Forget the Christmas Turkey!
  |  First Published: December 2007

Despite the approach of summer, cold water temperatures and windy weather have been hampering angling efforts around Warrnambool lately. Hopefully December will mark the start of some exciting action around the southwest coast.

The impressive run of estuary perch has continued to provide good sport for anglers fishing the Hopkins River. The upper reaches around Jubilee Park have been the most productive. Bait anglers have had most success on live minnows under a float, whereas lure anglers have been using minnow style plastics such as Bass and Gulp Minnows in pearl watermelon colour. The perch action hasn’t been confined to the Hopkins, with a 2.4kg beast of fish taken from the Curdies during a local club competition.

December is often a great time to target perch and bream in the local estuaries. Warmer water conditions can cause the fish to become active and very conducive to slamming a lure – and the crowds of people that invade the rivers during January aren’t as much of a problem.

At this stage of the season, there have only been a few incidental captures of small mulloway in the Hopkins, and a couple of better fish from the Moyne, but hopefully things will pick up as we head further into the season.

Some good silver trevally of more than 1kg have been caught in the Moyne recently, with cut pilchards and pipis being productive baits. Silver trevally will also be encountered by anglers targeting the King George whiting and pinky snapper that are prevalent over the inshore reef areas along the coast at this time of year. Small boats need not travel far, as some good starting points are just offshore from all the local ramps.

Bigger boats have continued to capture larger snapper offshore from Port Campbell to Port Fairy, with fish of over 4kg being taken from around the 40m line. Come the end of December, the first kingfish of the season should be starting to appear around the coastline, providing water temperatures are warm enough. Last season, waters to the east of Port Fairy produced the best catches, with the Killarney/Basin area being very quiet. Targeting these kingfish around the inshore reefs can be very weather dependant. Low winds and swell are essential for safe angling.

On the freshwater scene, Lake Ellingamite has been producing some excellent fish, since anglers have finally been able to launch canoes and small boats on the lake again. Brown and rainbow trout to over 2kg, and some impressive redfin approaching this size, have been encountered by anglers using a variety techniques. Hopefully access will still be possible in December, because the lake often fishes well in early summer. If ordinary weather wipes out your planned saltwater trip, some good trout can still be taken in the local rivers during December. Fishing live baits under a float in the deeper holes can be a productive technique over the warmer months.

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