Bream recover after flush
  |  First Published: July 2015

May has seen schooling southern bluefin tuna move right along our coastline heading eastwards and hugging the shore.

Smaller ocean going vessels have been able to easily access depths around 30m, which only lies several kilometres offshore at the most. From Warrnambool right through to Apollo Bay some serious tuna action has taken place with fish to 12km falling to a wide variety of lures including the popular octopus style plastics. It’s a shame that hardly any adequate boat launching facilities for use by the general public lie between Warrnambool (which needs work) and Apollo Bay.

Boat Bay at Peterborough requires 4WD vehicles and launching is dependent on the tide. If you want to launch at Port Campbell, a crane licence, winch strapping and brackets welded to your boat is all you need for access to an incredible amount of fishable coastline…

The Curdies Estuary has been a tad up and down of late with most bream being caught from the lower reaches of the river to just out in the lake along the channel markers. The cooler weather is killing off some of the colossal weed growth thus opening up more fishable ground out in the lake. Plus, thanks to recent heavy rainfall the system is filling and hopefully by July at the earliest a manual opening of the mouth can go ahead.

Meanwhile, the bream are responding to baits such as local shrimp and greyback minnow. Other baits such as pipi meat, frozen packet prawn and river whitebait are working on a given day.

May and June saw the Gellibrand River at Princetown in flood mode with the Great Ocean Road blocked to traffic at one stage. As the ‘Gelli’ flows out of the Otway Ranges, this coastal band of forested hills attracts a lot of moisture from the Southern Ocean and as the locals say, ‘If it doesn’t rain for a week, we’re having a drought.’

The ‘drought’ has been well and truly broken and the estuary has received a good flush out or two with seawater slowly pushing back up into the system.

Bream to 33cm have taken baits such as earthworm and small yabby mainly in the lower reaches. When floodwaters have settled, estuary perch to 38cm have responded well to minnow lures cast close to the bank in the upper reaches of the estuary. The perch have been taken throughout daylights hours and fishing at dawn, dusk and after dark has not been necessary. Good sea mullet to 40cm and small juvenile salmon to 33cm have greedily taken lures and bait aimed mainly at bream.

It’s good to see this special estuary recover so well after the massive fish kill that occurred only two or so years ago. It’s very important to practice catch and release when it comes to bream and perch just so hopefully a half decent spawning can take place in the near future.

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