SW Vic Fishing Personality And Journalist
Mark is a well-known fishing journalist from the South West of Victoria with a reputation for knowing more than just a thing or two about targeting the local estuary bream, perch and mulloway populations, trout in the sweet water and kingfish and tuna offshore. A former tournament angler, Mark is a prolific writer who has penned numerous articles for Victoria Fishing Monthly, Fishing World, Freshwater Fishing Australia, Kaydo Fishing World, Hooked Up magazine and others.
Mark’s Top Tips For Warrnambool Trout
- This episode focuses on the opportunities in the Merri River downstream of Bromfield St Weir and in the Hopkins River downstream of Framlingham. Fishing can be tough in these areas for most of the year but is much easier during the winter when the rivers have much more flow. Fisheries have lifted closed season restrictions in these systems due to very minimal wild spawning and recruitment.
- Boat access to the lower Merri system is possible but to the freshwater reaches of the Hopkins is extremely limited. Most of the fishing is land based and involves very little walking.
- The dirtier water during winter makes trout less wary and results in them feeding all day, rather than just the low light periods.
- Access is often limited but generally man made structures such as bridges and weirs, along with natural structures such as waterfalls give anglers access.
- Don’t expect to catch cricket scores of fish, but the quality of trout is excellent with fish over 2 kg reasonably common.
- The by-catch in the Merri River includes bream and the occasional estuary perch that’s moved into the sweetwater. In the Hopkins system you may also find occasional bass or yellowbelly.
- The most successful lures in these systems tend to be a little larger than those used in most trout fishing, with 95-100 mm long hard bodies working quite well. These imitate the reasonably large local Galaxias minnows.
- Once again with dirty water the fish are less wary, so fishing lures downstream (opposite of the norm) and using slightly heavier lines and leaders doesn’t reduce the bite but can help put fish in the bag.
- This is not a fishery to stay patiently waiting. It’s more effective to stop at a bridge or other access point, put in a few casts and perhaps make a lure change or two, then move to the next spot. Usually if trout are in residence they’ll respond within a few casts, so there’s little value in sticking around on spot for long.
Mark’s Preferred Trout Tackle
- Mark prefers rods of around 7ft length when he’s in reasonable~ open areas or casting into wind. He couples a Daiwa Sol rod with a Silver Creek 2500 reel. Due to the quality of fish and the dirtier water finesse is less important so 8lb line and leader is a reasonable starting point. If the water gets clearer it may be necessary to downsize to 6lb.
- A 6ft Silver Creek rod is his preference when he’s fishing more overgrown locations, with the same reel, line and leader combination as for the Sol.
Mark’s Best Trout Fishing Lures
- The Daiwa Doctor minnow and the TD minnow (95mm) were fantastic but are no longer produced. Look for similar sized and shaped shallow running hard body minnows that mimic the local bait species. Darker colours or metallic golds work best in the dirty water, more natural colours are preferred in cleaner water.
- Daiwa Double Clutch and Presso are good hard body options for trout fishing around Warrnambool. The Double Clutch dives a little deeper and is better in clean water, the Presso is a little smaller (6 cm) and shallower running.
- The Berkeley T Tail or Westin Shad Teez are good soft plastics that are definitely worth a try for trout in both river systems.
- Cast your lures downstream and work them back slowly against the current, parallel with the bank and close to the waters edge. This allows you to work the lures very slowly and keep them in the zone longer. In dirty water trout are not phased by the downstream presentation