Anglers hit the Curdies as Hopkins fails to impress
  |  First Published: March 2013

With the Hopkins River underperforming in the bream department many anglers are trekking over to the Curdies River in search of decent bream.

The bream have well and truly finished with their spawning run and only time will tell if this was a successful year or not.

Many fish have schooled up and left the river for the lake in search of prey. Shrimp, spider crab and ‘greyback’ minnow are what the bream are chasing.

As per the norm, some fish stay in the river and these are usually larger, blue nosed specimens that tend to stake out a territory usually a length of bank. Areas to target are distinct bends and points as well as drop-offs no matter how minute they may look. This estuary is largely devoid of major structure so any discrepancy at all visible from above the water or showing on a depth sounder are certainly worth investigating.

Meanwhile in the Hopkins River the large bream seem to have simply vanished. There is a distinct lack of fish over 32cm and this has been an ongoing situation for some time now. In mid summer yours truly had several sessions on the ‘Hoppies’ with only one fish measuring 35cm to the tail and the rest averaging between just legal to 32cm. I am not alone in this scenario. Many rumours abound as to where the bream have gone. Some of which include divers searching for crayfish have reportedly seen schools in Lady Bay.

Some larger bream to 40cm have been caught in the Merri River as well as the Moyne River in Port Fairy so have they found a new home? It’s all speculation at present and if the truth be told, no one really knows.

On the upside some magnificent estuary perch continue to be taken on a wide variety of minnow lures with the upper reaches of the system a definite hot spot. This also includes the freshwater section directly upstream of Tooram Stones. Some EP’s are reaching 40cm in length and are currently being targeted by lure aficionados. Another method is too fish live bait such as shrimp or whitebait minnow under a float near structure such as weed beds. The prime time to do this is from dusk onwards well into the night.

The Gellibrand River is on again off again for bream to 36cm which seem to be spread well up and down the system. Worm, shrimp, spider crab and packet prawn are taking fish with first light to sun up the prime time.

Some decent estuary perch have been caught on lures as well as live bait suspended under a float in and around the mouth of Latrobe Creek.

Smaller specimens along with small brown trout can be caught down towards the mouth along the bank side reed beds.

The Port Campbell jetty continues to be a hot spot for squid with the jetty often crowded of an evening. Other species being taken from time to time are whiting and barracouta.

By this time it’s quite possible that southern bluefin tuna will be once again visiting our shorelines. As of mid January schools of SBT’s have been sighted just over the border in South Australia so yet again the Princes Highway will soon be awash with large boats making the trek westwards to Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Portland in search of this prized sports fish.

Decent bream such as this one from the Hopkins are presently scarcer than hen’s teeth!

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