Stalking estuary perch
  |  First Published: March 2016

I’ve had an absolutely awesome month of fishing, catching everything from golden perch, bream and even estuary perch – all in the CBD. Now that the school holidays have come to an end, I’d like to reflect on where I’ve fished and what I’ve caught.

While catching big black bream in the Yarra and Maribyrnong River we managed to stumble on some great numbers of estuary perch. And let me tell you, did that excite me! Without a doubt, catching an estuary perch in Melbourne CBD has got to be my best achievement. Especially knowing I can catch public transport in with my mates.

A low profile shallow diving bibbed hardbody lure or a light weighted small soft plastic (either paddle-tail or curl-tail) seem to get results. With good quality Polaroids, sight-casting estuary perch near structure and shadow covered water is a common and effective technique. The part I love most about catching estuary perch is the building anticipation during the stalk and sight-cast. Their large mouths can just about swallow anything. Estuary perch have a reputation of aggression and fight furiously, so often if they are around you will at least get a territorial hit. You will catch a few bream as by-catch because you use the same method to catch both, and quite often they hold in the same area (among structure and in slow moving water). All in all, the fight the estuary perch puts up in relation to its size is unbelievable.

At this time of year my mates and I have a heap of fun collecting live crabs in the Yarra River on low tide. It’s as easy as turning over exposed rocks and collecting crabs to put on a small bait holder hook rigged weightless. The bream absolutely smash them! We have been getting some solid specimens of around 40cm. The prime time to fish is always early morning and late afternoon as that’s when fish feed. To increase your chances of catching either a bream or an estuary perch, fish at these times.

Some sessions of late have been so good we’ve produced double hook-ups. With solid patches of rain in Melbourne, the fish have gone crazy. I’ve found the next couple of days after a solid rain are an awesome time to target fish in Yarra. Species such as estuary perch forage their way up the system, sometimes all the way up to the docklands as all the dirty water coming in from the Bay brings in food.

Overall I’ve had an absolute blast these school holidays fishing with my mates and doing what I love, and what better way to do it than in our very own Melbourne city.

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