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.

 


Now that many of the holiday crowds have come back home the estuaries have started fishing a little better out towards Lakes Entrance. The sheer amount of people on the water had kept the fishing a bit quiet and the fish a bit skittish, but now things are starting to heat back up. Around Lakes itself there has been a good amount of variety caught, from kingfish and King George whiting through to bream and flathead. Customer Josh fished around Lakes in search of nice flathead and he wasn't disappointed when a nice 72cm fish jumped on a hardbody in the shallows. The successful lure imitated a small garfish perfectly, and he caught many other flatties around 40cm on the same lure.


While many people might not expect to catch fish right amongst the crowds in the heart of town, and customer Anne proved that theory wrong. Anne fished the 'main' Cunninghame arm in front of town at Lakes Entrance and landed a ripper dusky flathead of 52cm. Anne was fishing with plastics and this was her first fish on a soft plastic, which is awesome. Customer Daniel was also fishing the shallow lagoons around the estuary mouth at Marlo where he caught some nice flatties to a similar size. The fish in this region have been gorging themselves on small prawns too, so if you can imitate them or use them you're in with a good shot!


Customers Jordan and Morgan both fished some of the estuaries around Lakes Entrance and Marlo recently, where the boys managed some nice bream. Fishing out of their kayaks, the boys had some good surface fishing with bream to 35cm taking 'deruzze' dead sticked amongst the weed, but the real winner was the Jackall 'spytail' fished with short darts and jerks along the riverbank edges. The fish would hammer the lure after a small twitch as it slowly 'died' and drifted along the drop offs.


Customer Ange fished the Gippsland estuaries in his kayak recently where he had a ball on the bream using mainly surface lures. Ange stocked up on a few different style of lure before heading away, with plenty of fish taking small prawn and baitfish imitations. The best lures were the new colour and size 'sugapens' along with small Tiemco 'deruzze' - which are both very natural in appearance and action. Ange landed some nice bream to 40cm using these lures, working them through the shallows. This surface action has not long heated up and will be on the table for a while yet, so get out there and make the most of it!


Young gun Ashie Damelio has been having a ball catching some nice black bream out in the estuaries also. Ash has been bait and lure fishing with his dad Steve and is well and truly hooked on fishing, as he's normally picking up more lures in store than dad!

 


Freshwater fishing has still had plenty going on over the past week even though we've had some warm weather. The trout fishing around the area has been good if you've been able to find a section of river with some shade and depth to it. The rivers in the Noojee region and up above Eildon are fishing well due to their altitude and cool water temperatures.

Customer Brett had a fish just out of Noojee and caught some very nice fish for the area, with both fly and lure methods working. Brett mentioned that his fellow angling friend hardly managed a fish even though fishing similar methods, mainly due to his line being far too heavy and his hi-vis work wear spooking every fish he came near to. Just remember if you can see the trout they'll be able to see you!

Customer David recently purchased some new model bladed spinners for a trout trip above Eildon and he was rapt when he got into some nice little rainbows. David fished the Howqua and found that the smallest size Mapso spinners were the go, especially in gold and black blades.


Around Eildon pondage the large fish from last week's stocking are starting to be caught. Customer Zoran fished the pondage over the weekend and caught a nice swag of both brown and rainbow trout using coarse methods. Zoran had a mixture of baits out but found the absolute standout was the specialist trout dough. Fishing small nuggets of dough on a size 12 'chinu' hook in conjunction with crushed trout pellets as berley was the go, with no bites at all on normal regulars like powerbait.


Customer Paul has just returned from a trip north where he has been tangling with some nice freshwater species. Paul has been kayak fishing up in far northern NSW and southeastern QLD in some of the impoundments, where he has been catching bass, catfish and saratoga.


Paul has found that small unweighted plastics have been the most effective in the areas he has been fishing. With lots of small frogs, yabbies and tadpoles around the weed and vegetation Paul has needed to get the lure into the structure to get a bite. The successful lures Paul has been using has been Chasebaits 'wiggle bombs' and Berkley 'bubble spears' which have both been fished on offset worm hooks and light weights.

 


For the anglers heading away out towards East Gippsland the estuaries are fishing well at present. While you may still have to move about to find some fish, the estuaries are producing some nice bream and flathead for both bait and lure fishing techniques. Customer Keith was fishing out near Bemm River recently and caught some nice bream, with some very big yellowfin bream amongst the catch. Keith caught most of his fish using ultra stealth tactics, just 1kg mono line and bass yabbies for bait.


Customer Cameron came into the store recently to gear up for targeting large flathead down at Lake Tyers. Cameron left with some lure suggestions and technique advice and went in to catch some solid fish straight away. Cameron caught some thick flathead to just shy of 70cm throughout the shallows over near the 'Glasshouse'.Small mullet imitating plastics did the trick on the flatties with the Zman plastics the main producer.


Back around Melbourne in the local Patterson River, customer Robin has been catching some bream. Robin has found that the bream in the Patto respond well after a bout of rain, which we are due for. Fishing juicy scrubworms on small circle hooks in the discoloured water has earned some nice fish to around 1kg for Robin. The next few days should be perfect for this style of fishing locally, whether it be in the Patto, Yarra or other local river.