Rain has been absent, but the fishing in the estuaries and offshore has been superb.
Water levels have dropped considerably in the Curdies River and lake estuary system, which has affected the depth of the lake to the point where only kayaks can venture out to much of the water. These conditions have concentrated the bream close to the river mouth where the depth remains a constant as opposed to their regular autumnal habit to congregate in the lake in search of their favourite food, ‘greyback’ (which is what we call the local whitebait).
It’s here that I, and a few others have concentrated our efforts to cast an array of soft plastics, metal vibes and shallow to medium diving hardbodies.
Recently I have had great success with bream to 39cm on Fish Arrow 3” Flash J Huddles mostly in pro/blue silver, which seems to imitate the local greyback minnows. On the occasion this hasn’t worked I have swapped to Damiki 3” Armor Shads in moebi.
Many bait anglers working the river mouth back upstream to The Lodge and Baileys Straits have reported using a creel net hanging over the side with at least a legal bream or two inside. Frozen prawn, packet glassies, locally netted shrimp and freshly caught juvenile salmon filleted have netted quite a few fish for the bait brigade.
Parks Victoria manually opened the Gellibrand River at Princetown under directions from the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority on 12 March. Despite their best efforts, much of the surface (more oxygenated) water ran out to sea causing a minor fish kill (yet again).
The fish carcasses were collected by local water watch volunteers and were mostly small mullet and salmon. Does that mean that the previous kill took out most of the bream and estuary perch – or have they just been lucky this time?
I hope to have ventured down to the ‘Gelli’ soon, now that I can get my boat under the bridge and head upstream in search of bream and perch. I will report my efforts in the next issue.
The offshore scene continues to motor on nicely with boaters concentrating most of their efforts out in 40-50m depth. That can mean an average of 8km offshore down our way. Bottom bouncing has seen a plethora of species come aboard, including sizeable school shark to 18kg. On top of that, pinkie snapper to 40cm, blue morwong, sand flathead and the odd nannygai.
Closer to the surface, large schools of Australian salmon have kept anglers busy when the yellowtail kingfish and southern bluefin tuna aren’t on the chew. Big baits floated out the back are attracting interest from mako sharks up to 70kg with quality squid being the overall top bait.Reads: 1591