The Hopkins River at Warrnambool has been active for bream averaging around 32cm in the lower reaches.
From the pumping station down to the ski club is one stretch that anglers have been concentrating their efforts. The bank adjacent to Lyndoch retirement home has been good for bream and estuary perch and the deeper water at the blue hole near the mouth has been holding bream and soapy mulloway to 3.7kg. Blades, plastics in shrimp patterns and various hardbodied minnow-style lures have consistently taken fish. So too has local live shrimp, cut crab and brown shell for those willing to fish in a more relaxed mode. With the mouth currently open a rising tide has been the prime time to target those three species.
The Curdies River and lake at Peterborough has quietened down a tad in the bream department but the fish are still there. They are just not cooperating as much as they were some weeks ago. A decent amount of fresh water is pushing down river slowly filling the lake and if the welcome rains continue a possible opening of the mouth may occur by early spring.
Minnow lures cast tight into the bank are attracting quite a few strikes. Greedy Guts 55’s, Saemi 70’s and the small Crack Jacks in natural baitfish colours are just some of the lures used in attracting a bream strike or two. Many of the river banks are undercut and bream are lying in wait for an unsuspecting morsel or two to swim close by. Those using blades and plastics are also picking up a few fish by simply jigging in close with most hits occurring on the drop.
Bait anglers are getting into the action not only in the lower reaches of the river but out in the lake as well. A certain amount of bream have schooled up and moved out into the lake so as a general rule, if one boater’s rod folds over to a bream strike the chances are that another rod will shortly follow.
Some winter whiting have been on offer for those willing to brave the elements and soak a bait off the Port Campbell jetty. The use of berley on a rising tide has been the prime time to fish with the whiting preferring quality frozen pipi over everything else. Although not huge fish, many King George whiting are measuring between 33-37cm. Bag limits of 20 are rarely reached. More likely just 6-8 fish falling in a session’s fishing. The odd school of silver trevally to 800g have been moving into the bay from time to time and taken baits meant for the whiting but I hear no one complaining about this.
The surf beaches have been consistent for Australian Salmon from 600g-2.2kg on a rising tide. The many cliff faces and sand dunes that dot our coastline provide an excellent viewing platform when it comes to spotting fishy looking gutters close to shore. Bluebait, squid tentacles and filleted pilchards have been the gun baits to employ of late.
The SBT scene is still firing with schools feeding on bait fish in depths as little as 40m. For those not willing to launch from Portland, Port Fairy has been an excellent second option. Many tuna are averaging out around 15kg however in the week leading up to this article being penned, five barrels over 100kg were landed by boaters only a few kilometres offshore with the biggest coming in at 140kg. Slow trolling octopus lures and Rapala deep diving X Wraps just on the outskirts of feeding fish has been successful.
As far as the salt goes, there’s plenty happening down my way at present and as long as we receive more winter rain, the estuary fishing will only go from strength to strength.
An average Curdies bream taken on a Greedy Guts minnow lure cast tight against the bank.Reads: 1223