Whack into the whiting
  |  First Published: December 2011

First of all I would like to wish everybody a happy and safe new year and may some big fish come your way.

If you have your boat in Apollo Bay then that shouldn’t be a problem as the fishing has been fantastic in recent weeks. Snapper, flathead and gummy sharks have been the main species targeted over the past few weeks and some big fish have been caught.

Boats fishing in 38m out from the lighthouse and 45m off Cape Patton have reported gummies and school sharks to 15kg taking squid and fish baits while the snapper to 4kg have been biting well on squid, fish fillets or pilchard baits.

When fishing these depths for snapper or gummies try to concentrate your efforts around slack water or fish on days when there is little tidal movement. This way your sinker will hold the bottom better giving you more chance of hooking a fish. Drifting will help you locate where the fish are holding but remember to leave your GPS turned on and mark the spot as soon as you hook a fish.

Then it is a simple matter of drifting over the same area again as the snapper and gummies tend to school up in large numbers. If you’re chasing an easy feed then flathead can be found just about anywhere between 30-40m on a sandy bottom but for consistent captures give 40m of water off Bald Hill or in 35m off Skenes Creek a shot.

Flathead will eat just about anything you put on your hook and any of the frozen baits such as bluebait, pilchards and squid work fine as does fresh fish pieces with the skin left on.

Expect to catch both sand and tiger flathead off Apollo Bay with big specimens reaching 60cm or more in size. 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 the whiting and they have been responding well to berley made from pellets and crushed pilchards soaked in tuna oil.

Try out from the waterfall, Elliot River, Marengo or the back of the golf course and look for the sandy channels amongst the reef patches. King George whiting in these areas constantly exceed 40cm in length with 50cm being a big fish. Now that’s some decent sized fillets!

Shark anglers will be targeting mako and blue sharks which will be frequenting water over 70m deep and responding to a constant trail of berley made from fish, bread and tuna oil. Apollo Bay is a known big shark fishery with 200kg specimens being caught each season.

The local pier has been a hive of activity with anglers trying to tempt the flighty calamari squid from inside the boat harbour. Good numbers of squid can be targeted in the harbour early and late in the day but they do become hard to catch after constant fishing pressure.

To out smart the cephalopods try down sizing your jig to a small 1.5 size and fish it deep and slow over the sea grass beds.

King George whiting are also available in the harbour and are best targeted from the end of the pier or the breakwall fishing back into the sandy entrance. Use a light running sinker rig and pipis baited on a size 6 hook and fish the incoming tide for best results.

Dean Candy with a couple of King George whiting taken on pipis inside the Apollo Bay boat harbour.

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