Western Port has gone from strength to strength throughout winter and while it is only a short while until anglers begin to hunt snapper, it has been the abundance of gummy sharks that has seen many anglers head out in the cold.
Winter has been surprisingly productive for those being able to dodge the weather, taking full advantage of the short windows.
In mid winter only few gummies were reported until the tides were perfect on the lead up to the new moon. The slower tides enabled anglers to fish both the deeper water areas and shallow flats with minimal sinker weight required. Many reports filtered though with more and more anglers having success during this time.
I headed out with Gawaine Blake for a social fish one evening and found a few nice fish around Stony Point. Fishing the last of the run out tide proved to be successful with the fish caught favouring fresh calamari and yakka baits. Gawaine also headed out on numerous occasions after that trip to further catch and release plenty more gummy sharks. They also encountered a flurry of bite offs which they put down to being school sharks, but just couldn’t get one into the boat.
Richard Grevan, who had been bitten off numerous times during his session decided to head back out to keep trying to catch one of these elusive sharks. After a long morning session, one rod loaded and after a fair battle of screaming runs managed to boat a monster schoolie which weighted in at 40kg+. The fish took a chunk of yakka.
Land based fishing for gummy sharks has been very productive with plenty of fish being reportedly caught.
I headed to the rocks of Balnarring to try my luck and while it was down-right freezing, I came up trumps with a nice fish around 7kg. After photographing that fish it was quick to the car to make the mad dash home in 1C temperatures. Other land-based gummies were also caught during this period with another angler also fishing from Balnarring did well to catch a gummy shark on the high tide. He was fishing with squid baits and managed a fish around 5kg.
Stockyard Point was a popular location along with Corinella, Tenby Point and Grantville all producing good fish.
Anglers Stuart Dwyer and Shaun fished in the pouring rain and although bitterly cold, stuck it out managing a handful of gummy sharks. They kept two for the table releasing the rest. Freshly caught yakka was the most productive bait.
Although gummy sharks were a popular talking point, whiting and calamari were also caught in good numbers.
Scott Harper headed down to Cleeland Bight to fish for calamari along the weed-lined banks. After a few drifts, Scott managed his bag of calamari with some real crackers amongst them. Scott found brown and orange colour jigs to be the most favoured.
In the top end of the Port the calamari were also plentiful. Both the Tyabb and Quail banks are well-advertised locations and repeatedly deliver calamari in good numbers. For those fishing up here, the top of the high tide is recommended, as the calamari will begin to hunt for prey at this time.
The middle spit has also been producing some good calamari but more so in the inside of the eastern channel. The run-out tide has been quite productive and the calamari have been stacked up right along the channels entire length.
There have been only a few reports of calamari being caught at Flinders and those that have, have been solid specimens.
Fishing the high tide has been the most productive time.
I can’t ever think of a year where the whiting fishery has been so consistent. Each week anglers have repeatedly been targeting and catching whiting in quite good numbers. I’m not saying every angler has been catching them but those that have done the research and know where to fish during this cold spell haven’t been disappointed.
While there have been fish in the top 40cm bracket most have ranged 32-38cm which is nothing to be disappointed about.
Popular baits have been pipi, whiting worm and calamari strips the top choice.
With the early snapper season right upon us, anglers will be out and about to get their fix any day now. Past reports have concluded that the first reports have filtered though around mid September, but with last winter’s consistent snapper reports, I would think anglers are already finding a few hungry fish.
If you are heading out to get your fix, don’t burn your self out too early. Too many long hours at the beginning of the season can see anglers getting sick and tied of these red fish by mid-season before looking for something else to target. Not that this is a bad thing but can tire anglers out very quickly.
Early season generally kicks off in the north of Corinella, Tenby Point and out off Lang Lang. in saying that, a good run of fish is often caught at Long Reef off Lysaghts. Wherever you go to look, make sure these are one of the places you begin.
Early season snapper will respond to a range of baits but where possible use pilchards, fresh calamari and garfish for your best chances. Check your hooks and make sure they are sharp.
You won’t catch a lot of fish early one so increase your chances at keeping that hooked fish on the hook and stick to circles. Black Magic’s KL design is one design to keep more fish on the hook.Reads: 5554