I have been genuinely excited by what could only be described as a massive resurgence in the local yellowtail kingfish population!
Melbourne kings are something of an enigma. Everyone knows that they were once in good numbers around the heads and offshore of Port Phillip and Western Port but like much of the east coast, their populations were decimated by commercial harvesting using floating fish traps.
This year, through the number of reports we are getting on the species, I feel the populations are again on the increase in our local waterways. And that is fantastic news for any avid angler!
In recent weeks fish from just legal, which is 65cm in Victoria (be aware that the size limit did increase a couple of years ago) to fish up to 17kg have been caught from the rip, off shore of Point Lonsdale and down around the scuttled HMAS Canberra and Charlemont Reef off Barwon Heads.
Interestingly a variety of means have been used to catch the fish. Everything from trolling and casting poppers, lead lines, down rigging, bait fishing and jigging have all yielded fish. Those who have been lucky enough to have an inquisitive school approach the back of the boat have seen some serious action.
The boys at RIP Charters were lucky enough to get stuck into a big school one day in the last month where they literally caught dozens of fish – many however were undersize. For those interested in getting out and tackling a king, it really is a case of time on the water, trying new things and new areas. Best of all we should have the best part of another month before they start to slow down again.
We have talked a lot about gummies this year, but it really has been a stellar season for the species. Customer Ben Broomfield has a 100% strike ratio at the moment catching 2-3 good-sized gummy shark each session while fishing the south channel off Dromana. He has probably put in a dozen or so trips since December, which is a pretty fine effort. What is also pleasing is the number being pulled from the surf. Good Customer Brett Elwers has spent plenty of nights over the last couple of months chasing gummies from Gunnamatta back beach, Point Leo and Merricks where he has managed fish between 5-20kg with regularity.
As happens most years during late summer, the snapper kicked back into gear over the last few weeks. We had good catches reported around the aquaculture leases at the top of Mud Island, plenty of school fish from the mouth of the Pinnace channel and more sporadic catches from the Fairway off Mt Martha. True to the season that’s been in the south part of the bay, we did not see as many big fish as usual but there have been plenty between 3-6kg. Fishing the ebb tide in these tidal areas without doubt seems the most productive.
Looking ahead, we should see some cooler, calmer weather over the next few weeks. Based on the number of salmon we have had in the rip this year I will certainly be taking advantage of these conditions to do a bit of trolling and seeing if we can get a couple of late season kings on board!
For more information feel free to drop in and see the boys at Peninsula Total Tackle, 11 Boneo Road in Rosebud or phone: 03 5981 1994.Reads: 3878