February bream and by-catches
  |  First Published: February 2017

The estuary fishing has really kicked into gear down here. Bream have well and truly finished their spawning run and have split up into smaller schools or gone solo.

The Curdies River is fishing extremely well with bream averaging 36cm. The top bait is live greyback minnows netted down near the mouth and presented by lightly pinning the bait through the upper jaw. The bream takes are nothing short of explosive when fishing with greybacks.

Lure anglers are using soft plastics in minnow or grub patterns in natural colours and are receiving similar attention. The bream are moving in and out of the lake into the river and are being caught up as far as Baileys Straits. There are more reports of mulloway in the system with several bream specialists being busted off by something big.

The Hopkins River is also fishing well with some solid bream and estuary perch taken by boater and shore angler alike. Thumpers exceeding 40cm in length have been caught, but this is the exception rather than the rule. A variety of live baits are working well here. Live crab, brown shell and shrimp are accounting for many captures, as well as soft plastics in grub, minnow and shrimp patterns.

Fishing the flats before 10am has been the go. Going deep into depths below 3m has seen the fishing window extended.

The Gellibrand River at Princetown has been reasonable for estuary perch to 34cm. Fish have been taken downstream right up against the reeds or upstream near the Kangaroobie Camp canoe launching site. Just opposite here is a stand of tea tree growing right along the bank and the perch are holding station here.

Soft plastic fishing is the go, as there are some snags on the bottom and it’s cheaper to lose a plastic than a minnow lure. There’s every chance an angler will pick up a pan-size brown trout up here as well. The bream can be found from the road bridge downstream almost to the mouth.

Cray fishing has really been the go down here since just before Christmas. Most crays are coming in well over a kilo with a 2.6kg beast recently boated. Boaters are launching off Boat Bay near Peterborough, as there are almost limitless reefs nearby crawling with crays. On a calm day, divers are also get their fair share of the red beasts and in some cases, only a few metres from shore.

Out around the 50m mark, excellent school and gummy sharks have been caught bottom bouncing. Pinkie snapper to 1.5kg, sand flathead and leatherjackets have been regular by-catches, as well as the usual run of ooglies. Squid has been the best bait favoured by most. These can easily be caught – send out a baited pilchard and allow it to slowly waft down.

As each day passes, we inevitably approach autumn. The wind appears to be slowly dying down, which means more time spent out on the briny. There will be less boat traffic with the summer holidays winding up. It’s all looking good.

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