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Whiting still on the menu
  |  First Published: March 2012



With the temperatures on the increase so are the amounts of whiting coming into Western Port’s top end, and though the fish have not been massive the numbers certainly make up for it.

THE TOP END

Some very interesting things have been happening through the top end of Western Port over the last month and one of them has been the amount of monstrous garfish cruising around of late. There have been garfish in excess of 50cm being caught which is very exciting. Garfish are not only unbelievable bait but are a beautiful table fish and at this size you can actually take a legitimate fillet off them.

The whiting are still going gangbusters and I really don’t think this will slow down any time soon. All of the channels in the top end have been fishing really well with the Tooradin and Warneet channels being the stand out. The Quail Bank has also fished exceptionally well where the whiting have ranged between 30-38cm on average with a few fish creeping over the magic 40cm mark.

The one thing I have noticed amongst whiting anglers this year is the choice of bait. Pipis have almost taken a back seat to mussels with a small strip of squid laid over the top, I’m guessing the price of pipis has made people try new things, and boy is it paying off!!

Luke McCredden fished with local fishing celebrity Ron Smith from channel 31’s Catch and Cook and had a ball catching whiting to 43cm along the Quail Bank. The secret to their success was live Bass yabbies pumped from the Middle Spit earlier that morning.

Local customer Syd has been sneaking out and fishing around Joes Island and smacking a few nice snapper to 3.5kg on squid and pilchards. Keep an eye on these snapper reports because it’s around this time that the snapper will start to come back on the chew. There is always a handful of snapper to 6-7kg taken around March and with any luck this year will stick to that trend.

THE NORTH ARM

If it’s variety that you are after, then the north arm is definitely the place to be. Whiting, gummy sharks, garfish, squid and even a butterfish have all made an appearance of late. The Tyabb Bank has whiting and squid all over it and I’m convinced that the Middle Spit should be re-named the King George spit there is that many whiting on it!

There was quite an unusual capture taken on the Middle Spit by Peter Ferguson recently. While slowly moving a piece of pipi across the bottom he managed to hook a nice butterfish. I understand there are quite a few of them around in Western Port but rarely come into contact with anglers as they predominantly feed on weed.

Apart from the whiting season being out of control it has also been the best gummy shark season I have seen in years and I think it will only get better in the coming months. There have been gummies taken all over the north arm with some cracking fish to 19kg taken off Lysaghts. The gummies have been that thick that even the whiting anglers have been accidently hooked them on whiting gear while fishing on the shallow banks.

Staff members Neil Drummond and Mark Keaveny took out local young guns Kevin and Mitchell onto the Middle Spit and had an awesome session. They picked up whiting to 35cm on mussel and squid along with a variety of other species including pinkies, flathead and garfish to 50cm.

Charter boat operators Matt Cini and Simon Rinaldi have been fishing the deeper water around Hastings for their bag of whiting of late and the result has been schools of whiting in that 40cm+ range. They have not been getting the huge numbers they have been seeing on the banks but with fish to 45cm who can complain?! They have been sitting in 10-12m of water on the slack tide and picking off fish on pipis and mussels.

WHAT WOULD I BE TRYING THIS MONTH?

While the gummy fishing has been this good it’s too hard to ignore it. With sharks being caught well over 30kg it’s time to cash in a few brownie points and spend the night on Western Port.

On the way out try and pick up a couple of calamari for fresh bait and then settle in for the night along one of the drop-offs along the long reef and wait for your reels to start singing the sweet song of a gummy’s first run!

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