Going deep in the depths of winter
  |  First Published: August 2016

Southern bluefin tuna from 6-12kg have been found off our coastline schooling in and around 60m. Boaters launching off Boat Bay near Peterborough, the breakwater boat ramp at Warrnambool and from the Moyne River at Port Fairy have found success.

The fish are responding to a wide variety of lures including deep divers and 8-12” skirted ‘occy’ lures. The more popular colours have been chartreuse, white and blue. Last month, no big ‘barrel’ size tuna had been caught locally, but from Port MacDonnell through to Portland a few fish in excess of 60kg have been hooked, lost and landed.

In late June rough southerly seas closed the mouth of the Hopkins River once again, but probably only for a short time. The river was very full and waves were breaking over the sand bar.

The bream have been a tad quiet, but a few solid estuary perch have been caught, mainly on minnow lures cast and retrieved around dusk over newly flooded ground.

The bream in the Curdies River have been inconsistent of late, but they do tend to slow down somewhat during the depths of winter. The river and lake is full, but still not quite at the level where the mouth can be safely opened.

The bream have spread out all around the lake, so basically they have scattered right throughout the lower reaches of the system. Bait anglers using scrub worm, packet white bait and locally netted shrimp have caught a few fish to 37cm.

The Gellibrand River has opened and closed a couple of times recently, making fishing there a tad unpredictable. However, whether it’s open to the sea or closed due to high seas piling up sand at the entrance, estuary perch will be caught in the lower reaches on minnow lures and soft plastics with the bridge pylons being a popular spot to work.

The mouth of the Latrobe Creek has also held schooling perch, especially during the evening. It’s just a matter of launching a boat and getting under the bridge in order to access fishable water upstream. This, of course, is out of the question if the river mouth is closed. Due to high rainfall, it doesn’t take long for the river to quickly fill.

The jetty at Port Campbell has been fairly consistent for winter whiting to 38cm taking pipi meat only. Apparently the fish are turning their noses up at all other baits, even squid strips!

Care must be taken when fishing off the pier, especially on the lower level. High seas can quickly flood the lower level while waves breaking against the side of the pier can easily drench any unprepared angler.

Despite the intense cold, of which we have not really experienced in recent years, anglers are still braving the elements and getting out there in the hope of landing a fish or two. As long as the rain keeps falling, our estuaries will continue to get a well needed flush out and hopefully this will also apply to the Curdies estuary, which needs to be manually opened, as the water level is not quite there yet.

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