All is looking great guns regarding our estuaries as we inevitably head towards summer. The welcome heavy winter rains opened all river mouths to the sea resulting in a much overdue flush out. The resulting outcome was a definite rejuvenation in species, such as bream and estuary perch into striking baits and lures en masse.
In saying that I have to stress that right now southern black bream are in the process of spawning so please, please reconsider keeping any fish for the table.
The Hopkins has good bream, some measuring in the plus-30cm range high up in the system. Minnow lures with action are taking precedence over colour due to the murky water. So too are scented plastics fished out of the current and on the edge of any swirling eddies.
Mulloway continue to inhabit the river and although most are juveniles or ‘soapies’ the odd decent one has been caught. The Curdies River is still running dirty but bait anglers soaking shrimp and packet prawn have picked up a few fish around where the river meets the lake. Old timers know this area as the ‘aquarium’. Casting baits into the shallows and out of the main flow are doing well.
Decent rain is still falling in the southwest keeping river mouths open and the waters murky. It’s shaping up to be a wetter than normal summer with possible below average temperatures. The downside being that the current situation is making the use of artificial lures a more difficult proposition.
Big snapper up to 4kg are to be had out on local reefs in depths from 20-40m. A rising tide seems to be the best time to bottom bounce as the snapper currently see this stage of the tide as dinnertime! The welcome bycatch to snapper fishing comes in the form of excellent gummy shark to 14kg, morwong to 2.5kg and on adjoining sand patches, tiger and yank flathead to 1.8kg.
Closer inshore in depths up to 10m has seen a lot of smaller pinkie snapper to 38cm and King George whiting to 46cm. Plus there are still plenty of calamari squid about so don’t forget to pack those squid jigs when next heading out on the water.
Small squid and the heads and tentacles make an excellent fresh snapper bait. If fishing in depths less than 20m consider sending down fresh squid unweighted for the snapper and remember to let them run with bait before striking.
Corey McLaren from Warrnambool with an above average Hopkins mulloway.Reads: 508