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Rivers and opportunities open up
  |  First Published: October 2016



The welcome but heavy rains that fell in the South West during July have continued into August. Some fine and springlike weather is already occurring in between rain bands.

Our local estuaries are all receiving a well-earned flush out, which is keeping the respective mouths open to the sea and preventing any build up of sand bars that could occur every time a southerly buster stirs up the Southern Ocean.

The Curdies River is currently in minor flood, but down near the mouth has been productive at times; especially on an incoming tide.

Bait, lure and fly have taken plenty of sea mullet and juvenile salmon, on the incoming tide. Boats have been launching at the town ramp at Peterborough and boaters have worked the lower channel in the lake for bream.

Bait fishing has been the go with cut mullet or salmon flesh working well. Tying up to one of the many channel marker poles and fishing the edge of where the sea water meets the muddied fresh has seen a few bream landed in recent times. Local bream angler Jim Murfitt and a mate have been out in a boat a few times and caught reasonable bream around the low thirties in length.

I’ve had a few goes out in the boat myself for little return, but on one recent occasion I found a school near the mouth and by casting a Pontoon 21 deep diving Greedy Guts minnow into the muddied fresh and retrieving the lure back into the incoming salt, I managed several ‘average’ but certainly legal bream within a short period of time.

The Gellibrand is also in minor flood, but with a stronger run-out occurring compared to the Curdies, this river should be avoided for the time being.

The offshore scene has been firing well when the weather allows, and there are certainly fish to be caught at present.

Local angler Steve McQuinn and company recently went out and landed a couple of decent gummy shark on bait then moved in closer to the shore and bagged out on sizeable flathead.

Another local angler, Wally Wynd, also ventured out off Boat Bay near Peterborough with a mate into 50m depth and they both hooked into and landed three decent school shark bottom bouncing squid and mackerel baits.

The Port Campbell pier also remains a popular spot for land-based anglers and has seen some reasonable winter whiting caught close to the nearby reef. The fish aren’t huge, certainly legal, but don’t expect to bag out. Catch six or so fish in a session and you are doing well.

Pipi flesh held in place on the hook with hosiery elastic is the number one bait to employ, as the whiting don’t appear to want to take anything else.

Schools of Australian salmon, squid and to a lesser extent silver trevally regularly enter the bay at Port Campbell, and if you happen to be there at the right time you will certainly experience plenty of action. Some intrepid fishos are soaking larger baits at night for gummy shark, as these fish do move into shallower water at night in search of prey. But on some nights you may have to work your way through the resident ray population before finally hooking up to a gummy.

Early spring sees very changeable weather, but I expect it will warm up considerably by the time my next report is published; and also by that time many more boaters should be out on the water getting stuck into the new season snapper run.

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