Bream & Salmon Season on the West Coast

After a couple of lovely stream trips that just might have caught the last settled weather of autumn, I’ve begun to drift towards my winter staples, lakes and salt. It’s almost as if a primitive switch has been flicked in my brain in response to shorter daylight hours or something. Yes, I fished lakes and saltwater through summer, and I may yet have a final stream fish while it’s still allowed. However, something has definitely shifted for me in the last week or two, so with Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning clear, I headed not north-east to the streams, but south to the Otways coast.

The Aire was blocked at the mouth, as these flooding flats show. However most other estuaries nearby are open.

I won’t claim to have cleverly chosen the conditions (this week, it was Tuesday/ Wednesday or nothing) but as luck would have it, there happened to be big tides running, with an afternoon peak. I like the good push of saltwater into the estuaries which comes with a big tide. Meanwhile, with a gentle swell and not much wind, there would still be some beach and boat opportunities.

Working the flats as the tide comes in.

As it turned out, the salmon were inexplicably scarce in the sea this time, but the estuaries open to the sea were on! You could almost sense the excitement from the mullet, salmon and little bream as they tore about on the newly-flooded flats, or raced past in the current. A purple and red Hammerhead did best, although to be honest, that was the fly I already had tied on and after a silvery ‘sea-run’ bream took it, I never changed. (Interestingly, the little bream which I could see chased or plucked at the fly with all but one failing to hook up, yet the two big ones I caught took beautifully ‘blind’.)

A good bream on the Hammerhead, caught in knee-deep water.

Time ran out just as the sea water was really racing upstream yesterday, so I had to endure a classic ‘goin’ when ya should be comin’’ moment as I drove away from splashing schools in order to meet my boys’ sports commitments. Still, I’ll be back again soon and even though I’ll certainly miss the autumn stream fishing, I can’t wait.

The salmon in the sea were quiet, but the ones in the estuaries were going silly.