Floods to settle, spring to petal
  |  First Published: November 2016

Recent months saw the solid winter rainfall reach a climax with heavy falls inundating the South West along with most of Victoria. The storms not only kept all of our estuaries open to the sea but put them back into flood once again.

This made fishing rather hard, especially chasing a bream or three, but that doesn’t have to be the case. The floodwaters exiting our estuaries are concentrating the bream, estuary perch and other species right down near the mouth.

Right now is a bait angler’s paradise. Commercially caught frozen baits such as prawn, fillets of pilchard, strips of squid and pipi meat are great. Odorous baits such as these will attract interest and if that happens to be mullet and small salmon, they can be turned into bream bait as well. Fresh fillets of salmon and mullet stripped up with the skin left on and baited on the hook, much like a worm, can be deadly on bream.

Certain local anglers have been doing this in the Curdies River or more accurately, the bottom reaches of Peterborough Lake. Launching a boat at the town ramp and only moving a hundred or so metres up and down the channel tying onto the numerous channel marker poles depending on what the tide is doing has been the go.

Local angler Jim Murfitt and company have been bagging out on solid bream of late. Two anglers in a boat baitfishing and not moving far at all have landed 20 bream in a single session. Many anglers have experienced similar success. Even bank anglers willing to move along the channel and fish the fresh versus salt wedge, depending on the tide, have also landed bream.

The Gellibrand River is still under the influence of a major fresh all of which is literally gushing out of the Otway Ranges and is best avoided until the flood waters calm down.

The offshore scene has been relatively quiet. Boaters have managed to launch off Boat Bay near Peterborough and have latched on to excellent school shark, as well as the odd gummy. Quality squid baits are the go and the by-catch can come in the form of huge leatherjackets and pinkie snapper.

Those in the know have motored westwards toward Warrnambool where some excellent flathead grounds exist. A predominantly sandy bottom interspersed with a bit of weed holds serious sand flathead in deeper than normal waters where one would usually work over. When the ocean temperature begins to rise, this area, a closely guarded secret among a few, can also hold decent King George whiting in excess of 40cm.

When it stops raining for a day and the sun comes out, we’ve had lovely, warm spring weather. Hopefully this will only increase as we inevitably make our way towards summer.


The author’s boat at the Peterborough boat ramp at low tide. No luck that day!

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