Blades for Glory
  |  First Published: July 2009

With several decent river estuaries within a short drive of Apollo Bay with easy access from the Great Ocean Road, it staggers me that they don't cop more of a hiding.

Having caught the bream bug pretty bad this winter I have been giving them all a look with a range of lures that includes small hard bodies, soft plastics and metal blades. Although all methods have caught fish it is without doubt that the bladed lures are catching more fish. Small metal blades such as the Ecogear VX35 and TT Switchblade have caught me bream to 44cm and estuary perch to 40cm in recent trips.

I think the success can be put down to the fish schooling deep for the winter. Casting the metal blade and letting in sink to the bottom followed by tiny hops along the bottom allowing the lure to sit for a second or two in between each hop has proven deadly.

Once you catch a fish keep casting to the same area and others should follow if they are schooled up. It amazes me that I can be standing right next to the road with cars whizzing by and still catching a fish every cast from some of these small coastal estuaries. I could tell you the exact spots I have been fishing but I think finding them for yourself is half the reward.

A few rivers worth trying are the Erskine River in Lorne, Kennett River, Barham River and the Aire River but don't count out a few of the smaller systems either.

Winter Whiting

On the boating front all the talk is about big numbers of King George whiting coming from the reefs at Kennett River. Keep moving around until you locate the fish and then put out some berley to keep them around. The schools of whiting have varied in size with some anglers reporting small fish of 30cm while others have hit the jackpot and landed some beauties of 38-40cm. A light running sinker rig and a size 4 hook loaded with squid or pipis has been doing all the damage.

Surf action

Beach anglers continue to brave the cold conditions and are being rewarded with some good hauls of salmon. Fishing with bluebait on a two hook paternoster rig around the top of the tide should see you catching salmon to 2kg. The rocks at Marengo will be worth fishing for silver trevally when the sea is flat. Throw out handfuls of berley and use a float to keep your bait off the bottom. Pipis or pilchard fillets fished on a size 2 hook about 1.5m under your float work best. When berleying from the rocks keep an eye out for schools of garfish splashing on the surface. If you see little swirls but can't see any fish chances are they will be gars. Take along a light 2-3kg rod and fish with tiny pieces of pipi or squid under a light pencil float. Remember to take extreme care when fishing the rocks and if it looks to rough then give it a miss

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