Western Port should be named Windy Port! Like all anglers this year, the weather has certainly put a big dampener on the fishing of late but that still hasn’t deterred the diehards from venturing out.
Though it can be extremely windy, there is always somewhere to hide to escape the wind on Western Port. In saying that, you are at your own risk and you must always check the latest weather forecast before you venture out. I am often asked what’s the wind like over the phone at work in which I answer the wind strength and direction. As a good rule for those going to ask a question as such, it pays to picture Western Port in your mind so that by having a sense of direction you can pick a ramp to launch from to escape the wind. This will enable you to get out where the wind will be at its least providing your boat is still capable of handling in rough conditions. Once you have that all sorted, its time to go fishing.
I said at the beginning of the season that it was set to be a cracker and it seems my prediction was pretty right.
This season has been outstanding with plenty of snapper caught from right around the Port. Corinella, while it has already delivered snapper over 10kg, it has been one of the most consistent locations for fish over 6kg. A few anglers have been putting in a lot of effort night after night and they are getting the results.
There have also been quite a number of good gummy sharks taken which is usual for this location. Local anglers Chanal Schepen and Penny Phipps fished the area and had a ball catching three ripper gummies. These fish were caught in 8m of water on the slack tide.
Kayak anglers have also been catching their share of fish with a lot of focus on the Spit Point and Lang Lang areas. You have to get the tide timing right or it could be a strong paddle back to your car.
Coronet Bay hasn’t really fired up as I though it would but is still fairly consistent for reds in around 5-6m. In saying that, the prime time has been first light when there has been little boat traffic in this area. Whiting on the other hand have been absolutely red hot, especially late in the evening. Once again, it is kayak anglers that are really getting into the action on the top of the high tides. Some good rock flathead and calamari are a popular catch around Reef Island but if you are venturing here by boat, be very careful as it is quite shallow.
The most consistent location throughout this vast mud flat has been around the Corals and Observation Point. These two areas will really fire up now until the end of the season. Michael Johns found out just how good the fishing is at the Corals. While dealing with being bitten off constantly, Michael tied on a wire leader and a short time later a managed to hook and land a 7kg snapper on a squid bait.
Anglers will do best around Observation Point when fishing in 10-13m. There is a lot of shallow water ranging 4-6m around this location but if you can locate the deeper water, you’ll find the reds. Calamari baits work exceptionally well along with pilchards.
Another top location is the Western Entrance, which does see a lot of boat traffic during the summer months. The Western Entrance is very tidal so ensure you have the right gear when embarking on a mission here. By that I mean the right anchor, enough rope and an anchor buoy to lift it up. The best fishing will be around 2 hours either side of a tide change when the current isn’t as strong. This will allow you to use lighter weights but you still might require up to 14oz weights. Each season a stack of snapper school up around Buoys 11 and 8 as there is large patches of reef on the bottom. It is important you use good baits here as the current can rip them from the hooks; squid is best.
The outskirts of Cat Bay are also productive, especially around Buoy 5. This area fishes best on the beginning of the run in tide for gummy sharks. A few have already been taken and some up to 15kg.
Across Western Port at Flinders, the calamari fishing from the pier has been particularly productive at night during a run-in tide. The best action will be on the next full moon when the calamari come into the shallows to feed. Baited jigs do work well but artificial jigs in white or other colour with a red foil belly are best.
For those already tired of catching snapper, the whiting season is well upon us now. I have spoken to a few anglers that have been fishing for whiting in the Balnarring area.
Of the reports I have heard, the best fishing has been during the run-in tide late in the evening. Pipis and squid have been the top baits with some fish up to 48cm. It won’t be long before a 50cm model is taken as each season a few fish of this size are caught from this location.
From now on there will be a big shift from anglers targeting snapper switching over to whiting. Those looking for a feed of whiting should concentrate in the Balnarring, Tankerton, Southern Middle Spit and Tortoise Head areas. These four locations see some of the best whiting fishing in the Port and as each season passes they continue to produce quality fish. In saying that, you will have to work out as to which tide will fish best but If I was a betting man, I’d be fishing during the last two hours of the run in.Reads: 917