Briny a good option until rain
  |  First Published: April 2016

February’s weather was not extreme regarding heat, but the distinct lack of rainfall continues to plague us in the South West and no doubt, elsewhere in the state.

However, fish continue to be caught with some exceptional catches happening out on the briny.

The southern bluefin tuna season has never really finished up along our coastline, with captures of schooling tuna occurring almost constantly in depths as little as 40m. Most fish range around the 8-12kg mark, but some slightly bigger specimens have been boated.

Right now anglers are travelling from far and wide to our shores to specifically target yellowtail kingfish and the tuna seem to be a very welcome by-catch.

Launching from Boat Bay near Peterborough, Warrnambool and Port Fairy or from further afield at Portland, many sizeable kingies are being boated. Knife jigs, large soft plastics in white or skirted and minnow lures approaching game fish size have all attracted interest from kingfish with a few tuna thrown in.

Geelong’s own gun angler Neil Slater has slayed the kingfish off Narrawong’s reefs in recent times and has boated some real hoodlums that have given his arms a decent stretch.

In similar depths, quality gummy and school shark have been taken bottom bouncing with fresh squid strips and tentacles being the prime bait. Pinkie snapper, morwong, leatherjacket and bluethroat wrasse have been the by-catch.

Further out, some excellent Tasmanian trumpeter, ling, blue grenadier, knifejaw and even porbeagle shark have been taken bottom bouncing the depths, but not as deep as usual. Reefs lying in depths under 200m have produced the goods for some.

Much closer inshore has finally seen some King George whiting, sweep, rock cod and the odd silver trevally taken with Newfield Bay and the Port Campbell jetty being popular spots for anglers to wet a line, especially from dusk onwards.

The Curdies River and lake have seen some decent bream coming on board in the mid 30s. The mouth has been closed for some time now, and water levels in the lake are dropping due to evaporation and lack of rainfall, so launch from the Curdievale (Boggy Creek) boat ramp and not from Peterborough.

Lake anglers have had success using frozen prawn and whitebait and fillets of freshly caught mullet and salmon with the skin left on. Those who fish lures, such as soft plastics and metal vibes, have picked up fish within 2m of the riverbank while casting shallow and medium diving lures right at the weed beds. They have also pulled out some solid bream.

The Gellibrand River at Princetown remains closed to the sea and full so as the boat ramp is on the seaward side of the campground bridge, no one except kayakers can get underneath to venture upstream where the estuary perch are very active, especially around the stands of bank side tea tree. A variety of lures and plastics are attracting hits from EPs on a given day.

Cooler weather is just around the corner, but bring on the rain, please.

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