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.

 


We are nearing the prime time of the year for fishing the fresh, with trout and cod the main targets. The trout will fire up as conditions cool off and send them looking to feed up prior to spawning, and the big cod start coming out to play in search of some big meals like trout, redfin or carp. The only species not super high up on the list especially locally are golden perch, but someone didn't tell that to customer Aliff.

Aliff was fishing with his dad out along the Goulburn and Acheron rivers in search of a trout, when they came across a surprize. Aliff fished a small sinking hardbody alongside a snag and was smashed by a nice yellowbelly! At just under 50cm and from 'trout' water is was a massive surprize and something that has to be seen to be believed!


Meanwhile on the banks of the pondage there have still been quite a few nice trout getting caught. As usual the dough bait and coarse berley method has been the most successful. A few fish have fallen to lures in between, with the most productive lure styles being small spoons and soft plastics. Blue Fox 'Moresilda' spoons have proved to be an excellent new option and ideal size, with small paddle tails and craws being the dominating soft plastic styles in the corner of the trout's jaw.

Customer Zoran fished the pondage over the weekend where he landed a brace of nice trout to around 3lb. Zoran caught a mix of browns and rainbows on 'specialist trout dough' and powerbait. Zoran found a nice back eddy along the Eildon township side of the pondage and proceeded to catch all of his fish in the area.


Up on the lake there have been a few Murray cod caught on bait and lures. While there haven't been any monsters reported yet, we are now coming into the prime time to start looking for the larger fish. Customer Laci fished the lake last week and had a bunch of scrubbies on the side while kicking back, which were taken by a nice 50cm cod. Fishing amongst the vertical timber right inside the inlet was where the action was.

Along for recent some Murray cod action was customer Peter, who caught a few cod to 70cm from Mulwala. Peter was slow rolling spinnerbaits around the timber on the Mulwala side of the lake to catch his fish. Mixing up blade colours and shapes is a good thing here, as sometimes you will find one particular colour and vibration that the fish are well and truely keyed in on.

 


The snapper have been actively feeding out from Mornington through to Mt Martha over the past few weeks, with fish to over 7kg out there to be caught. Fishing depths of 17 - 22m have been the best bet, and you pretty much have to be out early as the bite is all but over by about 8am.

Customer Charlie fished out wide of Mornington after a snapper recently and turned up a nice fish just under 4kg. Charlie was anchored in 21m and found that pilchard got the bite. Cubing with small pilchard chunks or '100% freeze dried pilchard mix' has been crucial to lure the fish in towards the baits.

Further up the bay there have been some solid pinkies roaming about on the mud also occupying the reef sections. Customer Ryan has been catching fish to 2kg or so in as shallow as 3m of water between St Kilda and Black Rock. Ryan has been catching fish on cubes and chunks of freshly caught slimey mackerel and yakka along with 'tear resistant' TPR style soft plastics. The main reason for the high catch rate of this style of soft plastic over others is their natural buoyancy and 'hang' above the bottom - right where the fish can see them. Jighead weights from 1/8 to 3/8oz are needed depending on wind and depth changes.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been making the most of the abundant pinkies and school snapper around the eastern side of the bay. James has occasionally been fishing around Black Rock but mainly between Frankston and Mt Martha where there are good numbers of fish. Many school fish have been 35cm through to 1.5kg, with a few up to 4kg floating about in the shallows. Fishing just off the reef in 9m of water and slowly trickling pilchard berley has been a key to keeping the school active. Pilchard and squid have been the better baits.

 


With the onset of Autumn weather the squid and pinkies have well and truly come into action. The larger squid should come into their own around the southern end of the bays with the cooler water temperatures. Customer Angelo fished from Flinders pier during the week to land a couple of solid squid and a cuttlefish on size 3.5 Clicks jigs in colour 17.


The Mornington region has been fishing well for hordes of smaller schooling squid. While the pier itself has been producing lots of squid, the adjacent rocks and points have also been holding large numbers of slightly larger squid. If you're going to fish the pier here small jigs are the go. Size 1.8 has been the most consistent performer here, especially if you rig them up without a sinker. These jigs are designed to sink at a slow rate and precise angle, and usually adding them to a paternoster rig decreases catch rates.

Staff members Don and Dylan have been catching numbers of squid from around the pier and rocks, with 2.5 size jigs working well in the windier conditions, in all variety of colours. Customer Jordan also fished the rocks nearby to land hs 10 squid in short succession on 2.5 size jigs in brighter colours.


The massive schools of pinkies have been biting well around most reefy sections of the bay. The Black Rock area has been holding big numbers of fish to around 40cm. Customer Stephan and mates fished the area during the week and managed a nice mixed bag of pinkies, whiting and squid. The guys fished in about 10m of water, with pilchard and squid the two best baits.


The Autumn run of pinkies are perfect for targeting on soft plastics. With large groups of fish hanging around the structure it normally takes no time to get a bit from them. Smaller plastics in around 2.5 - 3.5 inches are the best starting point, whether curl or paddle tail type. Fishing these plastics on jigheads of 1/8 to 1/4oz will get you down to the fish even in the windiest conditions in the shallows. A big tip if new to this style of fishing is to make sure you are using a hi-vis braided line to pick up on subtle bites as the lure is sinking.


Customer Ryan has been having good sessions on the pinkies on plastics out from Williamstown and Black Rock recently. Ryan has been targeting the schools in around 8m of water along scattered reef and has been fishing a mixture of plastics. Some days the fish have been holding very tight to the reef so he has been using a weedless hook setup to get the lure to them. He has been finding a slow wind a slight 'shake' the best way to entice a bite from the fish .

 


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!

 


The Goulburn river has been a popular spot of late, and has been providing some fishing variety. From it's clear headwaters and alpine trout right down to the wide and turbid shape it takes on further towards the Murray river, the river has been producing fish. Customer Chris fished around the Nagambie region with his son Atticus just recently. Chris purchased a rod and reel outfit for Atticus and he managed to land his first Murray cod from the river here.Good work Atticus!


Customer Le also fished the lower region of the river and caught a couple of nice Murray cod from the bank. Le was fishing live freshwater yabbies on 'shine' style hooks weighted with a small ball sinker. Le said the bigger yabbies were only getting bites if they had one or two claws missing.

On the trout front, the river is back to a lower 'environmental' flow and more fishable for the average person. Customer Brett fished the upper reaches of the river just last week with the fly rod where he caught some very solid fish. Dry flies like hopper patterns and stimulators were getting looks from the fish. Brett found other anglers nearby fishing without success, but he also noticed that they were wearing hi-vis clothing and walking up the middle of the river. Stealth is the game when targeting river trout!


Customer Chris and Stewie fished the river around Thornton when the flows were still right up were they landed a few fish on lures. The guys were fishing soft plastics and found that natural coloured plastics were getting more interest than brighter patterns. As the river is low again now bright, aggressive patterns are worth a throw as they will illicit more of a 'reaction' bite from the fish rather than a food response, especially when they are forced into deeper runs and pools.

 


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. 

 


The gummy shark fishing has been good in both bays and offshore recently, with fish ranging from just size and perfect table sized fish through to large fish in the 20kg range. In southern Port Phillip there have been some quality fish to 20kg roaming the channels and pushing up the bay. Fishing around the channel out from Rye customer Peter landed a solid gummy of around 11kg on freshly caught squid. The latter stage of the run was when Peter caught his fish.


Out wide from Mt Martha and Mornington there have been a few nice sized fish caught while chasing the snapper also. Customer Bashir scored a nice fish of around 5kg on pilchard doing exactly this.


The shores of Westernport have been producing fish for customer Anel. Anel fished with his brother and a few mates over the weekend to land a brace of nice eating sized fish. Anel has been fishing with pillies and squid down at Stockyard Point and Lang Lang around the bottom of the tide to score his fish. Fishing after dark has been the most successful time especially when the tides coincide.


Customer Bill has also been landing some ripper gummies while fishing the southern end of Westernport. Bill has been fishing for the larger fish that enter the port and use the southern channels, with most of the fish coming from buoy 6 towards Flinders bank. Bill has been finding fresh slimey mackerel the most effective bait but fresh squid has also accounted for one of the fish during the run out tide.


Out from Port Albert customer John landed some nice gummies using a variety of baits, with pillies the most effective and getting the most bites. John landed a couple of nice eating sized male gummies around the 9kg mark while fishing over the shallow inshore sand and rubble out from the entrance.

 

With some calm weather during the week and over the weekend, there has been more offshore action for customers. Kingfish are still on the cards both in the rip and also around the main promontories and headlands. Bluefin tuna have been moving past with the odd fish caught from just offshore from the bays. Over in the west of the state the tuna and kingfish are still active from Portland back to Warnambool. Customer Jason fished out from Port Fairy over the weekend in search of tuna and kings, and while the kingfish were slow tuna to 20kg were landed. Casting poppers and stickbaits to small patches of rippled water was the method in catching the tuna as they weren't easy to see any other way.

Locally the kingfish have still been active, but not red hot. A bit of work is required when searching for these fish but when they are on they will have a crack at just about everything. Customer Patrick got into kingfish to 11kg out from Cape Schank over the weekend trolling livebaits. While may have been finding fish in tight to the reef structure, there have also been fish out wider on the contours and small patches of hard ground off the point.

The rip has produced some kingies during the week, with the average fish around 7kg. Customer Rhass fished aboard Reel Time Fishing Charters and landed fish around this size. Live squid have been the most effective way to tempt these fish, with jigs also landing some fish once the schools is aggravated. Religiously monitoring the baits and keeping them right amongst the fish is a constant jobs, but it will mean the difference between fish and no fish. Colour-marked braided lines make this task easier, as they will help in giving you a visual reference for when the bait nears the bottom or strike zone.