Southern bluefin tuna, by September will have well and truly passed through Bass Strait on their never ending journey across the world’s southern oceans.
In late winter, anglers launching either from Port Fairy or Warrnambool were trolling up fish in the 12-16kg bracket. From 30-300m in ocean depth were where the schools of SBT were balling up and smashing the baitfish schools. It was just a matter of motoring out towards the continental shelf constantly on the lookout for feeding flocks of seabirds.
Recently an electronic tag that was attached to a SBT washed ashore near Warrnambool. Some months ago two fish were tagged of the south east coastline of Tasmania. Scientific boffins stated that they believed a shark ate one fish whilst the other tuna either threw the tag or possibly it was removed and thrown overboard by an angler who caught the fish.
These tags are worth several thousand dollars and are constantly tracked via satellite so the Tasmanians were happy to get one back.
The mouth of the Gellibrand River, nearby Clifton Beach and Gibsons Steps has been productive for Australian salmon to 1.8kg. The fish are, by and large being taken on the top of the tide with squid, bluebait and pilchard being the favoured baits to use.
In mid July the Curdies River mouth finally reached its critical mass and was artificially opened by Parks Victoria. Within two weeks of the opening the bream fishing rapidly improved in leaps and bounds.
The mouth last closed in November of last year and by late January the fishing was classed as insipid to say the least. Unlike the rest of the state, the southwest only started to receive serious rainfall as late as May.
Peterborough Lake (actually a lagoon) usually averages around 70cm in depth when open. I fished it a week prior to the opening and found much of the lake up to 2m in depth. Some anglers reverted back to bait angling and managed to pick up bream to 38cm on peeled prawn and pipi.
By and large the majority of anglers who fish artificials have found it tough. That has now all changed with a huge influx of oxygenated water and normal levels occurring, the bream are now thinking about the upcoming spawning season and are moving back into the river.
The Gellibrand River is flowing fast and visibility is almost nil due to the muddied waters. The mouth has been open for some time and the best methods in which to target bream have been local baits such as shrimp, spider crab and whitebait.
Fishing below the bridge where the salt meets the muddied fresh has been successful for many. Of course, as the tide rises and falls, bank anglers especially have to stay mobile if they want to stay within touch of the strike zone.
Finally the Curdies River bream are back on the chew and heading upriver to spawn.Reads: 1097