Productive fishing continues into autumn
  |  First Published: March 2013

I am totally amazed at just how productive the fishing has been recently. All in all it seems that where-ever anglers have dropped the pick there has been something worth catching.

While there has been huge hype about catching kingfish in Victoria, those in the know and been letting very little information out. The weather has been the dictator whether or not anglers have been able to get out and when it has been fine to do so some fish have been spotted but not caught. I heard of one angler that sounded some fish on the edge of the bommies near Seal Rocks and on dropping down a livie was absolutely smashed, a tell tail sign of a solid fish.

Another angler showed me photos of his soundings asking if they were kingfish or not and to my surprise, they couldn’t have been anything else. Big arches scattered on the side of a bommie behind Seal Rocks leaves the imagination to think of only one thing, big kings.

Though only a keen few went on the search for kings more anglers headed wide in search of mako sharks and these guys surely didn’t disappoint in the slightest. The first mako that I heard of was a cracker caught by Dave Fent from the South Gippsland Game Fishing Club. Dave caught the 191kg beast which was weighed in at the Hastings club rooms.

This was followed by another nice fish was caught by young Corey Rutter. Corey managed his first mako shark while fishing off Cape Shank. The fish was brought to Tackle World Cranbourne and pulled the scales down to 25kg (cleaned). The following week, Corey headed out again where he and his dad caught and released another mako but this time the beast went and estimated 150kg.

These reports were the best from what I had heard but with warmer water still hovering around the area, the next few weeks will see a spike in fish being caught providing the weather allows anglers to get out amongst it.

Inside the Port, the talk has been all about the whiting. Under the San Remo Bridge at Dickies Bay the whiting fishing has been nothing but spectacular. In saying that, you had to be fishing during the run-out tide if you wanted success. Anglers anchored up along the edge of the main channel and managed some very impressive fish. Pipi and squid strips have been good baits while some big garfish have also been on offer for those fishing a float setup at the same time as whiting fishing.

A little further south at Cleeland Bight and the whiting have certainly been on the chew. John Moss has been continuing to do well fishing off the beach. He has been managing some nice fish to 40cm. Whiting have also been plentiful in the Coronet Bay region with most success coming from within 5m of water. Anglers using berley have had most success as the fish have been moving in on established trails. Pipis have been the most effective bait.

Dave and his son Cooper hit the shallows of Coronet Bay in their kayak. Fishing for whiting near Reef Island they managed some cracking fish to 45cm. Pipis worked well with the larger fish being caught on the Isome worm fished on an Instinct Prowler Rig.

The most popular location to catch whiting though has been both the Tortoise Head Bank and Middle Spit. The Tortoise Head bank has had plenty of whiting on it with the most productive time being the last of the run-out tide with berley a must to get them going. Pipi and mussel baits have been working well but I have been getting a lot of reports back by those using the Isome plastics and having plenty of success.

Those fishing the Middle Spit have also found whiting in excellent numbers and regardless whether you have been fishing deep or shallow some big whiting have been available. I joined Matt Cini from Reel Time charters for a photography session on the whiting and managed to drop a line in myself. While we were fishing in 14m of water I did manage a cracker whiting which went 48.5cm. This brute was amongst a nice bag of fish with most of the bag ranging 39-47cm. Pipis were the killer bait with berley required to get them going. That same afternoon I headed back out again with good mates Gawaine Blake and Simon Rinaldi where we once again we worked the bottom edge of the Spit. Sure enough, we found some cracking whiting and a very large flathead of 75cm or so; mind you the fish did weigh 2.5kg.

The Western Entrance once again begun to produce some nice gummy sharks to 8kg for those keen on fishing the tides.

Those wanting to fish the Western Entrance should be aware of the tidal influence. This tide in this area can run very hard and should you not have the correct anchor and chain you won’t be able to hold in a position. The tide will also have an effect on the rigs you use. A running sinker rig is recommended and should be tied from 60lb trace as a minimum. Use an Ezy rig clip to attach your sinker and a single KL 6/0 circle hook. Striking to set the hook in these areas won’t work effectively and you’re more likely to pull the hooks on a fish mid-fight. Using a single circle will allow the fish to hook themselves without you having to do anything. Then all you have to do is battle the beast to the boat.

The next few weeks is going to be the prime time to be fishing the Western Entrance if you’re after a big gummy shark as the March period is when the big females begin to enter the Port. Anglers in search should heavily fish the moons and the right tides, use fresh bait and sit back and relax until a solid fish comes along. Remember, these fish are the breeders and deserve to be released after the epic battle.

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