Salty success stories
  |  First Published: March 2016

Local angler Steve McQuinn and company recently launched off Boat Bay at Peterborough to look for a feed of fish to bring home, and they certainly weren’t disappointed. The boys ventured out and anchored up in anticipation of some decent fish. They didn’t have to wait long as two gummy sharks at 15kg and 18kg respectively were quickly boated.

The boys then made a move westwards to their flathead mark and within 90 or so minutes had their bag of forty sand flathead. The icing on the cake had to be two lovely crayfish they pulled from their nets on the way home. Days on the water don’t get much better than that!

It’s very much a similar case with most other anglers that have headed out to sea. Mako sharks from 40-100kg+ have come on the bite of late and have responded readily to large baits ballooned out the back. Schools of yellowtail kingfish to 11kg have made their presence felt, and surface poppers, bibbed lures and knife jigs have all taken fish over the inner reefs.

The Hopkins River at Warrnambool has been a hive of fishing activity, with many anglers and boaters out to chase mulloway. The mouth of the river is currently closed and water levels are high but with no threat of flooding (due to a distinct lack of rainfall). A sizeable school of mulloway have consequently been contained within the estuary. Although many caught turn out to be just undersize (60cm minimum legal length), many are quite acceptable in size, although I’ve yet to hear of fish exceeding 90cm in length. Many fish are picked up by bream and perch anglers and if played carefully, are often landed. All in all these fish, even if they are undersize, still pull plenty of line off the reel and are great fun to tackle on light gear.

There are plenty of bream and perch about, although the majority of fish don’t exceed 33cm. The mud flats are now accessible to boats, and fish are found feeding actively there until approximately 10am when the sun gets high in the sky. After that they move off the flats and into waters with a depth of 2.5-3m. Soft plastics such as Fish Arrow Flash J Huddles and deep diving minnows such as Pontoon 21 Crack Jacks and Greedy Guts in most colours have been successful for many anglers. Work them through the day until early evening when the fish once again move back into the shallows.

The Curdies River has been quiet lately, but a few bait anglers have had success down in the lake using nothing but small packet prawns. There are plenty of small salmon stealing baits – the flesh from these fish work excellently as bait for bream. Usually bream move right upstream past the Boggy Creek boat ramp at this time of year, but anglers have reportedly given this section a good flogging for little return, so for the time being the fish are further downstream in the estuary.

The heat of summer and a distinct lack of rain haven’t helped, with all estuaries well and truly closed off to the sea and water levels slowly dropping.

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