Open mouth opens options
  |  First Published: October 2015

On Friday 7 August the Curdies River mouth at Peterborough was manually opened for the second time in two weeks, but this time successfully.

The first event saw huge seas actually dump seawater into the system before closing the mouth within a matter of hours. Further heavy rains quickly saw more water flow down into the lake and inundate not only the road leading to the main boat ramp, but nearby house blocks as well as the camping ground.

A week or so after the opening saw the bream move down towards the mouth not only for a taste of highly oxygenated salt water but to take advantage of any small prey caught up either exiting or entering the system. It’s been many months since this estuary has been under the influence of tidal movement and it certainly needed a decent flush out.

Once the estuarine waters calmed and seawater began pushing in, in earnest, the bream began to school up and slowly moved back into the lower reaches of the river in preparation for their annual spawning run.

While the bream were down near the mouth, the fishing was excellent to say the least. Even baits such as frozen packet prawn saw many an aggressive take.

Here’s hoping that anglers obeyed the daily bag limits and I’m hoping that some, like me, practiced catch and release. The ideal areas to fish were just back from the wedge where the fresh met the salt. This was best undertaken from a boat on an incoming tide.

Last month, a massive upsurge of barrel southern bluefin tuna were being caught along our coastline. Fish in excess of 110kg have been caught, mainly on skirted lures such as Pakulas in pink, white and purple. For many months smaller school fish have been caught right in close to the shore and a definite absence of bigger fish was noted. Now they have turned up in force, but for how long? Technically August has spelled the beginning of the end for the tuna run down here but then again, rules are made to be broken.

Local offshore angler Marty Ellul from Warrnambool went out with his young son Xavier in tow looking for tuna. However, what they did end up catching was a thumping mahimahi. These allegedly tropical pelagic fish have been caught in previous seasons and apparently follow the tuna schools along our southern coastline in winter. Have they always been there or is this a recent phenomenon? One thing for sure; you don’t need to fly north to tangle with a mahimahi!

August saw more welcome rainfall across the South West, seemingly enough to open many estuary mouths to the sea. As we enter into September the air temperatures are beginning to rise and the days are getting longer, making it a more comfortable proposition for anglers to get out and wet a line.

Springtime down here does see the wind pick up from the North West making an offshore trip difficult. This annual phenomenon has yet to begin in earnest and fingers crossed it doesn’t get too blowy.

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