Bream bonanza
  |  First Published: September 2008

Last month I mentioned how high winter tides, combined with some decent-sized seas, can lead to some interesting inshore angling in local estuaries. This certainly has been the case recently here in the southwest.

The Merri River is known mainly for its productive trout angling, but the estuary can turn on some good bream fishing, particularly when the abovementioned conditions occur.

What has been interesting though has been some more unusual captures. Reports of small pinky snapper were slightly unusual, but the capture of some small mulloway, as well as a couple of bust-offs, were highly unusual to say the least.

Across the other side of town at the Hopkins, there haven’t to my knowledge been any reports of mulloway. The bream fishing has more than made up for this, with some very impressive fish being taken. Keen lure anglers Barry Thomas and Chris Allwood had a morning out, with their best five fish weighing a total of over 6kg.

A host of other anglers have reported taking fish over 40cm, with Grant Foreman catching and releasing a beast of a fish estimated to be over 2kg. Reports have come from a variety of different locations, with below and around the bridge, the Bay of Biscay and Hen and Chickens all featuring.

The fish may not be as active as in the warmer months but if mobile anglers keep searching they will eventually come across fish.

Plenty of estuary perch are also being encountered, mostly males of 34-38cm, but I have heard of at least one big 44cm female turning up.

A few trevally have also been taken on the incoming tides in both the Hopkins and Moyne rivers.

On the beaches salmon catches have been fairly sporadic, while offshore angling has been limited due to poor conditions.

The stocking of 8000 trout into the Merri has now been completed and should mean plenty of fish for the next year or so. Some good fish to 2kg (averaging 1.3kg) have been taken by persistent anglers working the runs and backwaters during some of the higher flows we’ve had (the lower Merri is open all year). A continuation of the good winter rains will mean these fish are a good option right through September.

Grant Foreman with a big bream taken on a turtleback worm from the Hopkins River.

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