I cannot recall a time in my life when the gummy sharks have been so thick. In years past, two fish in an outing was considered lucky, while this year four or five is common and eight to ten not out of the ordinary.
I must admit that the average size is only around 4kg, but there is sometimes a big fish of 10kg or more to test out your knot tying ability. I use a 30lb braid mainline to reduce water resistance while fishing in the strong currents of Cape Otway. This enables me to feel more bites, and to use lighter sinkers when the current slows around the top or bottom of the tide.
The one disadvantage of braid is that when it comes in contact with the rough skin of a lively shark it will break very easily. For this reason, 1m of 24kg nylon should be used as a leader. Fresh baits of flathead or barracouta make great gummy shark baits, and I rig these on a single 6/0 hook. Make sure you cut the baits into long, thin strips so they don’t twist in the current. Finally, remember the bag limit of two fish per person.
Regular reports of snapper have been floating around too, which is common for this time of year, but what has been unusual is the size of fish being reported. Consistent captures of snapper of around 4kg are making trailerboat anglers very happy. While some fishers seem to have their favourite spots and will protect them no end, the reality is that the fish are scattered right along the coastline. Cape Patton and Cape Otway are great places to dangle a bait of pilchard or squid in search of big red, but don’t write off any reef in 40m of water.
King George whiting have been taken around the inshore reefs on pipis fished on a running sinker rig. Late in the afternoon is a good time to target them, and they have been responding well to a berley of pellets and crushed pilchards soaked in tuna oil. Try out from the waterfall, or around the back of Marengo, but remember to check where the boundaries of the Marine Sanctuaries are before heading out.
By January, Apollo Bay will be in full holiday mode. Many anglers are happy chasing a squid from the pier, while others aren’t satisfied until land is just a speck on the horizon. Whatever your recreational pursuit this summer, I wish you luck. Please stay safe.
Don’t forget the Great Ocean Sports Festival fishing competition this February in Apollo Bay.
In addition to gummies, frequent captures of snapper around 4kg have been keeping the boat anglers entertained this summer in Apollo Bay.Reads: 556