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Whiting are King
  |  First Published: March 2012



I was talking with a keen whiting angler from South Australia recently who was boasting about how good the fishery was in his area of the world.

After hearing his stories of large numbers of fish I was asked how big are the whiting I catch around Apollo Bay? He nearly fell off his chair when I told him 42cm was just an average fish and 50cm was the magic mark the locals all try to beat. I'm sure he thought I was stretching the truth but I'm here to tell you fish of these sizes are lining up to be caught and there is no better month to target them then March.

Concentrating around the inshore reef systems in water depths from 7-15m right along the Great Ocean Road will soon see you encounter some decent sized King George whiting. Sandy channels that cut their way through the reef systems are the best places as they act as highways for the whiting to travel along in search of food.

Whiting prefer soft baits such as pipis, mussels or fresh squid pieces and although not a necessity, a light berley trail will help attract the fish. In recent outings fishing with various mates we have landed bags of 8, 5, and 12 fish, certainly not big numbers as far as whiting fishing goes.

This is where South Australia or even Port Phillip or Western Port might have it over us with much larger numbers being caught in those areas but as I stated earlier 42cm has been just an average fish with 48cm being the best from those recent trips. Land-based fishos can get in on the action too with Artillery Rocks, Grey River, the harbour breakwall and Marengo all offering excellent platforms from which to chase monster King George.

Shark enthusiasts have been reporting a bumper season with plenty of mako and blue sharks being caught out in 70m of water. A steady berley trail is the key to bringing the sharks close to the boat before deploying a squid or fish bait to hook them up. Take along the camera, as often the mako sharks will jump into the air in a series of spectacular leaps that will leave everyone onboard shaking with adrenaline.

If your heart’s not up to tackling the big bities then maybe you should try 40m off Cape Patton or Cape Otway in search of the resident gummy sharks. Fishing slack water with fresh baits has seen plenty of action in these areas including a whopping 22kg gummy taken by Apollo Bay local Robby Forester. Snapper, salmon, morwong and flathead are other species that have been filling ice boxes and keeping boat anglers grinning right along the coast.

The river estuaries are fishing extremely well for bream which have been biting on small hardbodied lures. Try the Barham or Aire rivers when the mouth is open to the sea and fish the run-out tide as the water recedes from the reedy edges. Once the water drops below the reeds it leaves nowhere for the shrimp and baitfish to hide so the bream will be patrolling the banks of the river looking for an easy feed. Needless to say that’s where you should be casting your lure.

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