Estuaries still the way to go
  |  First Published: November 2008

In the southwest, most angling action is still confined to the estuaries and rivers. The offshore water temperature was still only around 13oC in the last week of September. With the days lengthening, however, anglers are starting to look forward to the onset of the summer species of fish and angling options. By the end of November, some of these should be realistic options.

The local estuaries have continued to fish well in the last month. The Hopkins has been producing some good bream, most around 28-32cm but with enough larger fish to keep anglers interested – like the 45cm model taken recently by Stewie McKinnon.

Vibes are still proving popular with lure anglers while river shell and cut mullet are popular natural baits. The humble frozen prawn, fished peeled without the head and shell, is also a good fall back if fresh local bait is difficult to procure. Most fish are still being taken in the middle of the river, with the shallow margins still fairly unproductive.

We are also heading into prime estuary perch time. Perch of around 38-40cm, which are better than average, have already been turning up in angler’s bags. However, Chris Alwood recently caught one exceptional specimen of 2.04kg on a hardbodied lure during a local competition

The Curdies River has been a little quiet in the past few months but has fired up recently, producing good bream. Dion Vail has been catching good bags of fish, with the majority being in 38-40cm. Michael White also managed a good bag of fish recently, with the best being a chunky specimen of 43cm.

Jack mackerel (cowanyoung) have been prolific at times in the harbour at Warrnambool recently. Fishing from the landing at night is a good way to get these fish.

Conditions for trout angling were very good for the opening of the season, however water levels have quickly dropped. Many keen trout anglers like Jas Kelly, Leighton Bennett and Scott Gray took advantage of the good conditions to catch fish of 1.2-1.6kg. The Merri River was perhaps the most reliable producer with Hopkins fish being a little more elusive.

Lake Ellingamite is still producing fish for those taking the trouble to get a canoe on it.

Looking ahead to November, the rivers and estuaries should be still fishing well, but a host of other angling options should be opening up too.

Offshore angling for snapper should come on line. Locally most fish are 30-40cm, and targeting these smaller fish on soft plastics can be great fun. However, some 3-5kg fish have been more prevalent in the last couple of seasons, particularly around this time of year.

November is also a time of the year when many south coast anglers are on the look out for some mulloway action. The Hopkins or Moyne rivers experience some isolated captures of these fish at times. A couple of very small fish were taken in the Hopkins recently, so hopefully it’s a good sign.

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