Bigger bream start to shine
  |  First Published: July 2012

Now that the rains are finally here, the bream fishing has finally picked up in many of our estuaries.

Freshwater flows have pushed downstream in rivers such as the Curdies and Hopkins. The Gellibrand, fed by pure sweet water from the Otway Ranges, opened to the sea sometime ago. This has allowed boaters to venture upstream under the campground bridge to explore more coveted water.

Estuary perch and bream have once again responded to tidal influence and yet again are receptive to lures, plastics and local fresh bait. Autumn should have been the prime time to fish our estuaries but due to abnormally higher than average temperatures and a distinct lack of rainfall, fish have spread far and wide and have been incredibly hard to locate, let alone bite.

Finally, this has changed for the better. The Gellibrand has surprised more than one bream angler when a much larger fish has taken the bait or lure and raced off at an almost irresponsible speed. These culprits are no doubt mulloway.

Specimens to 5kg have occasionally been caught and more often than not as a by-catch. Keep this in mind when deciding on what terminal gear, including leader strength when fishing the Gelli.

The expansive weed growth in Peterborough Lake has died off somewhat due to low temperatures allowing uninhibited boat travel across this shallow lagoon. Rainfall has created substantial flows pushing the bream population downstream and largely into the lake. Anglers are now finally reaping some benefits in the bream department with fish averaging around 35cm being captured using baits such as local greyback minnow, shrimp, plastics and shallow diving hardbodied lures.

The bream and perch scene has also picked up in the Hopkins thanks largely to freshes concentrating the fish into the lower reaches of the estuary. Autumn and early winter is usually a prime time for big bream in the South West, but not so this year Anyhow, better late than never!

The surf fishing scene is going great guns with salmon, salmon and more Australian salmon being landed by those more than willing to brave the cold to try their luck on our local beaches. A building tide, berley introduced into the wash and fresh bait such as squid and pilchard have been the best recipe. Fish to 3.2kg have been hooked, sometimes lost but often landed. Most Aussie salmon are averaging around 900g at present but some horse fish are floating around in the schools.

The southern bluefin tuna scene is alive and healthy as ever. Many boaters are now choosing to launch at Warrnambool and Port Fairy rather than making a trip further west to Portland. Many schools of SBT are now being found well inside the Continental Shelf so a long and costly excursion ‘out wide’ is now largely not necessary.

Although most tuna are averaging between 12-25kg, the odd thumper to over 100kg has been boated with an almost certain guarantee of publication in the local press. Some bonus albacore have been found amongst the schools of SBT and I believe that these prized table fish are only ever released into the frying pan!

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