Boat anglers are swarming to Apollo Bay, as the fishing has been nothing short of exceptional.
Large numbers of gummy and school sharks are being taken right along the coast from Lorne to Cape Otway. In previous years a school shark was a rare capture that had everyone talking but the past few months has seen a large increase in their numbers to a point where they are now expected every trip.
While most schoolies average around 6kg some thumpers of 15-20kg have also been encountered in recent times and fishing with a wire trace is a must. The gummy sharks don’t seem to get put off by the wire so you only have yourself to blame if a school shark bites through your mono leader.
Fresh fillets of fish such as barracouta, flathead or salmon have been the preferred baits for the sharks but they will also take squid and octopus cut into long slender pieces. To locate a good shark fishing location look for the edges of reef in 35-70m of water but make sure you fish over the sand and not on the reef.
Drift fishing over the reef will give you a good chance of finding some decent-sized snapper schools with fish ranging in size from 1-4kg. When targeting snapper, down-size your gummy gear to a 30lb mono leader and a two hook paternoster rig loaded with 4/0 size hooks. Squid and octopus baits will stay on longer and stop the small reef fish from stealing your bait.
Nannygai, blue morwong and jackass morwong will also be found over the deeper reefs.
King George whiting have been biting well off Marengo and the waterfall reefs in 4-10m of water. Again look for reef edges or sandy channels running through the reef systems and concentrate your efforts in those areas.
A light berley trail will sometimes help to bring the fish around but if you haven’t caught any after 20 minutes try moving to new locations until you find the fish.
Other boating options for February include fishing for squid inside the Apollo Bay harbour, landing a feed of flathead from 35m off Skenes Creek or chasing mako and blue sharks out in deep 70m plus water.
Land-based fishos should try the pier for a squid or King George whiting, the rocks at Marengo for whiting and trevally or the rock platform at Skenes Creek for snapper late in the afternoon. If the sea is rough then try the Barham or Aire rivers for bream and trout in the upper estuary systems.
All of these methods and locations are excellent options for February and if the fishing remains as good as it has for the past few months, you should have no trouble putting a bend in your rod.
School sharks of this size have become a common capture around Apollo Bay in recent months. Both school and gummy sharks have been plentiful with some bigger specimens pushing 20kg!Reads: 5814