Sea change brings rewards
  |  First Published: October 2013

It's amazing how quickly the ocean fishing can change. Snapper, gummy sharks, King George whiting, flathead, squid and a variety of pelagic sharks are all back on the agenda.

Cape Otway and Cape Patton will be the best options to target schools of snapper as they start to move along the coastline. Any reef system in 30-50m of water will be worth fishing but use your sounder and GPS to locate schools and keep fishing over the same area once a fish has been caught. As the tide slows around the top or bottom of its cycle move to the edges of these same reef systems and drop down some fresh fish baits. Gummy sharks shouldn't be far away and they can sniff out a good feed from miles away.

You may have to change to a heavier outfit as some of the sharks can weigh in excess of 15kg.

If you are chasing a quick easy feed then head for 35m off Skenes Creek and drop down some squid baits while on the drift. It shouldn't take long to fill the well with some of Bass Strait's tasty sand flathead. This is always a good fall-back option if the other fish species aren't playing the game, and has saved the day for me on many occasions.

The boat harbour at Apollo Bay is another spot worth a try as it holds good numbers of calamari squid. A small prawn style squid jig in 2.5 size will do the trick when cast over the sea grass beds and retrieved very slowly. Not only do they make for great eating but the heads can also be saved and used as snapper, gummy and flathead bait.

Trout season kicked off with a boom in September and should continue to impress even the most discerning of anglers through October. The rivers have good flows and are full of trout from the estuaries right up into the mountains. When I head out for a flick I'll be concentrating my efforts around the upper estuary areas of the local rivers. Here the trout population may not be as dense as further upstream in the freshwater but the trout are on average much bigger in size.

Small hardbodied lures cast on light leader of 2-3kg is the standard for this area but I also have a lot of success casting long slender baitfish profile soft plastics. A light weight jig head of 0.9g fitted with a size 6 hook is my preferred rig as it glides seductively in the current but can also be allowed to sink below over hanging trees or undercut banks.

Bream fishers have reason to get excited too, as the bream school up in search of the right salinity levels to spawn. Sometimes they are hard to locate and the river seems devoid of any bream at all. But if you can stumble onto a patch of hungry fish the fishing can be absolutely red hot.

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