Saltwater species fire up with rain and flood
  |  First Published: August 2012

South west Victoria has finally received enough rain to open river mouths such as the Hopkins and the Gellibrand.

The Curdies, although filling up, remains closed and will stay that way unless more significant amounts of moisture fall from the heavens.

The Gellibrand is still running dirty but this doesn’t seem to deter the bream and perch from biting. Just like the Aire River near Apollo Bay, large volumes of water do tend to flow down these rivers due to the Otway Ranges attracting a heck of a lot of rainfall.

What these freshes do achieve is to concentrate the schools of bream down in the lower reaches making them somewhat easier for anglers to locate. The estuary perch tend to stay put around the snags and wait for some tiny morsel to be swept past in the current before pouncing.

At times like this, bait is the most popular method but don’t discount lures. Especially those lures that come with an enhanced shimmy or rattle. This seems to make up for a distinct lack of visibility. During this time of flood, shallow divers are preferred as the fish will be up in the water column sitting right up against the bank in quieter water.

For quite some time now a large school or schools of big bream has been located in the Hopkins near Rowans Flats up to Kinnears Hut. They have been extremely uncooperative to anglers’ offerings with the only success coming at night fishing whole live crab with the reel’s bail arm open.

The Curdies River and Peterborough Lake are filling up thanks to all the rain but the fish are still spread far and wide and this scenario will not change until the mouth reaches it’s critical point and is manually opened.

Anglers are still struggling to catch their bag limits with most heading home after a solid day-long session with only two or three fish.

In the bait department, shrimp, greyback, frozen whitebait, pipi and prawn are working on a given day. So too are plastics and blades but more often than not, the fish are downright finicky but I suppose that’s why we call it fishing, not catching.


The southern bluefin tuna scene has been kicking along just nicely with fish averaging from 12-30kg being caught in as close as 30m, which equates to just several kilometres offshore.

Besides all of that, the big ones are out there. Just recently a 122.5kg jumbo was landed after a four-hour tussle, which would have left the said angler with stretched arms.

Besides the usual allotment of albacore thrown into the deal, there have been, once again, schools of mahi mahi accompanying the SBT! This is not the first time this species has shown up alongside the tuna.

Plenty of huge trailer boats are a common sight up and down the Princes Highway but many canny anglers aren’t bothering to drive all the way to Portland when tuna can be caught just offshore from Port Fairy and Warrnambool.

The most popular lure by far is the Rapala X-Raps that dive to 15’. All the local tackle shops seem to have sold out and are waiting for new stock to arrive.

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