There has been plenty of action with the pelagic species dominating the fishing scene offshore, and the inshore fishing has been second to none.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the whiting this year is the best we have ever seen. There is just no doubting it and while anglers have been catching whiting by the bag full, solid gummies continue to roam the channels and calamari hide amongst the weed beds.
Those with boats that are able to head into the offshore waters have been blessed once again by these high-speed bullets.
Striped tuna have been found in football-sized schools right along the back of the coastline and those keen to get stuck into them had some of the most entertaining light tackle battles any Victorian angler could ask for.
Striped tuna can be quite skittish when it comes to boat noise and tend to go deep on the approach. The best technique has been to troll 2” and 3” coloured skirts around on 40lb leader with a single hook. Once a school of fish is sighted, drive ahead of it and turn cutting them off. This will allow the lures to drag over the top of the school, hopefully gaining a hook up.
I headed out for a quick arvo session recently and while the fish were patchy we did manage to catch a few. Small blue/white and plain white skirts did the job with even an undersized yellowtail kingfish liking one of the skirts.
After much playing around trying to keep up with the schools, we deployed our tuna teaser and found many of our hook-ups started to come from those lures that were closer to it. Continuing to run the lures behind the teaser turned out to be the most effective technique for success. While the fish were skittish earlier on, the teaser totally changed that after it was deployed.
Although they might only be striped tuna, catching tuna in Melbourne is a very special feeling.
One of the most elusive fish in our offshore waters is of course is the yellowtail kingfish. We all now know they show up each year, but to catch them, just where do you begin? It is a maze out there, underwater reefs, kelp forests and the rest just begging for a fish to be pulled out.
This season a few anglers tried their luck and only a few were rewarded for their efforts. Long days on the water spent watching the sounder, studying bottom contours and bait schools, perfecting techniques to put together the right pieces of the puzzle were the keys to being successful.
Gawaine Blake from Think Big Charters continued his successes on figuring out these confusing fish. To date, Gawaine and Rich have caught and released many kings to 14kg using various techniques. The most successful has been to troll a specific tuna/kingfish dredge bar by Strike Point Tackle.
The teaser has been raising schools of kings with some numbers uncountable behind the boat. From there, it has been a matter of flicking in a 110mm Pilly Flick bait soft plastics into the masses and hanging on. While the fish have been scattered right along the coast, the greater numbers of school fish have come from the Pyramid and Seal Rock areas. Before hitting these locations though, the correct conditions are required so check the latest weather report before heading out.
The mako scene has been nothing but sensational and why not so with all the striped tuna that are around.
Customers of Tackle World Cranbourne, Mark fished with his mate caught a lovely mako that tipped the scales at 30kg. They headed out early one morning and were back at the ramp by 10am with their catch. The boys fished out from Woolamai in 45m of water.
Woolamai seemed to be the place to go and with it only being a short run from the Newhaven boat ramp, many anglers found success in this area.
Luke Hawken also fished out from Woolamai with his mate Brett Ringodingo in 45m of water. The boys established a good berley trail and managed a monster mako of 120kg’s.
Inside the port was just as productive as offshore. Most of the reports were all about whiting and with them being in good numbers anglers flocked in droves to the shallow banks.
Paul and his mate Jed fished out from Corinella in quite hot conditions. They fished in 2m of water managing their bag of whiting with the best going 46cms. Once they reached their bag limit they put the bait rods down and cast around some plastics to catch and release another six whiting.
Most fish were caught on Black Magic Whiting Snatchers laced with a bit of whiting worm. The best soft plastic was a 6” Gulp Sandworm.
Gummy sharks have also been about for those wanting to put in the time and effort to catch one. The shallow channels of the top end have produced good table fair and while not big in the scale of gummies, they have been ranging 4-8kg. The most productive time has been during the run out tide.
Those looking for a trophy stuck mainly to the Western Entrance. Gawaine Blake from Think Big Charters reports putting his clients onto some very big fish to 29kg. These fish have been caught throughout the entrance mainly when the tide starts to slow. The most consistent baits have been yakka and salmon which have been caught off Tankerton before there gummy sessions.
We should now start to see the annual run of elephant sharks enter Western Port. These ugly looking fish will infiltrate the Port and by March be so thick they will take any bait offered. The best locations early on will be Gardner’s Channel next to Tortoise Head, and the shallow banks off Rhyll. Berley is an effective technique especially when a berley pot full of pellets is placed on the sea floor.
As March wears on, try fishing the run out tide in Boultins and Bouchiers channels in the top end. These channels produce some great fish including gummy sharks.
For land-based anglers, Stockyard Point will be the place to be. Remember this location can only be fished on the bottom of the tide so you can cast to the edge of the channel. Both a paternoster and running sinker rig works best and while you will catch elephants; the odd gummy will be a pleasant surprise.Reads: 1514