Bridport Hot Spots
Bridport is one of the most popular summer holiday destinations, and although many of the leisure seekers are after the sun and the surf, there are also a great number who seek the excellent fishing available there. For many people, it is a case of just chuck and chance, so this piece is intended to be a short guide to the best fishing that Bridport has to offer.
As with any fishing, local knowledge is priceless, and with that in mind the editor, the publisher and a good friend with a great boat engaged the services of local expert Todd Gooch to let loose where all the fish are. Todd, while only being quite young, has had a broad range of fishing experience, from catching bream and trout on fly, to landing huge snapper on regular occasions. If any one knows where the fish are in Bridport, and is likely to tell you straight, then it is probably Todd Gooch.
There are a whole range of fish species available at Bridport, from the ubiquitous flathead, salmon, pike, couta, trevally, yellowtail, tailor, leatherjacket, as well as the king of the bay, the snapper.
Most holiday anglers would probably target the flathead; they are easy to catch, as well as being excellent eating. However, with a few changes to the basic approach, all sorts of fish are a possibility.
To cover the bay in detail would probably be too great an exercise, what follows is some detail on the prominent "hot spots', as well as some general information on the bays over all fishing potential.
The Sisters is the group of rocks out of the mouth of the bar way, and the exit to the boat ramp. Species to be caught here include blue head, flathead, salmon, pike, couta, and snapper. Tips for fishing here include using a good berley trail, unweighted baits of either fresh crab or squid, and spinning soft plastic lures through the berley trail. Another good trick for the snapper is to drift down a whole pilchard mounted on ganged hooks. Even though this is a big bait, all sorts of fish will have a go at it.
Boats are best anchored here to the seaward side of the rocks. Trolling large shallow running lures can be productive on pike and couta, as well as salmon from time to time.
The sandy stretches around the area where the Great Forester empties into the sea is an excellent place for good sized flathead, schools of salmon, as well as the odd pike and couta. The tips for this area are quite straightforward, simply drift baits such as pilchards, squid and strip baits on paternoster rigs, start out in the deeper water and work our way in. Watch the surf though, get too close and the breaking waves may tip you over. Not a good look.
Trolling parallel to the beach with deep diving bibbed lues is another way to catch above average flathead, as well as black back salmon. Big sea run trout are always a possibility here, every year trout to ten pounds are caught out on the beach.
This is an excellent place to troll bright lures for the voracious barracouta, these bars of silver will attack just about anything, although lures of either blue/ silver, and red/ white seem to be best. Drifting with baits will also yield good flathead, and this could well be another place to find good sized snapper.
Reasonable sized pike are to be found here, these fish are great sport on lures and flies, as well as being good to eat. During the height of summer schools of tailor have been found here, these toothy fellows are great sport, if not great table fish.
Southern Cross Reef
The southern cross reef Is out in the middle of the bay, almost directly seaward from the town ship. Drifting with deep baits can result in excellent bags of good fish, but is also very severe on terminal tackle. There are good stocks of large leather jackets out here, as well as flathead and the usual run of reef fish. The paternoster rig is the best; this keeps the bait up out of the rocks and other snaggy bits.
The real potential of this area is the trolling for the surface species. Pike, big salmon, couta, as well as some of the lesser tuna species are all caught here from time to time, bigger lures are best, the day we were there we caught 20 centimetre couta on 15 centimetre lures, so don't worry about things being too big.
When trolling keep the speed up a little, and zigzag the boat to cover as much territory as possible. When really thick schools of fish are found, then it is best to drift and spin for them, this gives a better coverage of the water.
The Old Pier
This relic from times gone by can be a real fish magnet, there are millions of leather jacket around here, as well as yellowtail (yakkas), flathead, couta, pike, salmon and the like. Trolling around and about will produce results, as will anchoring up and letting down a good berley trail. The leather jacket are a great eating fish, very nice indeed when done on the barbeque.
Other General Spots
There are excellent places for drifting all over the bay, if the wind allows it, the best ones are parallel to the beaches along the gutters and channels that are gouged out by the tides. The paternoster rig is the best, it is simple, readily available, and has the minimum of fuss. Drifting with lures and flies are also great ways to tempt a feed of fish.
There are probably millions of fish on the sand all over the bay, but by using the signs that the tide and wind provide, you can find bigger and better fish. Where there are channels and rips, there will always be fish, as these place naturally attract bait fish and other salty titbits.
The great thing about the fishing at Bridport is that it is simple to do, easy to access, and there are plenty of fish. Good sturdy gear is all that is needed, a small range of baits, and all day to bob around in the sun catching fish. Sounds idyllic, doesn't it!
Always be careful out in the boat, and keep a close eye on the weather. Bridport can be a very sheltered and smooth place to fish, but should the wind change to the west or north west then things can get a little choppy. Enjoy the fishing, put on plenty of sun screen, and only take what fish you need, they keep better in the water!