After such as promising start to the summer season of 2008, things didn’t quite live up to expectations during February. Poor seas combined with heaps of southeasterly winds severely restricted many angler’s offshore aspirations.
This lack of opportunity due to inclement conditions is a constant problem here in the southwest, but it helps keeps the angling pressure off the fishery. It’s just a little disappointing when your windows of opportunity close due to poor conditions.
The good thing about fishing the southwest is that there are always plenty of options, and some of the inshore ones have been firing lately. The Hopkins River has continued to fish very well. Plenty of 1kg bream are being encountered by anglers using a wide variety of methods.
In the lower reaches of the Hopkins, small to medium salmon have been feasting on 20mm bream, which is evidence of a successful bream spawning season. That’s a good sign for future seasons. The fact that the river mouth has remained open during the summer months has probably contributed to the fine run of bream.
The Curdies remains closed and isn’t producing fantastic angling, although this time last year it was producing some excellent captures, and would be well worth a look.
Another great inshore option is the King George whiting. Right along the coast, most whiting haunts have been producing good numbers of the large fish that the area is well known for. Port Fairy Bay, Killarney and Lady Bay have all been producing good fish on baits such as pipis, pilchard fillets and Bass yabbies. Good squid have also been prevalent and if you don’t use them for bait they make for a sensational seafood meal with the whiting.
Come April the inshore waters will be cooling and the best time for species such as kingfish, thresher sharks and small snapper will have passed, but April will hopefully see the area in the grip of tuna fever. In the past two years the southern bluefin tuna season has been in full swing by April, so many anglers are hoping it all happens again. The signs are already good, with the first few fish being taken further west.
At the other end of the angling scale, April is a good time to target estuary perch and brown trout in the freshwater regions of the Hopkins River.
Chris McGrath caught this fine bream while retrieving a vibe lure flat-out across the surface with the aim of securing some salmon for kingfish bait.Reads: 600