My Kingdom for a pipi!
  |  First Published: May 2008

All you fishers who use pipis would know we are in the middle of a severe pipi shortage. Most of our pipis come from South Australia and the Fisheries authorities there have cut the quota by half this year.

With the growing demand in the food market, the price of the old pipi has increased substantially. Bait suppliers have brought in cockles to fill the gap but these have been received with mixed reaction.

If you are finding the cockles a bit soft, one tip is to shuck them and leave them on your bait board for a short time to let them dry out a little. This removes some of their moisture and helps them stay on the hook better. As some of the cockles are quite large, cut the bait in half. Or, if you’re still having trouble, there is always Jap clam. This is basically pipi meat, which is a little harder than the normal pipi, and a bit cheaper too.

Your other alternative is to go to the pipi beaches in your area and collect them yourself. Just remember you’re restricted to a limit per person per day. I hope this helps in letting you anglers know what is happening on the pipi front. We are all in the same boat. If suppliers can’t get them, we can’t sell them, and you can’t use them.

Back to what’s going on around the traps. As the water cools we will see a change in our fishing, with some species leaving the area and some returning. For starters, the snapper should return offshore. There are small schools of pinky snapper holding off the reef system at Manns Beach, with the odd fish to 5kg.

Cliffy Island has started to produce fish, with pinky snapper, pike, and good gummy sharks being taken.

Although the large numbers of bronze whaler sharks appear to have moved on, there is still the chance for a good-sized shark for those prepared to put in the time and wait for that one good fish. Makos are still being seen and caught outside, so the water is obviously still warm enough for them.

In the months to come, offshore waters will cool considerably and with that will come the Australian salmon and seven-gilled sharks. There is also always the ever-reliable flathead to help fill the box.

In the inshore waters at Port Albert, the whiting have been very hit and miss, but if you target them persistently you will get a nice feed. Bass yabbies fished on the last of the run-out tide have been the right combination.

There is a large number of rock flathead in the estuary at the moment. Although they are not a common catch, if they are targeted a good bag can be caught. Throwing soft plastics around the weed beds is the best way to catch this fine table fish. With a bit of luck there will be some good rains in the future to give the inlet a flush so we can have a good autumn fish.

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