A seafood bonanza
  |  First Published: November 2008

Both the rivers and ocean have been fishing well and should continue to produce plenty more fish in the coming weeks.

Anglers trolling small hardbodied lures in the Gellibrand and Aire rivers have caught trout to 2kg. These trout are in great condition as they have been feeding on the schools of whitebait that have entered these systems to breed in the freshwater. Watch for schools of whitebait showering along the banks and then concentrate your efforts in that area.

Bream and estuary perch will also be feeding on the whitebait and are better targeted by casting lures. Best lures have a long slender profile, for example Rapala Husky Jerks or Rebel Minnow lures.

Boat anglers fishing off Cape Patton and Cape Otway are catching the occasional snapper and some big gummy sharks. Fresh fish baits will give you the best chance at a big snapper or gummy if you concentrate your efforts around the slack water periods of the tide. Use your sounder to look for the edges of reef in 40m of water, and use a sea anchor to slow the rate at which you drift.

A GPS is very handy for this type of fishing. As soon as a fish is caught, mark a waypoint for that location and continue to drift over the same patch each time you move.

The Golf Course and Marengo reefs are good spots to try for a feed of King George whiting at this time of year. A light berley trail of pellets and tuna oil will help bring the fish around, while pipis are one of the best baits. Anchor on the edge of the reef or find a sandy channel that runs through the reef for a good place to fish.

Crayfish season opens on November 16 and the usual bunch of local snorkel and scuba divers will be out there competing with the visitors for the first chance at a new season crayfish. I love getting in the water and searching under every rocky ledge I can find in search of a big tasty crayfish. I think it’s a primitive hunting instinct, getting in there with your prey and grabbing it with bare hands. Well, I wear rubber gloves but you get the idea.

Crayfish can be caught just about anywhere there is reef but some locations such as Blanket Bay and the aptly named Crayfish Bay have been proven big cray locations year after year. You need a dead flat sea to dive these locations, so let’s pray for some calm weather this November.

You can also target crays using hoop nets from the shore or boat. This works best after dark, although you can still get the odd cray during daylight hours. Bait the nets with fish frames and drop them around rocky drop-offs, checking them every 20 minutes or so. Make sure you check all the rules and regulations before heading out, and be extra careful when diving or fishing from the rocks, especially after dark. 

Using fresh bait and fishing around the edges of deep reefs off Apollo Bay during November is great way to land some quality snapper.

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