The trout fishing has ramped up, right down to the wire with the looming season close. While there are only a few days left for the stream trout fishing around the state, there are still plenty of options to provide your fishing fix. The Eildon pondage has been fishing well for mostly brown trout over the past week with cooler conditions and some less rampant water flow. Customer Graziano fished the pondage recently to land a nice solid brown of around 3lb on lure. Graziano was fishing a spoon style lure fitted with rear assist hooks and it did the job.


While not really representative of our local trout fishing, customer Jason has just returned from an NZ trip chasing the super-sized trout in the hydro canals. Jason managed some lovely fish with both browns and rainbows in the mix to well over the 10lb mark. There are a few methods that successfully fool these large fish, but on this occasion the lure of larger soft plastic swimbaits was deadly. Jason found the Megabass magdraft in 5 and 6 inch sizes very effective on these large aggressive trout. Working the lures back slwoly along the canal edges resulted in the bites, with most natural trout parr or minnow colour patterns working well.


Speaking of NZ, it seems there are more and more anglers venturing over to chase the mega trout every year. Customers John, Niroj and Goran have all been over before and caught these fish but are currently over in the land of the long white cloud again chasing that 'mega' trout.


The guys have been fishing the hydro canals around the Twizel region and so far have caught fish to just under 19lb. While most of the fish this trip have been large rainbows there have been some smaller browns in the mix also, with fish of 6 - 7lb average 'small' fish.


A mixture of techniques have been working on these fish, with soft plastics and hardbodies very effective when working close to the bottom. The bulk of the fish however have been caught using a 'spawn run' egg technique that uses a variety of trout egg or 'globug' pattern flies, fished tight to the bottom. These flies are fished with splitshot and a trailing nymph pattern to entice a strike from the bigger 'lazy' fish. This technique also works well in our local rivers, especially at present as the fish start to ramp up their spawning movements.

 


While the weather here in Melbourne has been nothing short of atrocious of late, don't let it deter you as there as some SERIOUS Murray cod to be caught into the depths of winter - with the real focus coming from the large impoundments like Eildon.


Customer George came in to the store last week before heading up to Lake Eildon with one thing on his mind, big cod. George fished with a mate where they put in cast after cast, and their efforts were rewarded. Lake Eildon cod don't come easy generally and the boys had a ripper session where they boated 3 fish from 50cm through to a monster at 1.03m. The boys battled the cold conditions and relentlessly threw around big lures, and really came up trumps. Another 3 bites were had but not kept on the hook, with a mixture of lures working, at various times throughout the day and at different locations on the lake.  


The Zerek Stalker wakebait was a successful lure, landing 2 of the 3 fish when slowly knocked along the surface. The other fish and bites came on slow rolled soft plastic swimbaits like the daiwa live trout.


Another angler fishing the lake was customer Thomas. Thomas knows the lake well and knows that to catch cod here you simply have to spend the time out there casting, and have various lure setups to change up when the location changes. Thomas had a couple of bites from the lake over the weekend and manged to pin a healthy fish somewhere in the 80cm on a soft plastic swimbait. The successful lure being the Megabass magdraft with a few hook and weight modifications.


A bit further afield but using the same theory and fishing similar water angler Terry has been nailing some lunker cod. Terry has been fishing Lake Burrinjuck out near Canberra. Targeting the same sort of structure in these lakes has been a sure fire way to head in the right direction, targeting the large cod that are cruising out for food. Terry has also been fishing low light and slowly working a big swimbait along these areas has caught some ripper fish of late.

 


The good thing about fishing is that you can catch something no matter where you go that has water! A few customers have been out and about lately and catching while on holiday which is good to see. Young gun Harry was on holiday with the family in Tasmania and just had to have a fish. Fishing from one of the jetties in Hobart Harry caught a chunky bluethroat wrasse. Harry landed the solid fish on squid, which gave him a good workout on light gear.


In the states' East customer Manny has been tangling with things with teeth. Manny has been out around Mallacooota with family and has done some fishing offshore. Among the tiger flathead and snapper caught bottom bashing a hook up was had short lived, bitten off. Manny saw the culprit near the surface and cast a bait rigged on wire out and  soon enough the fish was back on. A feisty mako shark of around 30kg was brought up to the boat and the culprit was caught.


Over the other side of the globe customer Jordan has been on honeymoon in Japan. While not a fishing trip, Jordan still managed to sneak in some fishing with a guide on famous Lake Biwa. Lake Biwa is known as the 'testing ground' for many successful lures that eventually make their way to us and is full of largemouth bass. Jordan fished for the bass on a quiet day with estimated at more than 500 boats fishing one area! Finesse soft plastic techniques will now have here were the go on the day, with wacky and texas rigged plastics proving successful on a slow day. Catching fish is the name of the name in Japan, and their hard work results in some techniques that make our fishing easier!


 


Most of the estuaries out in Gippsland are set to fire up if more rain falls between now and Easter. While up until last week all major estuaries from Lakes Entrance and east were closed to the ocean. With water levels high and no clean salty water pushing in the fish can slow off the bite and be harder work to catch. They are still however there to be caught, and that's what will normally separate good anglers from those set in their ways.

Staff member Dylan and mates fished out in some of the estuaries recently and while conditions weren't ideal with wind and heavy rain the fish were certainly there to be caught. Fishing shallow mud and sand flats and finding the main holding areas for the fish was the first key, then working out the more successful lures was the next step. With an abundance of small school prawns and shrimp the surface bite was excellent. Over a day and a half around 60 bream were caught, with another estimated 25 whiting and around 60 flathead. A very small bag of fish was taken home, with some whiting, flathead and luderick keep for a feed.


Among the desirable fish were plenty of big tailor and silver trevally all equally happy to eat the expensive lures. The most successful lures were the Sammy 55, Gunfish, Sugarpen and overreal wake, which all represent small prawns and baitfish panicked on the surface. Retro-fitting these lures with small and sharp stinger hooks increased hookup rates by at least 50%, especially on the bream and whiting. Customer Daniel also fished in a nearby estuary where he landed some nice yellowfin bream from similar shallow sand flats.


Around the Gippsland lakes the bream fishing has been good if you're looking in the right areas. The main 3 rivers are producing some nice fish at present and should start fishing well for the larger fish the deeper we get into autumn. Customer Bashir and mate fished the lower tambo river to land a nice bag of fish on a mixture of baits. The most successful baits for the day were live shrimp and freshwater yabbies fished on number 8 'C10U' fly hooks.


Customer Ian also fished the region recently and found some nice bream floating about in the Nicholson river. Ian found that the best baits by a mile were live freshwater yabbies. If you're using slightly larger than normal yabbies it doesn't hurt to pull the claws off them to give the fish a good chance at hitting them and hooking up.

 


The offshore action continues around the state, with many anglers concentrating on bluefin tuna and kingfish. While the kingfish would be the harder of the two to keep on top, the numbers of tuna round have been very exciting for the next few months ahead. The West coast has been holding good numbers of tuna out from Portland all the way back to virtually Melbourne's doorstep.


Customer Tony fished out from Portland over the weekend in search of the tuna and found fish in the 20kg range. The fish were encountered from 20m depth out to around 60m of water, across to Julia Island. The most effective lures for the guys were small skirted lures in 'lumo' colour. Tony was fishing these smaller lures on lighter spin gear and lighter hooks, and he didn't lose any fish. Just remember to chose your hook correctly when changing between light and heavy tackle, or mono and braid.

Customer Jason also got into some bluefin action over the weekend, but with fish just outside of Port Phillip.heads. There have been schools of fish pushing their way up into the bay all the way north of Mud Island. With plenty of food available, there's no reason for them to not be there! Jason found casting stickbaits and poppers into the schools was most effective, with the schools giving themselves away only by the appearance of a 'shimmer' on the surface. Casting to these fish is more effective than trolling through them in many instances.


While the kingies are still about and playing hard ball customer Joel had just about had his arms removed from his body after a trip across the ditch to New Zealand. Joel fished hard for the monster kingfish that NZ in known for, and in 4 days stacked up nearly 60 fish - and all jigging! Needless to say Joel won't be performing many tasks with his arms for the next 6 months or so, but who'd be complaining!

 


Customer Travis came by the store in preparation for a trip to Darwin in search of a barra or two. Travis was searching for a multi-piece spin rod to take in suitcase form up and use casting lures for barramundi in the rivers and also for some light harbour and beach fishing. Travis ended up using the rod the entirety or the trip and it proved ideal for slinging lures about for all manner of fish. Among the fish caught were barra, threadfin salmon and blue salmon.


Some of the threadfin salmon were around a metre long and were happy to eat hard bodies and soft vibes. The 'guns n roses' colour was a stand out hardbody colour along the creek edges for barra and blue salmon, while smaller soft vibes were deadly on the threadfin in the deeper gutters and holes. These same soft vibes are also very effective on fish like black jewfish and muloway and snapper around Melbourne.


Up along the mid-northern NSW coast customer Terry has been landing some big hairtail. Terry has been fishing offshore and landing these chromed and fanged fish on bait and lure. Pilchards fished on ganged hook rigs have been the standout, but flutter style jigs have also accounted for hookups - but work out more costly when the hairtail's razor sharp fangs touch the line above. 

 


Some choice conditions over the past week or so have allowed for offshore stints for local anglers in search of kingfish, both offshore from the bays and also down the coast. The weekends weather condition were good enough to turn many anglers to offshore and the rewards were there to be had.

Customer Frank made a big run from the top end of Westernport out through the western entrance in search of kingfish. With numbers of boats in close Frank decided to look out a bit wider where he found some small schooling kingfish on the surface. Small stickbaits cast at the school resulted in hook ups, and so the technique went on. After finding a patch of nervous water out in 30m the stickbaits were on again but this time with some school sized bluefin tuna. Frank said that there were good numbers of fish about, but that they were full of very small baitfish. His 90mm stickbaits were perfect size for these fish to hunt.


The rip has been producing kingies for anglers doing the hard work but has also been somewhat patchy this season. During the week Reel Time Fishing Charters had a blinder of a session in the rip with around 20 good size kingfish landed by customers. Customer Damien has been working aboard the boat and reports that the fish have been taking live slimies and squid and also jigs between 150 - 200g. Jig colour hasn't mattered, more of correct rigging and technique to get the fish to bite.


Around the rocky shorelines and islands of Bass Strait the kingfish have been solid. The smaller fish have been prolific in numbers but moving until bigger fish are found has been the go. Customer Jason has been out chasing these fish around Welshpool and finding fish to around 15kg. Jason has been catching fish predominately on subsurface stickbaits, with some impossible to tempt falling to live slimy mackerel around the submerged reef points and swell zones.

 


While the weather this week hasn't been conducive to fishing the bay let alone offshore, there still has been some action outside. If bluewater is your thing, kingfish, tuna and sharks have been the reward. Outside the bays the kingies have been hanging around the main promontories and points - with Cape Schank, Seal Rock and Pyramid rock all good starting points to name a few. Out wider from these areas there have been makos to 100kg or so. Customers Anthony and Mark fished out from Cape Schank last week where they scored a nice little mako of around 30kg. The amount of bait offshore at present is half the reason these predators are about.


Other bluewater predators that have been lurking both locally and out of town have been good sized bluefin tuna. There have been patches of tuna out from the bays but they have been flighty and fussy in what they will eat. Along the west coast they have been in a similar mood, but in better numbers. Customer Edly got down to Portland recently to try and catch one of these large school fish. Edly caught fish to around 30kg trolling small skirts, and that has been the main key - SMALL lures. These fish have been gorging themselves on small whitebait and anchovies, and quickly show shy away from large offerings, unless you find a patch of fish on the prowl.

 


While there have plenty of active fish to be caught, many of the estuaries both local and into Gippsland are in need of a decent rain and flush - with quite a few landlocked at present. With no real rain to open up these estuaries they are closed, with warmer water than normal and not affected by tides and salinity which has turned the fish off somewhat. Clearer than normal water has also made the fish flighty, perfect if you're up for a challenge!


Staff member Dylan fished with mate Adrian down in the estuaries from Lakes onward where the fishing was tougher than normal. Fishing around Lakes and Marlo, Dylan and Adrian caught around 20 bream up to 41cm - with surface lures performing the best. OSP bent minnows and Bassday sugapens were the 2 best lures, perfect imitations of the available bait. Fishing these lures around pockets in the thick weed and over silt beds were where the fish had been holding more consistently. Many other anglers were seen but without turning a reel, but they also weren't paying attention to what bait was around and where the fish were holding.


Speaking of bait, these estuaries all had good numbers of prawns about. While they weren't huge there were plenty about to use for bait or for a snack. Most of the prawns have been from 6 - 12cm long and these are what a lot of the fish have been feeding on. Dylan and Adrian kept a bag of dusky flathead from 38 - 50cm working lightly weighted prawn pattern soft plastics around the silt beds.

 


The kingfish have definitely turned a few heads out at Portland. While a normal summer theme down along the West coast, there are very good numbers of fish around the inshore reef and structure all along the North shore, all the way to Port Fairy.

Customer Abdul got down to Portland and fished in close in his kayak chasing kingfish. Abdul noticed lots of bait and smaller kingfish out to about 20m of water. Abdul caught smaller fish on strips of squid, with a few larger fish around 10kg taken on live slimies. There have been a lot of boats in the area, so locating isolated patches of bait or structure has been a good way to get away from the crowds. Smaller poppers, stickbaits and fizzers have been good to get the attention of the fish and lure a school up to baits or other lures also.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been down along the West coast, fishing with his sons. James and the boys have been experiencing some red hot kingfish sessions, with live and dead baits, poppers, stickbaits and soft plastics all working. Lures in the 80 - 150mm size have been the best suited to the fish, with lures as small as 5cm getting eating, or as big as 25cm.


Many of the kingfish have been smaller school sized fish around 3kg or so, with fish to just under 10kg not uncommon. There have been some proper 15kg + models around, which normally earn their freedom back amongst the reef in a short blistering run. Having decent terminal tackle has still been important even on the smaller fish, as heavy drag presure can bend or break thinner gauge hooks and split rings.