Beaches still the hot spot till snapper arrive
  |  First Published: August 2012

Although it is winter, the Bass Coast surf beaches have been extremely productive over in recent weeks.

Williamsons Beach has been fishing extremely well during the high tides with Australian salmon to just under 2kg being caught. Bait fishing is highly productive but it is those willing to walk the beaches flicking lures who are reaping the rewards.

Peter Bryce headed to Williamsons and managed five salmon around 1.8kg when fishing with a blue/white surf popper. He was also using bait but found all the fish took the popper.

John Henderson also fished the same area early in the morning, but was spinning with metal lures to catch 15 salmon from 1-1.2kg. These fish were an exception and fell to an Arma Twist metal slug. John said that he tried a selection of lures but found the action from the Twist really fired the fish up, hence his result.

Spinning with lures has become a very popular and effective technique that many anglers are undertaking this season. While it reduces the fatigue from having to tirelessly walk up and down the beach with a tonne of gear, anglers only need some leader, scissors, an assortment of lures, rod and reel. Though you may make a few hundred casts in a day, the results are quite rewarding.

I headed down to Williamsons Beach to fish for mullet, and while I caught the odd salmon, it was the low tide I was fishing. With a small amount of berley in the water, mullet schooled up in huge numbers. Using a paternoster rig with size 3/0 KL circle hooks there was no problem in landing a good dozen fish before heading home.

Anzacs Beach on Phillip Island has also been fishing very well but the fish have been quite spasmodic. One day they have been schooled up in a gutter and the next they can’t be found. Of the fish that have been caught, the largest I have heard of was 1.5kg and taken on a bluebait.

The prime time has been a rising tide with anglers catching more fish on an overcast day, as the fish aren’t as shy. The most effective technique has been to berley a gutter then cast baits into the shore break where the fish have been schooled up. Bluebait, whitebait and pipi have all been proven baits. There have also been yellow eye mullet and the odd silver trevally being caught.

Inside Western Port the fishing has been quite productive, especially on the whiting front. While you would think the cold water would see them move out of the Port, the opposite has occurred and they are still in excellent numbers and quite wide spread.

The Coronet Bay/Reef Island area has produced good fish ranging over 32-38cm. Kayak anglers have been the ones reporting most of the captures along with some nice flathead in the mix.

Anchoring and using berley has been the key to bring them on the bite.

Just around the corner at Corinella has also been a location not to be over looked. Recently, Brendan Wing headed to the Corinella area with his two children. Together, they set a fine berley trail, set their baits and sat back to watch the mayhem unfold. After a few hours, they each managed a nice gummy shark, the fruits of being patient anglers at this time of year.

Furthermore, Brendan’s friend Josh Fildes fished the same area the evening before. Patiently waiting for a rod to load, Josh managed a cracking snapper weighing 5.41kg.

Gummy sharks have been one of the most prized species though, and there has been no shortage of them this month. One angler fished the Eastern Arm and after rigging a whole salmon sent it to the bottom in anticipation of hooking a gummy.

After a few hours the angler’s rod loaded up and after a lengthy battle managed to land a 55kg seven-gill shark.

Joel Turner decided to try something new, embarking on a trolling adventure along the inshore reefs out from Phillip Island. Joel purchased some lures then headed off for his fishing session. After a few hours, Joel reported that he caught six snook and two pike while trolling in 6m of water along the edge of the reef at McHaffies. This is a fun fishing technique that yields a good catch for those looking for a new challenge. While pike and snook are a much-underrated species, they are a lot of fun on light tackle. Mind you, you will also encounter silver trevally, salmon and barracouta.

The Somers area is quite a popular location for anglers to target gummy sharks.

I have had plenty of reports of cracking sessions fishing with fresh yakka baits and landing gummy sharks ranging 3-6kg.

Other reports are of anglers working the shallow weed beds managing magnificent calamari up to 48cm (hood length) along with gummies to 5kg.

McHaffies Reef has also been good for whiting to 42cm.

Another angler also reported catching some magnificent gummies that he caught in the Somers area in 5m of water. In the same spot he caught some nice calamari and two gummy sharks weighing 6kg and 4kg.

There has been certainly no shortage of action for those willing to do some research and try a few new locations during the winter period and while it is getting colder, it is only a few weeks until we once again look forward to the annual snapper influx.

If you are looking for something to fish for then I suggest grabbing some small diving lures and hit the inshore reefs for a light trolling session. While it can be a lot of fun you can and will get some very respectable fish at this time of year.

Alternatively, get to Somers and grab yourself a gummy or two.

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