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Estuaries full of life and opportunity
  |  First Published: December 2012



Thanks to all the winter and spring rains, our estuaries are full and flowing strong.

The water is steadily clearing and most river mouths are still open. The bream have move en-masse upstream in their annual effort to spawn.

On this note I must plead with anglers to really control the take of bream at this time. I know the Victorian bag limits state that we can take 10 bream per angler, per day but seriously. If you have a good day out, do you really need to take 10 fish to eat? One fish around 32cm will feed one person. Take it from there regarding your immediate family.

Don’t feed the neighbours. Encourage them to buy some tackle and take them fishing. Better still; take a digital camera with you on your next angling sojourn. You can buy a decent one for less than $100 nowadays and they are that smart that anyone can use them especially when it comes to photographing a solid, blue nosed bream.

A photo lasts a lifetime as far as bragging rights go. A frozen carcass in the freezer is just a total waste in all respects.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, the bream fishing is steadily improving especially in the Curdies River near Peterborough. Although the water is still murky, fish to 38cm are falling to local shrimp fished live with the bait cast close to the bank. Use a rig with the appropriate weight to suit the current sliding freely above a small swivel.

Next attach a leader; preferably fluorocarbon in 2-4kg breaking strain and up to 1m in length. Then the hook size should be size two to four and preferably a bait holder style.

Anglers fishing around the Aquarium (which is where the river meets the lake) have taken fish casting plastics and hardbodied minnow patterns in the shallows. In the river mouth, bladed lures have also accounted for fish.

A similar situation is also occurring in the Gellibrand River although the bream do have a harder job pushing upstream in search of the right salinity in which to spawn. Much stronger freshwater flows travelling down from the Otway Ranges influence the bream’s movement.

The summer species have well and truly arrived on our doorstep and as a general rule regarding snapper and whiting, the larger specimens are the first to turn up along our coastline. Whether launching from Warrnambool, Port Fairy or from the steep and narrow boat ramp near Peterborough, depths of up to 20m are showing great numbers of fish.

Plenty of snapper from one to 3.5kg are about on the inshore reefs and King George whiting from 41-48cm are feeding around the weed beds just offshore. The use of berley greatly increases the bite rate either anchored up or on a slow drift.

Snapper are taking fresh squid strips or fish fillets plus the standard pilchard. Whiting love pipi, mussel and thin slices of squid. Often a cocktail of the above works wonders.

Well, a happy holiday to all and hopefully the man in the red suit leaves some fishing tackle under the tree for you!

Whiting like this one are now about in large numbers.

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