By late January, all of the South West was still under the spell of very late running spring-like weather. Below normal summertime temperatures plus abundant rain and incessant wind put up rather an impenetrable roadblock to anglers.
Those who didn’t have January off and had to work were extremely happy (not!) as southwesterly blows seemed to fall at the start of the weekend leaving much of the working week’s weather reasonable enough to get out on the water for a fish.
Recent history regarding the weather points to a long, hot February with stable weather, so let’s hope it happens. Mind you, we could do without the 40°C days that inevitably come with this weather but as they say, you cannot have your cake and eat it too.
It’s interesting to note that by the Australia Day weekend, anglers fishing out wide had already come across schools of southern bluefin tuna. Fish from 4-12kg have been boated by anglers initially chasing school salmon, mako shark or just bottom bouncing, so the distances travelled from shore has not been of a great and anglers are asking the question “what’s exactly out on the continental shelf?”
Reefs lying in 40-50m depth are currently holding some excellent pinkie snapper to 48cm, school and gummy shark with the latter a tad on the smaller side plus the odd ‘Yank’ flathead to 1.5kg. Calamari squid are still about and make excellent fresh baits for the all the above fish.
Schools of yellowtail kingfish to 7kg are active around inshore reefs with fish being caught from Port Fairy to Peterborough, mainly by boaters.
Land-based anglers are putting in the hours for King George whiting to 41cm, silver trevally to 40cm and gummy shark, many barely legal, after dark. Hard baits are doing better than soft ones, so forget the pipi and concentrate on using squid.
The Curdies River and lake is quite full with the Boggy Creek boat ramp slightly wet underfoot. The river flats are currently inundated and so too are the surrounding banks of the lake, restricting access to land-based anglers. A rain event in mid January certainly put a flow back into the river and has appeared to concentrate the bream downstream with many captures coming from once very shallow areas of the lake.
The mouth is still closed and unless another 50mm or so falls in the very near future, will remain so until autumnal or winter rains force an opening.
In the meantime, bream are responding to local live shrimp and greyback minnow baits but anglers are somewhat forced to squeeze into some waders before using a dip or hauling net and only those in the know should do so as the channel drop off in the lake can bequite dangerous. Suddenly slipping from a 1m in depth into 3m in waders will put a bait gatherer into a critical and potentially deadly situation, so please keep that in mind.
Fish to 41cm have been caught over the once shallow flats and trolling shallow diving minnow lures without encountering weed is now a viable proposition.Reads: 501