It is a great feeling to know that our local fishery now supports a healthy population of kingfish during the summer months. Despite many anglers saying they have been late this season, in the past the majority of fish were caught throughout March and April. Therefore, the season is still well and truly alive and the past few weeks have reflected this.
Local anglers Milena and Jamie headed out off Seal Rocks one afternoon and set themselves to troll live baits along the inshore reefs. They had a hook-up any angler would dream of and after an epic battle, landed a monster kingfish.
Dean Giakoumakis and Theo Rozakis also had a yellowtail encounter when they set a spread of small skirted lures and set off trolling in the similar area. The boys hooked up to a solid fish, which they released boat side shortly after.
When conditions have been fair, those with boats large enough to head offshore, have been doing well. Most of the fish have been caught between the Nobbies and Pyramid Rock by anglers trolling skirts or live baits. This fishery will continue on for a few weeks yet, providing the offshore conditions allow anglers to get out.
There was also a spattering of striped tuna spotted wide of Seal Rocks, but no reports have come back of anglers actually catching them. Traditionally, the March and April period has been when they have been caught and it will be only the weather that dictates when anglers can get out to catch them.
Inside the Port, the fishing has continued on strong and with autumn now upon us, the Port will really ramp up a notch or two.
Fishing around Cleeland Bight at this time of year is very productive.
Land-based anglers can still catch calamari and whiting from the beach for the next few months providing they fish on a rising tide. This area produces some big whiting throughout the year due to its proximity to Bass Strait.
Mussel and pipi baits work exceptionally well and if you’re targeting calamari, stick to using a baited jig with silver and a whiting suspended under a float.
Make sure you fish this area in a south or southwesterly wind as the calmer conditions will make it easier to cast out into the deeper water.
Corinella supports a good population of gummy sharks at this time of year and, while small in size compared to that of other locations around the Port, they are in large numbers.
The lead up to the full moon, when the tides tend to be slower, will allow you to fish in the deeper areas with minimal sinker weight. Barge Hole next to French Island, which is around 15m deep, is a popular location to catch gummies.
A few snapper can also be caught here throughout autumn, and have been in recent weeks. Cranbourne Tackle World staff member Paul De Lisle has been regularly catching pinkie snapper, calamari and pike around Corinella.
Tankerton is an all time favourite whiting haunt of mine and of late has been producing some very nice fish.
Shaun Furtiere from Think Big Charters has fished the area with good success and has managed some very nice bags of whiting for his customers.
Anglers searching for whiting should concentrate in front of the Tankerton jetty in depths ranging 5-9m. Berley has been a definite advantage in keeping the action going.
Another very popular location to find whiting is on the Tortoise Head bank. This shallow sand flat fishes best on first of the run-out tide.
Anglers fishing amongst the weed beds have been catching whiting to 45cm and these fish will stay in this area right up until the elephant fish move in, which is usually around the April full moon.
The Balnarring/Somers area has always been known to harbour some of the biggest whiting the Port has to offer. Holding onto its title, Balnarring has once again produced the goods.
Tackle World Mornington staff member Ivon and his son Mark had a day out on the big whiting in Western Port. Their first fish was a tad short of 51cm with another six over 48cm. In total, the boys managed 31 big whiting and mentioned that getting away from the other boats was the trick. Pipis were the top bait.
This area usually doesn’t produce big numbers of whiting but what they lack in number, make up for in size. I guess this season is different and if it’s big things you want, this is the location.
If you could have only one location to fish in Western Port for the rest of your life, the western entrance would have to be seriously considered due to its diversity of species, which can be caught throughout the year.
Throughout April, whiting are still on the hit list amongst the shallow sand holes in the Ventnor and McHaffies Reef areas. Salmon will also enter the Port in vast numbers and begin to loiter in the entrance before making their way back out to the surf beaches by the beginning of May.
Salmon are a lot of fun when caught on light tackle and if you’re into flicking soft plastics, a hoard of busting salmon can be a lot of fun on a nice sunny day. There have already been reports of salmon terrorising baitfish throughout the entrance, which is a good sign that everything is coming together.
During the lead up to the full moon in February, Shaun Furtiere from Think Big Charters had a few trips out in search of gummy sharks and did well finding some respectable models for his clients. They caught gummy sharks to 16.5kg and have seen plenty of 6-7kg size fish as well.
Fishing during an evening and using fresh baits has been the key to success. This is one of the best things about this time of year as you can easily gather fresh baits on your way to your favourite gummy spot simply by finding the salmon schools and catching a few.
Larger sharks are a big possibility throughout the western entrance and this time of year is a great time to catch them as they start to leave the Port. Recently, Anthony Buckingham and his son Sean fished at Buoy 6 and had a monstrous hook up. After Sean battled it out for 45 minutes he landed a cracking bronze whaler shark. On the scales it went 117kg cleaned. The brute took a live slimy during the low slack tide change.
Bronzies, schoolies, seven-gill sharks and threshers are common in April and if you want to tangle with one, set yourself up near the entrance with fresh baits, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what comes along.
With the water temperature beginning to cool, this is the last attempt at catching the Port’s most prized species before winter set in. Next month, many anglers will garage their boats and hit the sand in search of salmon so before the arctic temperatures cover the state, best you get out and get your last fix.Reads: 1145