Big mulloway amongst the reds and grey subs
  |  First Published: February 2013

I can’t believe we are already a month into the new year and it wont be long and tuna season will be here.

There are some very big things that are worth spending time to target in February but before I spill the beans, I just want to reflect on the productiveness of January.

Santa may have come and gone but there was certainly no slowing the snapper. If there has been one location to find them then look no further than the Rhyll-Corals area. Hundreds of anglers over the past few weeks have continued to fish this area. While the larger fish were schooled up early in the month, schools of pinkies quickly moved in. For most anglers this was of no concern as the odd larger fish was still being hooked. Still, for those in search of a prized catch had their baits quickly ravished by the pink piranhas.

The local charter fleet also ventured down here and produced the goods for their clients, with fish around the 5kg mark. If the reds were quiet, they’d head to the Tortoise Head bank in search of whiting and they surely didn’t disappoint.

Adam Ring and Luke McCredden made the transition from Port Phillip to Western Port after work one evening and fished with their mate T-Cat. The boys headed out from Rhyll and fished in 5-7m of water just near the Corals. Using pilchards, they managed good numbers of snapper to 3kg and a couple of nice little gummies.

Local anglers, Colin Nickless and Terry Phillips also had similar success fishing one night off Observation Point in 10m of water. The boys had a great night catching snapper to 5kg and a nice little gummy shark.

Though there were plenty of other success stories from the area though none were quite to the amazement of a monster 9.6kg snapper being caught at Corinella. Paul Anderson caught his PB snapper for the season one evening which weighed an impressive 9.6kg. He didn’t give too much away as he has been doing a fair bit of hunting around looking for a beast like this. It was caught around the Corinella region and took a fresh calamari.

There have also been consistent reports of sizeable gummy sharks caught in the Corinella area. Darcy Burgess caught his first gummy shark in the Mosquito channel out from Corinella.

Scott Harper has also been locking horns with some sizeable gummies while fishing the twilight hours. Scott has been in search of big reds around Corinella but continually hooks gummies to 8kg. Not that he is disappointed; Scott says he can’t believe just how many there are at the moment.

Gawaine Blake has been fishing far and wide around the Port and has been locking horns with a wide variety of species. Fishing with his daughters, Asher and Poppy from the Stony Point Pier they have been catching yellow eye mullet in good numbers during the last of the run-out tide. Pipis have been working well with small size 10 long shank hooks.

Gawaine has also been working the Corinella region in search of mulloway and they have been forthcoming to the hook. During one mission, Gawaine managed to get onto a brute of a fish which pulled the scales to 25kg. The fish was caught in the Mosquito Channel and took a squid bait.

Apart from the reds and greys, many anglers have made the switch to targeting the abundant whiting. Every shallow bank seems to be loaded with whiting with the most popular locations being the Middle Spit and Tortoise Head Bank. This area has been fishing very well on the last of the run-out tide.

Anglers fishing in 3m have seen most of the action with whiting to 48cm a common catch. Mussel has been the bait of choice. Though the bank is quite a large area to fish, berley has been effective to attract the fish. A simple concoction of mashed pilchards with whiting pellets and tuna oil is all that’s required. A berley pot placed on the bottom with this in it has been working wonders of late.

The Middle Spit is also producing some good models with the bottom section near Tankerton producing some thumpers. Anglers fishing the deeper water have been catching a better class of fish on the ebb tides. The tide is difficult to compete with at times, so an 8oz sinker may be required. Though this may seem excessive, if you want quality fish then you’ll have to deal with the weight required. Pipi and squid strips have been working well.

Over the next few weeks the Balnarring area will be a popular location to target whiting. While getting there can be difficult across The Middle Bank, I advise anglers to be very careful. Fishing in close around the weed beds and reefs out from Somers is a productive location that never fails. Just find the sand holes and you’ll find the whiting.


If there was ever a time to target big gummy sharks in the Port, February and March are the two months to do so. Anglers in search should look no further than the Western Entrance with particular time spent around the Stony Point Marker buoy, buoy 16 and 14.

Keep an eye on the GPS map to locate potential swimming paths and set anchor accordingly. Cured eel, salmon fillet and mullet fillet work well along this stretch. Remember, the tide runs very hard at times so you may require sinkers to 20oz just to hold bottom. If your baits are not on the bottom, you’re not a chance at hooking one.

This also goes for boats with an inappropriate anchor. If you do plan on fishing here, use a plough or Sarca anchor with a boat length of chain, sand anchors just won’t cut it and you’ll continually drift off the mark.

Offshore it will also be time to search of kingfish but don’t underestimate the Port itself. Locations such as Buoy 5 and 2 are common locations where kings school up. Eight years ago I knew an angler that always managed some nice kingfish using fresh King George whiting fillets for bait. These were rigged on a snelled hook set and fished on the bottom as you would for snapper.

Not having any by-catch he continually managed at least 2-3 kings a session. This area sees very little anglers fishing here these days and maybe worth a visit if the conditions are safe to do so.

We should also see a solid run of striped tuna providing the offshore water temperatures hits its maximum. Trolling small 3” white Occy skirts and 3” soft plastics around the schools will be the most effective method.

This is an exciting month to be on the Port with plenty of big fish options. All you have to do is plan your mission and launch the boat, find the location, use the right bait and wait until your prize comes to the hook.

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