After many, many months of being closed; above average temperatures and low water levels resulting in two fish kills, heavy winter rains finally filled and opened the Curdies estuary in early August.
After a quick visit to the mouth for a taste of highly oxygenated salt water, the bream moved back up into the lower reaches of the river in readiness for spawning. For many weeks the water remained dirty which largely shut down the lure enthusiasts and gave the bait soakers the upper hand.
Small bait sized yabbies, earthworms and frozen packet prawn became the norm for some time. However a few of us did persevere with plastics and hardbodied minnows by casting right up close to the bank and twitching the lure in the top most section of the water column. Concentrating on the downstream side of any protruding bends where the current was less intensive saw quite a few fish hooked and landed by me and several other persistent anglers.
October and November are the two traditional months when bream will spawn and they do this many times. I release all black bream that I catch and plead with others to limit their take at this time.
The bream can be very finicky at this time of year and many trips to the Curdies can result in poor catch rates but occasionally they seem to go nuts and can be caught hand over fist. This is great fun when it happens as long as the vast majority are carefully released to finish the spawning run.
Meanwhile in the salt there’s still plenty of Australian salmon to 2.2kg about with Newfield Bay (near Peterborough) being one popular local spot that has been producing the goods. Two hours either side of a rising tide being the optimum time to send out squid or bluebait on a double Paternoster rig.
Not too far away Crofts Bay has been coughing up a few good King George whiting to 42cm on pilchard strips. Port Campbell Jetty has been popular for squid enthusiasts with some decent schools of calamari squid congregating around the pylons. The best squid fishing of course occurs after dark with the aid of the jetty lights but plenty are still landed during daylight hours with the change of tide being optimum.
Offshore in depths of 20-40m boat anglers bottom bouncing around local reefs have managed school and gummy shark to 16kg.
Snapper to 4kg and morwong to 2kg have also been picked up. Away from the reefs and drifting over a mixture of sand and weed has seen excellent yank flathead to 1.8kg as well as schools of King George whiting.
Down our way at least, the biggest snapper of the season usually turn up at the start of the season and stay around in good numbers up until Christmas.
As long as the squid are about in solid numbers like they are now, the big snapper will stick around. So now is definitely the time to get out there!
The author with a 38 cm Curdies River bream taken on a Strike Tiger nymph.Reads: 903