Waiting for the water
  |  First Published: July 2014

Mid-April saw the Curdies River and lake at very low levels, however the water quality remained high unlike last year’s debacle. By mid-May the water was up thanks to welcome rain and, even though the mouth still remains closed, water is beginning to inundate the flats along the banks of the river.

This sporadic occurrence has somewhat put the bream out of many angler’s reach. The bites and fish have tended to be patchy rather than the norm. This will eventually abate and the bream will once again bite like fury and things will go back to normal until the next spawning run, which could take place anywhere from September onwards.

Until more rainfall occurs in the catchment, the bream will remain scattered right up and down this estuary. For instance, the beginning of winter saw me on the system armed with plastics and hardbodied lures and I managed to catch a few fish on the lake. I mostly used plastics fished hard and fast to keep just above the bottom dwelling weed growth, but then just days later I had to venture right upstream and use hardbodied lures cast right up to the bank just to nab a few. This is the story ‘ad nauseam’ for many anglers whether they use bait or lure. It’s simply a waiting game until better times, which will occur as they always do.

The Hopkins River and the Gellibrand River at Princetown remain relatively quiet for big bream and perch due to a distinct lack of the species mentioned.

The floods of two or so years ago plus steady overfishing have diminished the quality of bream on offer to anglers wetting a line in the ‘Hoppies’. In saying that, plenty of quality estuary perch are still available here. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the Gellibrand, which is in recovery mode from a massive fish kill that occurred last year.

The southern bluefin tuna scene is fast approaching its zenith with huge barrels weighing in excess of 80kg being boated. And no, you don’t have to travel as far afield as Portland to be in the running to catch these giants. Port Fairy and Warrnambool boaters have well and truly gotten into the mix and travelling out to the continental shelf is not a necessity with many schools now venturing well inshore.

It’s a pity that the Warrnambool Council is resting on its laurels regarding the revamping of the boat ramp to improve its safety for launching as well as the retrieval of rather expensive water craft. A new inner break wall that prevents swell from damaging boats during launch and retrieval has been estimated at over $1,000,000+, but the sheer amount of visiting boaters who choose to launch from here would certainly pump this amount of money, plus more, back into the community. If a town or city has a defined tourist attraction that brings money into the community isn’t it prudent to encourage, not turn your back on this ever-growing asset?

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