The tributaries of Anderson Inlet are getting a good flush out as we get an early taste of the Winter to come. The rain in the week sees the Tarwin River, Pound Creek, Cherry Tree Creek and Screw Creek flowing into the estuary.
So where do the Estuary go during winter time and what are they feeding on???
After survey fishing with DPI for Estuary Perch (EP’S) over a couple of years, I have come to this conclusion.
Firstly, during the summer months, the EP’s have made home up river in the snags. The larger mature fish will feed on the bait fish that travel on the incoming tide never travelling far from home. The juvenile (school fish) will travel on the outgoing tide feeding off the bottom taking bass yabbies and crab and then travelling up river on the incoming tide.
But during the winter months, the larger EP’s will remain territorial and change feeding habits. They will feed off the surface unaffected by the increased fresh water in the system. The school fish out will move to higher salt water areas in the estuaries closer to the mouth to feed on bass yabbies and crabs.
Secondly, the Estuary Perch are low light feeders…in the summer months when the water is clearer and the sun light penetrates the surface, they feed in deeper water and shady areas under cover. In the winter months, the lower light with the sun setting in the northern sky and many overcast days, they will feed closer to the surface. During this time, the run-off from higher rainfall washes many tasty morsels such as scrub worm and the many varieties of insects into the creeks and rivers.
So what’s the plan??...always fish the outgoing tide with a rising barometer!!!. Fish first or last light. Or an overcast day.
To target the larger EP’S, I would head above the highway bridge on the Tarwin River or up Screw Creek. You will need to locate significant snags and fish tight on the structure and reeds close on the bank. Use surface poppers, floating minnows and crank baits and un-weighted soft plastics (worm and grubs).
The zone to be fishing for the school fish is the Venus Bay Islands through to the Snags. As this area is a great bait ground, particularly Doyles Road, fish the last of the run out tide. If fishing from a kayak, explore the small creeks that flow out between the mangroves. When travelling in your kayak or boat, troll a blade. You will be surprised how often you will land a fish whilst on the move.
Whether land-based, from a kayak or boat you will have a heap of fun targeting perch.
I hope you find this info useful.
Remember teh bag limit is 5 and the best eating size is 32-35cm.