The winter fishing this year has been nothing short of fantastic, with good captures being had by both land-based anglers and boaters.
Boaters are having a ball with the large numbers of salmon close to Apollo Bay, as well as some big gummy sharks and snapper down around Cape Otway. Using fresh salmon fillets as bait for gummy sharks and snapper is a good way of tempting these timid winter biters. Fish around the slack water periods of the tide in 40m of water and the powerful scent of the salmon fillet should bring the fish to your bait. Gummies to 15kg have been landed along with snapper of 2.5kg, although the average snapper at this time of year is around 800g.
Massive salmon schools are still being sighted off Apollo Bay and although the average size is around 1kg they are still great sport on light line. Boat anglers are catching plenty by trolling or casting small lures to schools of sighted fish.
One salmon school even decided to spend an entire day inside the boat harbour, destroying hoards of baitfish and krill in big showers of spray. This was much to the delight of several local fishers who drove home, got their rods and proceeded to catch fish after fish before the school became a little lure shy and refused to be fooled into anymore artificial offerings. Those who got there late could only watch in awe as the salmon continued to smash into swarms of bait just metres from the pier, but refused to take their lures. Very frustrating!
Land-based anglers can target the salmon from Wild Dog Beach, Johanna Beach, Glen Aire Beach, Mounts Bay and the pier. Most of the action occurs around the high tide on calm days with little or no swell. Casting metal lures has been an effective method, although the bait fishers have also taken plenty on both whitebait and bluebait. Watch the area you are planning to fish before setting up, and look for leaping fish or dark patches in the water that give away the schools of fish.
When fishing from the beach remember a good pair of chest waders so you don’t get wet when casting. Some lure fishers find that because they are constantly casting, a wetsuit is a better and safer option then filling your waters with cold, sandy water. When baitfishing, make sure you’re casting into clear blue water as this indicates the deeper areas along the beach and tends to be where the fish feed during the daylight hours.Reads: 667