Alan Bonnici

Victorian Fishing Writer, Blogger & Educator

Alan is well known in southern Australia for his blog, his YouTube channel and regular writing for Fishing Monthly magazine, all of which are that are designed to deliver a wealth of great info to help encourage newbies into fishing.

Alan’s Tips For Barwon River Redfin

  • The Barwon River is 160km long and holds redfin, estuary perch, carp and cod. It’s important to understand the behaviour of your target species – redfin are schooling predators but aren’t as aggressive as estuary perch. Be prepared to cover lots of ground to find fish.
  • Redfin can be taken at any time of year and aren’t affected by water temperatures or water clarity as much as some other species. Even in chocolatey brown water they can be targeted successfully.
  • There is ample land-based access to the Barwon River system and it pays to move around fairly readily until a school of fish is found. Putting in a few casts over five minutes or so and moving to the next spot is a good strategy – once fish are found you can stay put and linger to maximise the opportunity.
  • When fishing from a kayak Alan finds that a good strategy is to turn on the fish finder and then paddle along trolling lures behind the yak. This enables him to mark waypoints wherever he starts getting hits.
  • If you’re not finding fish by moving around and they’re not showing on the sounder, start focussing on fishing tight to hard structure such as submerged trees, bridge pylons and jetties or even weedbeds.
  • Summertime fishing for redfin is generally about larger numbers of fish but of a smaller size class. Winter fishing is more about small numbers of better-quality fish.
  • Alan lives by the motto “bright colours for bright days and neutral colours for dull days”. Wind, water colour, time of day and other conditions are all fishable if you adjust to the situation.
  • Take some time when you arrive and before you start fishing and try to figure out how the conditions can help you. For example, if the water is dirty and chocolatey you might put a jig spinner on your soft plastic lure to give it more flash and vibration.

Alan’s Redfin Fishing Tackle

  • Redfin tackle can be pretty basic. A 2-4kg spin rod with a 2500 size reel is a good starting point. 6-10lb line completes the outfit.
  • Alan is a bit of an ultra-light tackle enthusiast, so he’ll often go for bream gear such as a Daiwa Infeet EX rod with a Luvius 2000 LT reel, which is a super lightweight outfit you can fish all day and is perfect for throwing light soft plastics.
  • Another great outfit is a Shimano Zodias with a 2500 size spin reel that can still handle the light lures but also manages some of the larger, heavier lures that might be needed for redfin.

Alan’s Lure Selection for Barwon River Redfin

  • Soft plastics are great and the ZMan 3” Slim Swimz in midnight oil is a really good starting point and often the first lure Alan will reach for. Alan likes to rig this lure on a 1/8 or 1/12 oz jig head and attach a size 2 brass jig spinner to add the flash and vibration that redfin seem to respond well to. The Strike Tiger 3” paddle tail is another good option if the water is dirty and you want a brightly coloured offering. Cast it out long, let it sink to the bottom and simply slow roll it back. Or alternatively, cast as close to structure as possible and slow roll back. If the slow rolling isn’t working, try adding in some gentle lifts and hops. It’s a mistake to work the lure too fast, however.
  • Hard bodied diving lures are very effective on Barwon River redfin, especially for casting along a bank or land based fishing. They can also be worked along structure or trolled behind a kayak. The Duo Spearhead Ryuki (70mm) in gold has an awesome swimming action for a “twitch, twitch, pause” style retrieve. This lure swims at around 3-4 feet, which seems to work well in water of depths 3-4metres as it will draw the fish out from the bottom.
  • A heavier lure that assists with casting and can get down deep is always a good option. Alan contemplated a spoon for his third lure choice but instead went with a 70mm Samaki Vibelicious soft vibe in a redfin pattern. This lure can be very effective when you find a school of redfin or you want to cover a lot of water.

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Alan’s Sponsors

Savage Gear  are global manufacturers of a wide range of fishing tackle and accessories and have supported Alan’s work from the start.

Alan works with and is an ambassador for multiple fish stocking and fishcare groups, Trelly’s, Melbourne SeaDoo, and writes monthly for Fishing Monthly Magazine.



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