The ‘red tide’ is on its way. For those of you that have not heard of the red tide - it is what the locals call the annual migration of snapper into our bays and inlets.
August spells the start of this and gets my heart thumping, especially when I think back to the cracker season we had last year. I can’t believe a year has already past!
Offshore fishermen are usually first to get a shot at the early arrivals and often the first fish of the season are taken in early August on the reefs between Torquay and Point Lonsdale. The front-runners sometimes are the bigger fish. Following the migration of snapper are the predatory species such as thresher and mako sharks that take advantage of such a large food source. Once the water temp starts to warm up these fish will also start to fire up, but we are still a couple of months away from that.
Coinciding with the red tide are the species which sustain the snapper, southern calamari, pilchard and garfish. All these species increase in numbers at this time of year, so there is no excuse but to use fresh bait. They are all fun to catch and as well as being great bait they are also fantastic on the plate - so don’t be lazy when it comes to your bait.
We have still been catching reasonable numbers of flathead offshore and down to the east in 35m of water. Single strips of squid have been the best bait. Our mainstay over winter has been whiting and they are still being caught on a regular basis around the weed beds. Long leaders and running sinkers are the order of the day when chasing them.
Gummy Sharks are also a favourite for us over winter. We often anchor up and run berley when chasing the grey subs. This can often result in a by-catch of less desirable species such as banjo and Port Jackson sharks, which is not a bad thing on those cold winter days.
Land based anglers should be trying their luck along our beaches. There have been Australian salmon of up to 2kg taken along our coast. Point Lonsdale Pier has also been producing salmon in good numbers - if you want to have a bit of fun head down there with a light rod and some lures. Barwon estuary is also another ‘must’ visit if you want a tussle with a salmon.
Whale sightings are commonplace this time of year. If you do come across these majestic beauties, please give them the freedom they deserve and remember that it is illegal to motor towards them.
Stay safe and warm and I’ll see you on the water.
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