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Estuaries looking good for Easter
  |  First Published: April 2017



A mild autumn with some rainfall bodes well for us, as long as we receive another decent winter. I’m not expecting the sheer amount of rainfall that we received last year, but even half that amount will keep our estuaries in reasonable health.

As far as estuary fishing is concerned, the Hopkins River has fired for many. Mulloway in excess of 70cm and 4kg have been caught by anglers targeting bream. Most have taken baits sourced locally such as crab, shrimp and brown shell. Cut pilchards and prawns have accounted for a few as well.

Rumours down our way are of a 180cm mulloway being caught in the Hopkins. I can’t confirm this, but stranger things have happened. Soft plastics in grub and shrimp patterns have also worked and some solid bream have been taken right up and down the river.

Fishing the shallows and mud flats before the sun really hits the water has seen some excellent fish caught. After that, anglers are concentrating their efforts in deeper water to depths of 2m+.

Those who finesse fish with a variety of lures have enticed some excellent estuary perch in excess of 45cm to strike. Like the bream, the perch can be found right up and down the river. The bigger specimens have come from the weed and bulrush-lined channel drop-offs above Jubilee Park.

The Gellibrand River estuary has been solid for estuary perch with the larger, legal specimens being taken in and around the Kangaroobie Camp canoe launching area a couple of kilometres upstream. This area can be accessed via boat or by taking a short drive along the Old Ocean Road.

A bit further along the road, a bridge spanning the river to allow access to farmland was recently explored by two anglers from the bank. Several perch as well as plenty of mullet were caught here on soft plastics by concentrating on and around the bridge’s pylons.

If you read my Crater Lakes report you will see that perch can be found here and even further upstream. Maybe we should remove the ‘estuary’ name from perch, as it’s a well-known fact that they can be caught way upstream in the fresh in the Hopkins too.

The Curdies bream are still on the chew most days with some excellent fish being taken at times. Bait anglers are mainly working the shallows of the lake concentrating their efforts up near the river mouth. Those who specialize in lure and soft plastic fishing are working the drop-offs next to the bank from the Curdievale Boat Ramp right down towards the lake.

School southern bluefin tuna have been caught out from the Boat Bay Boat Ramp near Peterborough in 40m depth. Deep diving minnow lures trolled in and around surface feeding schools have netted fish averaging around 12kg. Bottom bouncers have done well in similar depths with school shark to 17kg taking whole squid baits.

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