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Hopkins and Curdies hit the high note
  |  First Published: May 2012



The Hopkins River has been steady for bream averaging 36cm, although there are plenty of smaller ones about.

Casting minnow lures and plastics towards the shallows and along the weed beds seems to be the proven method here but come mid-morning; the fish seem to switch off until mid-afternoon.

Plenty of estuary perch are more than willing to take a lure meant for bream but most EPs are small and are presently topping out at 32cm. I’m sure there are much bigger ones about but they seem to be lying ‘doggo’ at the moment.

The Curdies River and lake has bream to 34cm with the occasional blue nosed bruiser coming in at 41cm. Bait is doing much of the damage with local shrimp as well as earthworm enticing many fish to bite. Soft plastics such 50mm minnow and shrimp patterns are also working but plenty of juvenile salmon are nipping the tail off many plastics.

Blades are taking a few fish in the river but unsuitable for the shallow, weedy lake or should I say lagoon.

Anglers fishing depths of 8-12m in Warrnambool’s Lady Bay are still coming up trumps in the whiting department. King George whiting to 46cm are still about taking pipis, squid strips and even pilchard fillets.

Lowering a berley bucket is mandatory in keeping these delicious fish in the vicinity and on the chew.

The snapper season has quietened down, probably for another year and the whiting are sure to shortly follow so now’s the time to get in for possibly one last feed of fresh whiting fillets!

The Port Campbell jetty has seen some positive piscatorial activity recently with a variety of schooling fish entering the bay and taking angler’s baits. Solid King George whiting have made themselves known on numerous occasions and although anglers are not bagging out, the quality of the fish more than makes up for this so called shortfall.

The whiting are averaging over the 40cm mark and those in the know are keeping the fish within casting distance of the jetty by simply lowering a berley bucket into the wash.

Also visiting the jetty are schools of pick-handle barracouta. A wire trace is mandatory and chunks of either pilchard or squid have worked here.

Some may turn their noses up at fillets of ‘couta, but eaten fresh and if one takes the time to remove the bones, with pliers if need be, the flesh is quite tasty.

In fact, many old salts claim barracouta to be the ‘chicken of the sea.’

Other species turning up on occasion are Australian salmon, garfish, especially at night and rock cod.

A typical Curdies bream taken on a deep diver at the river mouth.

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