Low levels restrict options
  |  First Published: May 2014

A short hot summer followed by a mild yet warm and dry autumn has seen water levels drop by over 300mm in the Curdies River estuary. The mouth has been closed for some months now and without sufficient rainfall to keep the system topped up, shallow areas, such as up to 90% of Peterborough Lake, is currently not navigable to most water craft except kayaks and jet boats.

A similar situation happened last year but it occurred much earlier in the season and ran for much longer. This saw the water quality deteriorate to the point that two separate fish kills occurred before welcome winter rains refreshed the system and opened the mouth to the sea.

Thankfully I cannot see this occurring again (famous last words!) as the warmth of the land has just about left and cooling air temperatures seem to be preventing an algal outbreak from occurring. All we wait for now is rain and plenty of it to once again top up the estuary and force the mouth to open to the sea.

In the meantime the bream fishing has been superb to say the least. Once a school of feeding fish have been located, simple baits such as frozen packet prawn have seen some anglers bag out in a single session. The system is full of shrimp, as every pocket of weed seems to be teeming with this crustacean making netting a session’s worth of live bait easy. However the bream are certainly gorging themselves on shrimp and more often than not looking for something else to munch on.

The bream are scattered far and wide along the river as well as parts of the lake that are at least 300mm or more in depth. Casting hardbodied lures and plastics up tight to the bank often works and is a very visual and heart stopping way in which to nail a bream or three. When the sun is high overhead allowing soft plastics, such as Gulp Shrimp to sink down to the bottom before twitching or jigging has also worked. The better fish are averaging between 33cm and 37cm with the odd bigger one thrown in on top.

As far as the saltwater scene goes, to say that this season has been exceptional would not be an exaggeration. Local inshore reefs have held a plethora of species, including yellowtail kingfish to 7kg and snapper to a similar size however most reds have averaged around 1.5kg.

Flathead to 1.5kg have been taken (mostly as a by-catch) in depths of 40-60m. The main target bottom bouncing at these depths have been gummy sharks with some nannygai and morwong thrown in for good measure.

Many boaters have been successfully ballooning baits for mako and thresher shark with some awesome captures coming ashore.

As the ocean temperature drops off the main target now on fisho’s minds will be the southern bluefin tuna run that’s already begun off our coastline.

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