Pick and play on any given day
  |  First Published: May 2014

How do you pick what your going to fish for on any given day in Western Port?

Is it that you target whatever species is in abundance or do you go on the lookout for something a little more challenging that may have fewer numbers at this time of year. One thing is for sure that throughout May our fishing options are endless and although winter is just around the corner, many of our summer species are still about in good numbers.


The majority of anglers might have begun to turn their backs on fishing in Bass Strait, but when the days are calm and the swells low, offshore fishing is more productive than some might think. Flathead might not be a high priority but they are in vast numbers and can be caught with ease. Drifting over the shallow sand behind Kilcunda, Cape Woolamai and along the Flinders Bank will yield a good catch. Paternoster rigs with half pilchards or small strips of squid will to the trick.

Pinkie snapper are also in fair numbers and can be found scattered over the inshore reefs along Kilcunda through to the mouth of the Eastern Entrance. Most are caught while fishing for flathead and fetch a fair size of up to 2kg.


Corinella itself always gets a lot of attention around this time of year and while many anglers try their luck at night for mulloway, land-based anglers fishing during the day are heavily rewarded.

It is the last of the elephant run and those fishing from Settlement Point, Tenby Point and Stockyard Point are rewarded providing they fish the right times. Both Settlement and Stockyard are low tide only fisheries while a high tide is required for Tenby.

Gummy sharks are the main target, but with elephants in plaque proportions they are good fun to catch.


Another known elephant haunt is Rhyll and while the area is quite shallow fetching around 6m of depth, fishing either the run-out or run-in tides is productive. When fishing for elephants, a berley pot placed on the bottom that’s filled with pellets and chopped up pilchards works extremely well. While elephants only have a small mouth, a running sinker with size 3/0 Black Magic KL circle hook works a treat. Small strips of squid or half pilchards are popular baits.


Although there are still some whiting about, fishing the last 2 hours of the run-in tide up on the Tortoise Head bank is where you’ll find them. It does pay to sprinkle out some tuna oil soaked pellets to attract them. For something a little different, flick out a squid jig and leave it to float around 5m from the boat.

The weed beds on the bank are full of calamari and this is a sneaky way to catch some calamari at the same time. Tackle World customer Daniel Anderson recently did just this and managed 18 whiting to 45cm and 8 calamari.


Fishing deep off Cowes can lead to a range of species being caught but with the prime target being gummy sharks, now is a popular time of year to target them. Anglers keen on catching a gummy or 2 should situate themselves in 20m of water just out from the pier.

Although it is a fair distance off the pier, fish the run-out tide for best results. A running sinker rig with appropriate sinker weight to hold bottom is recommended with strips of silver trevally, calamari and salmon the top baits. The last few weeks have been quite profitable for those already fishing this location and as the month draws on, more and more fish will use this area as a highway to get up to Corinella. The prime time to fish for gummies is of course three days before the full moon and three days after it.


Balnarring never seems to let anglers down; it is quite shallow, relatively calm except for easterlies and southerlies and delivers some monster whiting right throughout the year. While the majority of whiting that have been caught throughout the Bay are now quiet, Balnarring will continue to fish well right throughout the winter period.

Berley is essential as the fish are few and far between and don’t expect to fish this area to catch a bag of whiting. Rather you’re more likely to catch 6 solid fish of which most will be in the high 40cm bracket. Pipis are by far the best bait.


Of all the locations throughout the Port, none are as consistent as the Western Entrance when it comes to catching gummy sharks. From now on the fish will be in bigger numbers but smaller in size. Many fish caught from May until the end of winter tends to be male and range from 5-10kg.

Once again, fishing around the full moon is when you’ll see most of the action. Unfortunately, with the cooler water temperatures, you will also encounter a great deal of draughtboard sharks and seven-gill sharks. Alhough they do have sharp teeth and you might get the odd bite off, stick to using 80lb trace and a 6/0 or 8/0 circle hook. Doing this will at least have them hooked in the corner of the jaw rather then engulfing the entire rig biting you off. Gummies will take a variety of baits but stick to the freshest where possible: calamari, yakka, salmon and trevally chunks or strips of tuna.


It is that time of year to be fishing in Cat Bay and while whiting are the usual target, it’s calamari time. Throughout the cooler months, big calamari call Cat Bay home and few anglers take advantage of catching them. In their thousands, calamari spawn over the thick weed beds and anglers armed with artificial jigs can catch some nice models. Size 3.0 jigs with either a red foil below or whiting in colour see, to work best.

The tide direction isn’t much of a concern but I would still stick to fishing the first few hours of the run-out as they retreat from the shallower reefs back into the deep water.

Just as I said at that start of this column, I am always confused as to what to target with so many fishing options throughout the Port. Although you will experience such frustrations one thing is for sure, it will be cold but the bonus is less boats and trailers at the boat ramps.

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