Great rewards for effort
  |  First Published: March 2014

I have been inundated with great fishing reports of late and it seems everybody is being rewarded for their efforts out on the water.

There have been frequent captures of sharks of varying species but, for ease of reporting, I will break them down into two categories:

Firstly, there are the pelagic species such as thresher, mako and blue sharks, which are targeted high up in the water column with the use of berley. They are usually targeted out in 70m+ of water but recent captures would suggest that the highest concentration of sharks is in the 40-60m range. The back of the Henty Reef and wide of Skenes Creek would be the highest on my list of areas to try in coming weeks for these big robust sharks.

The second category of sharks is your bottom feeders, which include species such as gummy, school and seven-gill. They have been most prolific in water depths of 35-45m off Cape Otway or Blanket Bay. Fresh baits of squid or barracouta fillets will attract them from long distances but I believe the biggest factor when targeting these species is the tidal flow. Small tides or the slack water periods of the tide will produce the hottest bite times as the sharks freely swim around hunting for food when the current is at its weakest. Drifting in 60m of water off Cape Otway has been producing regular catches of small but legal-sized snapper and excellent hauls of flathead. When fishing these depths it is a good idea to use tough baits, such as squid or octopus, so you are not winding up checking your bait after every bite. Sometimes it is even possible to land several fish before the bait needs changing.

For the light line anglers that like to target the inshore reefs it has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride in recent weeks. The large schools of King George whiting have been difficult to locate but the silver trevally and salmon schools have made up for their absence.

The waterfall and Point Bumbry reefs have been fishing very well for the trevally and some have been thumpers of over 2kg. Lightly weighted pilchard fillets or pipi baits are bringing the best results while plenty of berley made from bread and crushed pilchards is the key to bringing and keeping them around the boat.

Hopefully the King George whiting turn up in larger numbers in the coming weeks as this has always been regarded as the best time of year to target them around Apollo Bay. Surf fishers should be preparing their gear as March always brings a reliable run of Australian salmon to our beaches. And with the inshore boat anglers already claiming good numbers of salmon around, it looks like it could be a bumper season coming up.

The rivers are still fishing well for black bream with the Aire River at Horden Vale and Erskine River at Lorne both producing fish. Small hardbodied lures have been very successful as well as baits, such as peeled prawns and scrubworms. Concentrating your fishing around structure, such as fallen timber or bridge pylons, will improve your catch rates but at this time of year don’t overlook the shallow sand flats either, especially when casting lures as the waves push in clean saltwater over the flats at high tide.

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