Whiting in full swing off Apollo Bay
  |  First Published: December 2012

The fishing season is in full swing off Apollo Bay with fish and fishers gracing the coastline in large numbers.

Snapper, flathead, sharks, squid and King George whiting are all being taken on regular occasions, so now is the time to be out and about wetting a line.

Boating anglers fishing out over the sand in 35m have been landing plenty of quality flathead with Skenes Creek, Marengo and Blanket Bay all being hot spots. Tough baits such as squid or barracouta fillets are best as they stay on the hook and can account for several fish before needing to put on new bait. When fished on a two hook paternoster rig it shouldn't take you long to gather up a feed of beautifully tasting flathead.

Further afield off Cape Patton and Cape Otway, snapper, gummy shark and a host of other reef fish such as morwong and nannygai are being caught. Fishing in 50-70m of water will bring the best results so heavy sinkers and a sea anchor will make keeping bait on the bottom much easier. If you can plan your trip around the tide change this will also help slow your drift and seems to be the best bite time when chasing gummy sharks. 

Using a GPS to mark any schools of fish or where a fish was caught will also help you to decide on the best places to drift. Take along a heavy squid jig as there will be plenty of hungry arrow squid attacking your baits when fishing this deep water.

If you see them following your bait to the surface simply put on a squid jig and they shouldn't be too hard to catch. The heads make great fresh baits for snapper and gummies while the bodies can be turned into tasty calamari rings.

Shark anglers are encountering both blue and mako sharks out in 70m of water. A heavy berley trail will help to bring the sharks up to the surface, so it pays to have a bait suspended under a balloon ready for when one turns up. There are some very big sharks in these waters so make sure you are prepared as a mako shark at 200kg plus is not for the faint hearted.

The King George whiting have turned up in large schools and are well worth targeting around Marengo, the waterfall reefs and Blanket Bay. A pipi fished on a light paternoster rig will do the trick when fished along any shallow reef edges. I have been fishing for whiting off Marengo and been having plenty of success around the top of the tide, especially when the tide change is late in the evening. The whiting in this area can grow very big and while most will be around 40cm in length it is not uncommon to catch 50cm fish as well.

If you’re after something a little different why not try your hand at diving. Apollo Bay and surrounding coastline offers excellent crayfish and abalone diving when the sea is flat. You don't need any fancy equipment just a mask and snorkel and a good pair of gloves.

Any areas of heavy reef will hold both crays and abalone and with a little practice they are not that hard to catch. Make sure you checkout all the rules and regulations before heading out as there are very heavy penalties if these are not followed.

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