Quality floods in with mouth open
  |  First Published: December 2016

By December the mouth of the Curdies River at Peterborough was still well and truly open to the sea. Although a sand bar of sorts has formed at the mouth, but the river has cut around it, allowing highly oxygenated seawater to surge in twice a day.

The mouth has been open for close on six months, which hasn’t happened for many, many years. This has allowed whitebait, or greyback minnow, as the locals call them, to enter the system en mass. This usually occurs around October.

Anglers in the know bring out the hauling nets and wade the shallows in an effort to catch enough bait for a session or two.

When the greyback come in, the bream switch from shrimp and other baits and concentrate all their efforts on rounding up and smashing schools of whitebait in the shallows, and they literally hit them like a freight train. Keep that in mind when using them for bait; in other words, back your reel’s drag right off and let them run. If fishing the whitebait live, use a small hook, size 4-6, and pin through the upper jaw of the minnow. If the bait is dead (and best preserved in sawdust) place the hook through the head and do a simple lock loop with the leader around the tail.

Soft plastic anglers should be using minnow style plastics favouring white and flashy silver colours like the Fish Arrow Flash J shads.

The bream have been congregating just outside the river mouth where it enters the lake and they are still trying to spawn. This area is known as the ‘aquarium’. From here up past the ‘island’ and into Baileys Straits should see most of the bream action take place. This is where all boaters should be concentrating their efforts.

Keep in mind that mulloway could very well be still present in the system. Earlier on in the year, a local angler caught one that was nudging a metre in length. That was before the mouth opened, so those fish may well have left, but others have had plenty of opportunity to enter.

Offshore has been hit and miss, mainly due to windy conditions, but when boaters have been able to get out, many have been bottom bouncing over reefs in around 40m and have been rewarded with some solid pinkie snapper to 2kg as well as the odd one around 4kg.

School shark to 17kg have been prevalent along with the odd gummy. Blue Morwong, the odd flathead, leatherjacket and nannygai (red snapper) have also all ended up in creels.

The Port Campbell jetty has seen some King George whiting to 38cm caught on pipi, as well as the occasional gummy shark, mostly after dark. There’s plenty of ooglies caught here as well. It’s just a matter of wading through the rubbish fish until something resembling quality turns up.

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