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Spectacular season continues in the salt and estuaries
  |  First Published: February 2013



So far 2013 is shaping up to be a spectacular season as far as saltwater and estuary fishing goes.

The bream and Estuary perch fishing has stabilised whilst after such a long hiatus, species such as mulloway appear to be once again visiting rivers such as the Hopkins, giving some anglers a big surprise.

Speaking of the Hopkins, some solid bream from 35cm plus are taking hardbodied lures over the many shallow flats that can be found around the river. Yours truly recently had to get stuck into some of this action and came up trumps although a rising sun and a falling tide soon shut down the bite.

I suggest getting out on the water at first light and making the most of the hot bite. Another bonus is that one often beats the holiday fishing crowds onto the water as I did.

Bait anglers are sharing in the success by fishing very close to the rocky shorelines using crab, shrimp and brown shell. Plenty of estuary perch are about munching on minnow lures cast close to any sort of structure including weed beds. Shallow divers paused during the retrieve often get smashed at that point.

It seems that many of the Curdies River bream have completed spawning due to the fact that many boaters are bagging out in the lake using shrimp, worm and thin strips of juvenile salmon flesh. Some boaters have also encountered a few big bream way upstream beyond Curdievale.

The Gellibrand River at Princetown has been productive for bream from the bridge upstream almost to the canoe camp launching area. Casting soft plastics in minnow and prawn/shrimp patterns towards the bank has been successful. So too has trolling minnow lures up tight to the bank. Lures that dive to approximately 1.5m seem to be right on the ball.

After dark from Latrobe Creek downstream to the mouth, estuary perch are quite prevalent and are taking live baits such as shrimp suspended under a float. Surface and shallow diving lures fished fast and erratically on or near the surface has often produced positive results.

The Port Campbell pier has been hot for anglers especially for squid and King George whiting. No need to wait until night fall to target the squid as plenty are being caught throughout the day with a rising tide preferred.

The whiting also prefer a rising tide and the sea ward side of the pier seems to be the hot spot. Berley is a must and allow at least 30 minutes for the berley to disperse and do its thing.

Inshore reefs in 20-30m are holding solid snapper to 4kg however most fish are coming in closer to 2kg but that’s a perfect sized fish to cook up and chew on. In similar depths whiting to 44cm and flathead to 51cm are fairly abundant in and around weed and kelp beds adjoining sandy stretches of bottom. The welcome by-catch being morwong, nannygai and rock cod.

The author with a solid bream taken on a hard body in the Hopkins River.

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