The west coast continues to produce tuna for the anglers out in search. While there has been no shortage of school fish there also has been a good number of 'barrels' about to keep the keen hunters keen. Customer Jason fished with mates recently and was involved in the capture of a barrel in the 150kg range out from Portland. Even though these big fish are normally actively hunting schools of redbait and pilchards, this fish had an undersized pinkie in it's stomach. Bright pink and red skirts have subsequently been productive out from Portland lately.


Customer Damien also headed down to Portland with mates in search of some more school fish, which he caught easily. While many anglers are venturing out towards the 'horseshoe' out along the shelf in search of these fish, there have been plenty in mush closer. Starting your search in around 50m has been good, and also puts you in with the chances of a 'barrel' - as they as normally frequently found in this 50 - 70m depth line. A mixture of lures did the job on fish to 12kg, with JB micro dingos and Bluewater classics the standouts. Colour variations between lumo, pilchard, bright pink and almost all others in between all did the job.


Customer Rocky came past the shop to grab some last minute lures suggestions and terminal gear before hitting the fish off Portland. Rocky and mates got stuck into the school fish with most weighing around 12 - 15kg. Trolling small skirts in the 4 - 6 inch range has been been the most productive, with a mix of dark and light colours going well. Rapala's new XRAP Extreme also caught fish as it can run truer at a more 'enticing' speed for the tuna.

 

 


The salmon numbers have been increasing over the past weeks, both on the beaches and also in the bay from the piers and rocks. Nearly all of the beaches have been performing well with the average size of the fish around 1kg. Customer Mark has been catching some nice fish out on Venus Bay beach number 1 on both bait and lure.


Customer Mario has also caught some ripper salmon on the beaches lately. Mario fished the surf around Lakes Tyers and found the gutters holding some really solid fish. Mario found bluebait the most effective with fish to over 2kg happily eating full sized baits. The run in tide was the most productive time, especially with low light around dawn giving the fish some cover to feed.


Members of the Keysborough Angling Club fished the beaches from Kilcunda to Williamsons just recently, with over 60 fish landed by anglers. The average size of the salmon were around 900g each, with customer Norm landing the biggest fish at 2.5kg. Bluebait and salted pilchards were the most effective bait, with a few fish taken on surf poppers in various colours and also on plastics. Fishing the popper/plastic combo on the bottom hook keeps the sand crabs away from the baits and if you are using the TPR 'bungy baits' the crabs can't even tear your plastic up!


Staff member Don has fished the surf during the week and caught salmon to just under 1.5kg. Don has fished Gunnamatta and has found good numbers of fish moving along the beach, from gutter to gutter. As usual berley has been the difference between catching 1 fish or holding the school around to catch a lot more. Pellet berley layered with freeze dried pilchard is the way to go, especially if made before time and let to soak with some extra oil.

Don found the salmon most happy to eat half bluebait, with double headers on twin hook paternoster rigs not uncommon. Spinning with 40g and 60g slugs was also very productive around the edge of the gutters, especially when the swell started pumping. Fishing the metal lures with corded assist hooks was the best way of keeping the fish hooked up.

 


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 autumn run of salmon is starting to show up both along the beaches and inside the bays, with varied size fish getting around. The back beaches of Gunnamatta, Kilcunda and Venus Bay are all producing fish, with some nice fish to 3kg turning up. Inside the bay the fish have been moving along the eastern shoreline from Portsea to Mordialloc as onshore winds condense the bait for them. Customer Aziz has been catching some thumpers as they make their way past the piers, with some really sold fish around 3kg getting around. Aziz has caught fish from Sorrento to Patterson river, with weather conditions dictating where to fish. The most successful lures for Aziz have been small pencils and stickbaits that imitate garfish and whitebait.


Around the eastern seaboard there have been schools of salmon working the shoreline gutters and inlets. The mouth of Patterson River, Seaford pier, Mordialloc pier and Frankston piers have all been worth a look, especially during or after a strong onshore (southwesterly) wind. The poor baitfish really get pinned in by these strong winds, which gives the salmon an easy meal. Customer Scott got down to the mouth of Patto and found a school of small fish keen to eat plastics. The tip for catching these fish in calm conditions is to down scale your plastics to small offerings in the 2 - 3 inch size, matched with 1/12th through to 1/6th jigheads.


The beaches around the Bass coast have been starting to produce some nice salmon. Customer Mark has been fishing Venus Bay and has been landing fish to around 1kg. The small gutters and holes in close have been holding small numbers of fish which have taken bluebait and pilchard. A light berley trail consisting of pilchard mix and medium size pellets has been the key to catching multiple fish before they move off. When conditions allow small plastics and metal stickbaits have been working exceptionally well also. The best performers have been the Yakamito 'live fry' and Bungy Baits 'viber'.

 


The salmon have no signs of slowing up, whether you're on the ocean beaches or bayside around the piers and river mouths. September is normally a good time of year to be chasing them for prime snapper baits, as spring wind and rain keep them about. On the beach scene, Venus Bay is still the spot, with customer Mark still smashing the fish on bait and lure. Mark has said that this is the best salmon season he has had in the last few years at least.


A bit further down the road along the 90 mile beach customer Michael has been enjoying some quality salmon fishing. Michael came in store to stock up and decided to try out some 'bungee grubs' among flasher rigs and extra surf poppers, and he wasn't let down. Fishing in a local competition, Michael ended up taking out the title and gaining the attention from surrounding anglers when his huge salmon were landed on the grubs. Needless to say Michael was well and truly sold on the idea of plastics in the surf for the salmon, especially when they're crab-proof!


Around the local piers the salmon have been making their presence felt, with schools popping up left, right and center along the shores of the bay. Up towards the mouth of the Yarra the fish have been roaming about in the dirty water eating anything unfortunate to be in their path. The piers around the Williamstown esplanade have been producing fish to 1.5kg when fished with small, whitebait imitating soft plastics. Customer Lilong fished around the top end of the bay and over the other side across to Bawron to land fish just under 2kg on a mixture of metal jigs and hardbodies when conditions were windy, and soft plastics when the wind was down.


From the mouth of the Patterson river right down to Blairgowrie the salmon schools have been pushing baitfish right in close where they are being caught from shore. The fish from Carrum to Frankston have been on the smaller side averaging half a kilo, while down the southern end of the bay there have been some monsters caught. One of the larger fish we've heard of weighed a genuine 4kg! At this size they're serious opponents and will strain most muscles to aching point.

Customer Tony fished from Blairgowrie during the windier conditions last week to land fish up to about 2.5kg. Tony found that the fish were picky and only wanted baits fished back to them, with each fish coughing up berley to keep the rest around. Customer Jerome also fished the pier this week where he found some salmon to 2kg in amongst the moorings. The fish were actively cruising and ate small, baitfish imitating hardbodies and metal lures when a long cast was needed. Lures with pink/white patterns imitate the small prat and baitfish well. 

 

 


While many angler may not the King George whiting on their mind for a good few months yet, the start of spring and initial snapper run normally signals the 'unofficial' start of the whiting season. While large bags of fish aren't as common, the much larger 'winter' condition fish are worth targeting while there's generally few people on them. The fish aren't generally up on the banks and flats like in summer - more often residing in the deeper, colder waters closer to Bass Strait. Moving about like you would on a normal whiting session is again the key to putting a bag of solid fish together. The areas of Westernport worth looking around at the moment are from Flinders to Balnarring and around Vetnor, and the southern end of the middle spit around Tankerton and Stony Point. In Port Phillip the Queenscliff - St Leonards region and Portsea to Mt Martha have been the go/


Customer Carlo and mate fished across near St Leonards recently where they found some nice sized fish. After a few moves the guys had a decent bag of fish, with averaging just shy of 40cm and nice and fat. Pipi and fresh squid were the best baits when fished on number 4 worm style hooks. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been catching some quality whiting around southern Port Phillip bay, with plenty of fish over 40cm present. The larger fish have been moving in smaller schools and have to be made the most of when they come through. Having enough baits at the ready and a small amount of organized berley, along with extra pre-tied rigs will make sure you make the most of the hot 10 minute bite windows.


Not far away customer Josh and friends got some nice fish around Queenscliff. Fishing around 7m of water saw them with a nice bag of fish, with pipi the standout. Along the same ground there were some quality squid which all hammered a size 3.0 'abalone white' Hayabusa jig.

 


As many keen trout anglers would know, the Victorian river season opens up after midnight THIS Saturday. While it's been a long close for those keen to hit the streams, there have still been some fish caught. The rivers are running at fairly consistent levels and with a bit of snow melt yet to come they should stay cool and favourable for the fish for a long while yet.

For lake based anglers, some nice fish are still coming from Eildon pondage.


Friends of the shop Greg and Mark fished the pondage recently and while conditions were cold there were some stocky trout caught. Casting lures from the Bourke Street section of the lower pondage resulted in some nice rainbows to around 1.5kg. Spoons and small tassie devils have been effective with retro-fitted with ultra sharp assist style hooks.

Around the local lakes, customer Chris took his two sons down to Karkarook Park in the hopes of catching them a trout. Chris stopped by the store for all the stocked-lake essentials and soon after young Atticus had his first trout on the line. The successful method was to fish a mixture of trout dough and powerbait, with specialist trout pellet berley. Both of Chris's two sons have placed birthday present orders of new trout rods since!

 


While it's still early days - there are snapper out there to be caught! The weather we have had over the past month hasn't helped any anglers to get out, but with some nice weather over the weekend the odd fish was caught. While the fish aren't and won't be red hot for a while, the chance of a better fish of 6-7kg is a greater, with larger fish a real possibility. These fish aren't as active as they will be once the water warms up, but they are certainly worth the effort.

Baits of freshly caught squid or pilchard are hard to beat early season, with the odd fish falling to a fresh flesh bait of mackerel or couta. Other options in tricking snapper are various lures. While many dismiss them as 'ineffective' they can be deadly - given that you've picked the right one for your scenario. While soft plastics are the most popular option, excellent early season offerings are deep running hardbodies and hybrid softvibes. Deep running trolled lures bring out the 'savage' nature of a snapper, with bone crushing and rod-jolting strikes. The advantage of slowly fishing a lure such as a softvibe along the bottom is that the snapper can hunt using their lateral line, with subtle vibrations coming from the lure imitating a small struggling baitfish or crustacean. Jarrod Day has found the softvibe option to be particularly effective early season on schooling reds.


Out in westernport the fish have been there for the taking. Customer Johnny got out for an early look around the upper reaches of westernport and was rewards with a nice 6kg fish for his efforts. Freshly caught squid was the bait of choice sitting shallow in the murky water.


Not too far away, customer Jo managed to land a lovely 6kg+ fish from a westernport back channel. The solid fish was caught not far from Elizabeth Island, and squid did the job.

So while we're just leaving winter, start getting organized for the snapper as the season will be here in full swing sooner than you know!

 


It's mid August and again trout season for the rivers and streams is fast approaching here in Victoria. While the rivers are still closed for a few weeks yet there's still plenty happening on the trout scene for anglers to get amongst! Emma from the Women In Recreational Fishing group recently went up to Eildon to fish the lake, and although it was foggy, overcast and freezing cold she did manage to get into some lovely brown trout. Many of the browns from the lake here spend their time in the open water and take on a very pale brown/silver appearance, with not as many spotted markings as their river cousins. For those fishing the lake, the ever reliable tassie devils have still been producing, especially when upgraded with ultra-sharp assist hooks.


Customer Paul also got into some open water brown trout, although down at Blue Rock Lake. Paul was fishing from his hobie kayak where he slow trolled tassies around the drop-offs and timbered edges of the lake to land some trout to around 45cm. Paul found all of the fish to be actively feeding in the open water, and have the same pale silvery appearance. The best tassie on the day was the no55 pink, fished on 'Dancing Jack' assist hooks.


On the bait fishing scene, there have still been some nice stockies coming from the pondage. Customer Simon came into the store to stock up on the essential ingredients for successful fishing around the Eildon area. Simon found a bag of nice rainbows from the lower pondage using the coarse method and specialist trout dough for bait.

Down at Karkarook Park there have been trout on offer for those fishing the same methods. Customer Sarah and her son Harry fished the lake recently where Harry managed some lovely rainbow trout. The best method was again the berley/feeder cage method and a powerbait/trout dough bait concoction.


A fair bit further south in Tasmania, Matt Sheriff reports that the Tassie trout season has started off well. Matt has been using his Hawk 'sniper' hardbodied lures with great effect on some solid lake trout. Many of the colours were working well but the standout have been the gold 'spawn belly' models, with some of the fish really hammering the lures on a 'stop-start' jerking retrieve.

 


In amongst the rough weather, there still have been some nice squid caught. The trick has been to fish the shore where the wind hasn't been smashing against, and try to avoid the dirtier water. Lately areas like Beauamaris have been sheltered from the northerly winds, along some of the shore from Somers to Flinders has been worth fishing also. Customers Jo and Cipto fished Beaumaris during the week to score a good bag of squid. The boys found that white and green/red jigs worked well for them in the cleaner water.


Speaking of the Flinders region, customer Damien scored a cracking squid from the pier during the week. Damien found the water clarity to be quite good so persisted with a bright 'chartreuse shrimp' colour in the new Owner Draw4 series and he was rewarded with the big squid. Brighter colours like chartreuse and pink/purple are normally good options to try in cold, clear water for larger squid.