spin last week in search of a gummy or two while offshore conditions were good and he wasn't disappointed. Gerry landed 2 lovely fish destined for the table using the lightweight Atomic Arrowz offshore model rods.

Customer Steve also got out offshore in the same region to land a nice fish just under 11kg. Steve fished a patch of reef that he normally tries for gummies and found multiple fish around it. Locally caught couta was the best bait for the day, which were thick mid water and easily catchable on small sabiki style rigs.

 

As we enter a more typical 'winter' stage of weather with rain and bitterly cold wind squalls the trout fishing really heats up. The cold conditions and increase in river flows push the fish to really ramp up and head upstream to spawn. In the smaller rivers the small fish seem to up their ante as they compete for food and territory against larger fish. Either way it's a good time to be trout fishing!


For us around Melbourne about the largest brown trout we'll see are usually from up in the Snowy Mountains of NSW's alpine high country. Rivers like the Eucumbene, Thredbo and snowy see large fish gather and run up in their annual spawning aggregations. While rainfall in this area has been very low late during autumn there still have been patches of fish moving up. Customers Daniel and Cam fished the region last week and while conditions were less than ideal they did manage to prick a couple of nice fish on fly. Fishing small nymphs and egg patterns is the go, but the ideal outfit and rig is quite technical and very specific if you're going to actually catch the fish you're hearing about. The boys in-store can fill you in on the specifics. Larger hardbodies have also been claiming a few fish as well, with low light conditions and certain 'staging' areas to key points to focus on. 


A bit closer to home, the Goulburn and tributaries have been fishing very well over the past week or so. The low river level of the Goulburn has made accessibility much easier for anglers, and much safer than trying to wade around the edges of a torrential flow. Customer Pat flyfished the river last week and found a bunch of fish willy to eat small weighted nymphs and also dry flies. For the lure angler, now is an ideal time to fish small 'bug' soft plastics or your favourite mid-running hardbodies.


Customer Sam fished the region recently to nail a few brook trout from the Rubi. Sam walked the mid section of the river and found that while there were quite a few fish seen, they had slowed down and were reasonably hard to tempt compared to around a month ago. The fish that did lash out found aggressive trout patterned and bright UV colours the hardest to leave alone. Lures that combine some bright flaired colour with an 'eat me' baitfish pattern will rarely get refused. Sam managed to land a good number of fish and more than the other anglers he spoke to. 


Staff members Don and Dylan flyfished some of the smaller streams around the EIldon region for a few hours last week, with a more 'on water' prac session rather than a hardcore fish. Greeted with high flows and more discolouration than normal in a few rivers the fishing was tough, but small rainbows around 100g were happy to eat small flashy nymphs fished on the edge of the main flow. At the present river height and water colour, hardbodied lures are a sure thing when fished along the same areas.


Across the ditch there have been some MEGA trout caught. Viva Fishing Australia representative and Megabass Australia agent Nick fished the hydro canals around Twizel on the South Island. Nick found some chunky rainbow trout and chinook salmon fishing the canal systems, and also found that they loved soft plastics. Megabass 'Hazedong' plastics were the most effective, with an ultra realistic minnow profile and tail beat in the water luring the fish in.


Customers Goran and John have also just returned from a New Zealand trip, and they also caught some stonker trout. When rainbows over 15lb aren't the 'big' fish, you have to wonder how big the trout here get!

 


Tuna reports have been a been quiet, but mainly due to the fact that there haven't been many anglers out in search of them yet, even though there have been fishing hanging around parts of the west coast for a few months now. Most reports have been coming from the west of Portland, just beyond Cape Bridgewater. Fish size has been varied from under 10kg right through to 30kg+ school fish, and a few 'barrels' about also. Many anglers have been reporting large numbers of squid and small redbait, so lures in the 6 inch size have been perfect. Colours with a mixture of pink/red/brown through them seem to be getting the attention of the fish.

Customers Thao and Damien fished west of Portland on Tuesday where they managed a nice fish just shy of 20kg on the troll. The successful lure was a small 'jet head' style skirt in a redbait/pilchard pattern.


Customer Warren fished with some other clients aboard 'Red Hot Fishing Charters' with Simon Rinaldi recently where there were no shortage of fish caught. Plenty of school fish to 10kg were active from just beyond Lawrence Rock, with multiple hook ups a common occurrence once a school was found.

 


Trout activity in the lakes and rivers around the state is starting to heat up, as many of the larger resident fish prepare for their winter spawn. What does this mean for anglers? Well, the chance at some larger than average fish and from some pretty small water at times. These big fish can either be spooky, super aggressive or completely not interested depending on which day you get them on, but the main thing that they all seem to be driving by is the rain.

The next couple of big rain bands we're due for around the region will get the fish fired up and pushing up river. If the water in your local river rises and discolours slightly then these fish are worth a shot to catch. If you normal trout offerings aren't doing the job, try either a larger more aggressive style of lure - either soft plastic or hardbody, or drifting some egg pattern flies and nymphs past them. If you're not quite sure how to set up for this speak to the guys in store and they will explain the technique to you and show you what you'll need.


Up around the Eildon region customer Zoran has had some good trout fishing in mild Autumn conditions. Zoran has well and truly adopted the 'pre-spawn' techniques for catching solid trout - both on lures and flies. Recently Zoran has seen some nice brook trout from the Rubicon River along with some nice browns from the Goulburn. With the Goulburn running at around 2000Mgl at present, it will only get easier for anglers to fish from now until the season close. Larger, bright coloured hardbodies work in the river when the spawning fish are moving and can trigger a real 'crunching' response from some super solid fish.


Customer Anel has been for a trip up into the NSW Snowy Mountains with some of his trout fishing mates, where the brown trout have just started to trickle through on their upstream spawning movements. Anel and the boys have had some good fishing with fish to around 5lb hitting the lures. With water levels still relatively low in the rivers in the region the fish have been spooky and sporadic in numbers, but some heavy wet weather due over the next few days should get them fired up. Anel has been trying out some specialist trout lures new to the shop, and so far they have been working excellent!

 

The bream and flathead fishing both around the Gippsland estuaries has been very good recently for both bait and lure anglers. Whether you're going to nick down to one of 'The Big 3' rivers around Bairnsdale or Lakes Entrance or you're keen to drive further on out towards Mallacoota the fish have been going well. 

Friend of the shop and local Marine Accessory Distributor Trevor sent us a photo of one of his relatives with some nice bream from Lake Tyers. The bream were caught land based on a mixture of baits, with crab and worm being used.

Around the same area customer Jordan has been catching some solid bream on hardbodies. Jordan has found that the fish have slowed off a bit from shallow running lures and surface offerings, but are still very keen to smash a deeper running hardbody like the Daiwa Spike or Yakamito Devil Edge. Both of these lures will 'crash dive' to over 2m so they can be held right down where the fish are feeding.


Most of the fish Jordan has been catching have been in the mid 30cm size range, with a few nudging the 40cm mark. Deeper running hardbodies or soft plastics will gather more and more attention from the bream in the rivers as the days get cooler. These lures are perfect to slowly bump along the rock edges in rivers such as the Tambo or Nicholson.


Staff member Chris has just returned from a trip a bit further afield around Bemm River and Tamboon inlet with mates Bill and Colin. While Chris had shocking weather with gale force winds and rain while he was away, as soon as he got back to the shop the weather cleared (We'd like a dollar for every time that happened). So as the usual story goes, Bill and Colin had plenty of fun catching a good amount of dusky flathead to over 80cm while Chris was back at work.


There were plenty of excellent sized flatties caught from Tamboon and Bemm River using a variety of soft plastics. The main killers were the 'Bungee Baits' paddle tail shads which are ultra durable, which helps in the mouth of a big angry flathead or tailor.

 

There have been a few customers out fishing the estuaries of East Gippsland over the last few weeks, with the common theme being bream and tailor. The bream fishing will start to slow down as the weather cools off, but instead of numbers of fish we can expect better average size, whether you're bait fishing or casting lures.

For the tailor numbers Lake Tyers, Bemm River and Tamboon Inlet have been the hot spots with some fish reported upward of 90cm. An average fish at the moment is around 45-50cm with fish to 2kg not uncommon. Most lures are attracting their attention, which is not good if you're casting a $35+ hardbody around for bream. Baits of fresh mullet or bluebait are also doing well.


Customer Brendan fished Bemm river just recently where he scored some solid fish in the lake. Brendan found local sandworm to be the most productive on fish to 40cm.


Customer Louis returned from a quick trip to Marlo where he was lure fishing. Louis was trying out some finesse soft plastics and small vibes while fishing land based in both the Snowy and Brodribb Rivers. While the bream were on the small side, he did find that the luderick were interested in both the vibes and plastics. Fishing both these lures slowly on the bottom with small movements he caught some nice luderick. The most effective soft plastic types were very small straight tail worms designed for catching yakkas in Japan, and these were deadly when fished on small lightweight jigheads right down to size 10.


Back around Lakes Entrance customer Bashir has been catching bream. Bashir has been fishing the Tambo river where the fish had been slow, but excellent size when they came through. He found that live shrimp and peeled prawn were the best baits with both black and yellowfin bream to 40cm taking a liking to them.