The recent spout of good weather has certainly been welcomed over the past few weeks. As more and more anglers hit the water to see what they can muster, more quality fishing reports continue to filter in.
Western Port is just coming off the back of a pretty cold and damp winter but a glance forward and it will soon all be about shorts, t-shirts, sunny days and snapper.
Although the reds are becoming regular catches as each day passes, it is the influx of garfish and calamari that have kept anglers busy over past weeks. This time of year is always a great time to stock up on some fresh baits for the snapper season and many anglers have been doing just that.
However, calamari has been the most highly prized species and there are some true monsters being caught. Many anglers have been consistently fishing along the Tyabb and Quail banks and it is only in the past two weeks that the larger versions have shown up. Both baited jigs and artificial jigs have been working well during the flood tide.
For those that are a little more adventurous, Flinders and surrounding waters have produced some of the largest calamari caught than I have seen in recent years.
Amongst plenty of other anglers, I headed down towards Cat Bay with Gawaine Blake from Big Time Charters just a few weeks ago. While we didn’t actually make it to our destination, we did manage to stop at Hen and Chickens Reef, on the other side of McHaffies.
Fishing the last two hours of the ebb tide we found a solid concentration of calamari in 7m of water. Flicking around an assortment of jigs including Ika, MegaBass and Yo-Zuri Aurie Q RS, we managed 15 calamari with the largest weighing 3.29kg.
Other anglers have had similar success with some just as large being caught in the Flinders area. For those wanting to fish the Pier, night time has been most productive on the high tide.
Customer Ed Tyminski has been smashing them since he attended Tackle World Cranbourne’s first squid night. Ed fished the day after the talk before work because he promised his fellow work mates some fresh squid when he arrived. Armed with a couple of jigs and his new rod he landed a couple on Ika monster jigs in the green colour. In the past week Ed has hit the water in search of squid at least four times and has loved every minute of it.
While these locations have been a standout, Tankerton, Coronet Bay and Cleeland Bight have also been producing calamari in quality sizes and numbers.
Larger jigs in the 3.0 sizes have been producing the larger calamari with anything that contains a red foil belly being the most effective colour.
There has also been a significant number of garfish that have entered the Port and while in good numbers, their size has been nothing but sensational. This is a great time to take the kids out on them, as the gars will move in on berley trails so fast they won’t even have time to be bored.
The most popular locations have been the Middle Spit, Tortoise Head Bank, Coronet Bay and Dickies Bay. Anglers targeting garfish have been fishing in 2-3m of water over the weed. A berley trail of pollard mixed with tuna oil has been the most effective technique to attract the gars with a float setup and silver fish baits working a treat.
Few snapper have come on the chew throughout the Port this month and most of the ones caught have certainly been quality fish. Regular Tackle World customers Peter Fermosa and his mate Matty fished Tortoise Head one Saturday. The boys managed a cracker 6.5kg gummy and 7.5kg snapper. Both fish were taken on yakkas and squid baits.
A few days later and another customer called Tackle World Cranbourne to report of his capture. James was fishing just out from the Cowes Pier in 20m of water when he managed a lovely 4kg snapper on a pilchard bait.
Though these two fish weren’t the only ones caught, a few snapper scales lying around the cleaning table at Hastings have been a clear give away that other anglers have also hooked into fish.
Gummy sharks have also been highly prized and as we head into warmer temperatures, the larger versions should be not too far away. In saying that, Mark Sullivan and his mates fished the Western Entrance one Friday night. The boys fished the “Tags” GPS mark to catch and release a good sized gummy estimated around the 20kg mark. The fish took a fresh salmon bait.
It is going to be all about snapper next month so I can only hope you are all geared up and ready. If this year is anything like the previous season, a run of barracouta out from Lysaghts is the first sign followed by consistent reports of early season fish being caught around Long Reef.
Corinella will also produce quality fish, especially around the entrance to Tenby Point. If you are heading in search of an early season red, be prepared. Inspect your knots and rigs and arm yourself with quality baits such as squid, salmon fillet, and garfish and don’t forget the humble pilchard.Reads: 3352