Reef fishing firing up
  |  First Published: December 2010

The ocean fishing around Apollo Bay has really fired up with numerous reports of snapper and gummies coming from the deep-water reefs.

Water of 35 to 45m seems to be where all the fish are hiding off Cape Otway and Cape Patton. Use your sounder to find the reef edges and concentrate your efforts with fresh fish baits in those areas.

The slack water periods of the tide fish best but they will bite all day if the current is not to strong, so look up the neap tides and go get yourself a feed of fish.

Other edible species such as morwong and nannygai live around these deep reefs and are often caught as by-catch whilst fishing for snapper and gummies.

Large numbers of flathead have moved back in over the sand flats in 35m off Skenes Creek and can be easily caught from a drifting boat using squid baits. Take along a sea anchor to use if the wind is up as this will help slow your drift and keep your baits on the bottom for longer. A big flathead in this area is over 60cm and at this size they have some big juicy fillets but 40-50cm is more common and still plenty big enough for a feed.

King George whiting have been caught off the waterfall on pippis fished on a running sinker rig. Look for the sandy channels amongst the reef as this is where the schools of whiting will be hunting for food.

It's not too late to target the trout in the local streams but as the river levels drop change your tactics from lures to dry flies for better results.

Dry flies such as Red Tag, Royal Wulff and Klinkhammers are proven fish takers in this region. Fishing for trout early morning or late afternoon will also improve your catch rate.

The estuary systems of the Barham and Aire Rivers are producing good numbers of bream on prawn baits and small hardbodied lures. Fishing the incoming tide when the river mouth is open to the sea has been the most productive time to land a few fish.

Small boats can be launched in the Aire River and this will help you navigate the river to find where the bream are feeding. As you travel up the river keep an eye on the sounder for fish holding close to the bottom.

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