The summer bluefin tuna fishing locally has been good for anglers fishing offshore, and now the autumn run has started up in numbers in the west of the state. While there have been patches of fish locally and just offshore from the bays, the fishing around Portland and Port Fairy has really started to heat up. With autumn conditions normally better than winter now is an excellent time to be out in search of the bluefin. The numbers of school fish have been excellent fishing out from Port Fairy and also Warnambool, and perfect to cast smaller stickbaits and popper at. Victorian EJ Todds Representive Mitch has been out catching fish to about 30kg on stickbaits in close from Port Fairy over the past few weeks.


There has also been an outstanding number of 'barrels' caught out from the same area. Fish have been found in water from 80 - 12m out to the west of Portland. Most of the fish have been in the 90 - 120kg range and have been taken on both skirts and also hardbodies. Customer Phil and mates landed a barrel from the area last week and also heard of a few more. Skirts in the lumo and black colour have been good, and hardbodies representing sauries and red bait have been good.

Customers Vince and Carlo fished out from Portland last week and managed their bag of bluefin and also a couple of dolphinfish. These fish came from the horseshoe region.

 

 


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!

 

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.


 


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.

 


The west coast of the state is fishing well for a multitude of species at present, with the offshore scene really on fire. The Port Fairy and Portland region has been red hot for kingfish and tuna with loads of bait around. There have also been some big sharks lurking out wider for the anglers chasing them. Customer Tony popped in to the store to pick up some supplies and lure variety before hitting the North shore, and Tony and mate had a ball on the kingfish. While most of the fish have been 'rats' the guys did hook up to larger fish in the 10kg range that blitzed them on the shallow reef. Tony found squid strips and white 'Bungy Baits' in the 5 inch model the most productive of the lot.


The bluefin tuna have been found by anglers fishing for the kingfish in as shallow as 10m of water. While the tuna have been caught amongst the kingfish there have been better numbers of fish out to around 50m of water. These fish can be very fussy however and many are seen simply 'cruising' or sunning themselves. With the abundance of small baitfish, small lures are the go. The odd fish will take a normal 5 - 6 inch lure, but a lot of the summer food are small whitebait so lures as small as 2 inches have been catching fish. Customer Aaron fished out from Portland over the weekend to land some thumper bluefin to around 30kg. Aaron found trolling smaller skirts was the best method of hooking these fish.


Customer Bruno was down at Portland recently and found himself a nice little mako shark. With the amount of food about, the sharks have been active - with bronzies, schoolies, threshers and makos all making an appearance. There has been plenty of larger bait out wider with slimies and salmon providing good fresh shark baits. A bit further back towards Melbourne customer Anel spent the weekend catching heaps of salmon from the beaches and rocks. Anel found some lovely salmon to 1.5kg hanging around the deeper gutters back towards the Great Ocean Road.

 


This is the time of year to be out targeting cod and yellowbelly at places like lake Eildon. The warming and rising lake levels really bring these natives on the go, as they patrol the edges looking for the baitfish that push into the shallows. The cod of the lake are normally aggressive around this time of the year as they look fend off rivals and intruders from their spawning areas.


Customer Ash and his cousin fished lake Eildon over the weekend in search of a yellowbelly or possibly a cod. After trying a few options, large freshwater yabbies were deployed and they were the flavour. The guys fished the Big River arm and ended up with an 87cm cod and some solid yellowbelly in the 60cm size range. Not a bad way to spend a weekend!


Targeting the yellowbelly of the area or in other regions, you need a mix of bait options and also lures sizes. Yellowbelly can be very aggressive and inquisitive towards large offerings but also very finicky and shy away from all but the smallest lure or bait like tiny river shrimp. Like all forms of fishing, having a few different options to get you off the mark is the way to go!

 


The trout fishing has really turned it on for anglers over the past few weeks since the opening, and there have been plenty of fish caught in the lakes during the week. The Eildon region is still well worth a drive to either fish the lake, pondage or rivers.

Customer Adam caught an absolute cracker brown from Lake Eildon recently, from the Jew's creek area. Adam caught the fish on a Yakamito 'slim minnow' in brown trout colour. This particular lure is nearly 10cm long, which shows that trout are not afraid to hit larger offerings, especially in rival trout patterns.


Also fishing the Lake, customer Mick had a weekend away with some mates and while the fishing was relatively slow there were still some nice fish caught. Mick managed a couple of browns around 1kg on the troll. Mick tried a few different options but the ever-faithful pink Tassie Devil got the job done. Something about a bright coloured lure, especially pink really gets the attention of the trout. One of the trout was hooked in the pec fin so the fish may still be running a late spawn and showing aggression towards anything in their space.


The pondage at Eildon is still fishing well for the large rainbows that have been lurking since opening weekend. These big fish will eat a fairly big lure if you are spinning, so don't be afraid to tie on something big, bright or just different to what you would normally use. Customer Nicole fished the Burke Street end of the pondage recently to land a thumping big rainbow around the 10lb mark casting lures. Fish of this size are capable of eating a lure or soft plastic 15cm long or so, and often the large 'main course' offering will get a more aggressive strike than the 'appetizer'.


Back in the local lakes, most of the suburban stocked lakes will be receiving a top up stocking any day now - just in time for School Holidays. Down at Karkarook Park, customer Ismail tried his hand at 'coarse' style baitfishing and caught a couple of small rainbows. While these fish can bite their heads off when they are berleyed into a frenzy, incorrect tackle and rig setup and the lack of a mixture of dough style baits will see most go fishless. There are plenty of anglers who catch consistently in these stocked lakes, through proper setup and persistence.

HOT SPOT: If it's trout luring you're after - the Eildon region is hard to beat. For a nice casual fish with the kids, Lakeside in Pakenham has just been stocked with 500 rainbow trout which will respond well to the coarse angling methods.

 


Many keen anglers relish the start of the spring weather, as with the warmth comes the multitude of species waking from a winter docile state. Anglers in the know will out looking for freshwater natives such as bass and yellowbelly as they become more active. This is especially true with the yellowbelly, and generally the very best fishing for them will occur over the next 8 or so weeks.


Customer David has been on the lookout for the 'yellas' around some of the stocked lakes and has been catching fish to around 2kg on lipless crankbaits. Yellowbelly really hone in on these lures and the spring 'vibe' bite can be red hot when you find a patch of fish hungry and hunting. 


Customer Ryan has also been catching some nice yellowbelly over the past week, with the biggest weighing around 4kg. Again the lure of choice for Ryan has been a lipless crankbait, but there are also plenty of other successful options for the thinking angler to try; Small spinnerbaits and jig spinners, floating crankbaits with 'double' hooks, swim-jigs, and carolina rigged soft plastics to really fish in the heavy stuff.

HOT SPOT: The best spot around for trophy yellowbelly is no doubt Lake Eildon. The northern end of the lake around Bonnie Doon is worth a good look as snow melts slowly floods the gradual edges and gives the fish plenty of food to find, and this is generally where you will find them. The next 5 or 6 weeks are the prime time, especially if we get a string of milder days.

 


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.

 


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.