Big bream are back
  |  First Published: October 2012

After what seems an eternity, the big, blue-nosed bream are beginning to come back to life in the Hopkins River at Warrnambool.

Latest reports coming in hot off the press are that black bream to 42cm have been caught below the road bridge near the mouth. Fresh local baits, such as pod worm and brown shell, fished lightly weighted near the danger board has been a successful method for many.

I’ve witnessed anglers wading out into the shallows adjacent to deeper water allowing a bait to waft down through the water column. Within a minute the bait has been snaffled. However plenty of smaller fish have often be landed before a biggun’ jumps on the line.

Another popular method has been to slow roll soft plastics just off the bottom. Wrigglers in bloodworm and 50mm baby shrimp in natural or pepper have done the job. Wading is not necessary when casting plastics as the bream and estuary perch will enter the shallows in low light conditions to feed. But you may need a strong shoulder!

When weather permits, some local anglers are venturing down to the Port Campbell pier and bagging some good King George whiting averaging 38cm. I’ve been informed that the whiting won’t touch any bait, only pipi meat. It’s a total waste of time using mussel flesh or squid strips, or anything else for that matter. A rising tide with a bit of berley thrown into the wash makes a huge difference.

No one is bagging out taking 20 fish home, as the bite tends to be slower during winter. But 6-8 fish a session is keeping a smile on a few faces. Not too mention a feed of succulent whiting on the dinner table.

Clifton Beach, the Gellibrand River mouth, Gibsons Steps and the main beach at Peterborough have been steady for Australian salmon averaging 800g, with a few bruisers to 2.8kg thrown into the mix. Double paternoster rigs baited up with squid heads has been the go, as the sea lice seem rather active of late. Pilchard and blue bait pieces disappear within minutes thanks to the lice.

A rising tide has been the best time to soak a bait or two in a gutter, and the use of berley doesn’t go astray either.

The bream in the Curdies River, like the Hopkins, has improved since the mouth opened some time ago. It’s not a bonanza as yet but some solid fish to 37cm have been caught in the lake up near the mouth of the river. This tells me that the fish have spawning on their mind and are gathering just in or near the river mouth in the hope of pushing upstream to breed. Presently, an ongoing fresh caused by winter rain is preventing the fish from moving en masse upstream into the river.

The soft plastics and blades brigade are doing rather well in the lake’s shallower water but many bream are averaging around 31cm.

Our scientific boffins are telling us that we are in for a long hot summer due to an El Nino that is rapidly forming. Bring it on I say, so don’t complain about all the rain that is falling at present. Sounds like we are going to need it!


A rare fine and sunny afternoon saw the author land two solid bream on plastics in the Curdies River mouth.

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