It’s getting mighty cold and the calamari have come out to play! It’s the big draw card to winter fishing and, even though there are some really nice calamari around, they are only going to get bigger as the water continues to cool.
I will get to the calamari hot spots in a second, but they are not the only tasty morsels to collect in the port. We will open up with a little bit of land-based action from Stockyard Point.
It has been a little while since receiving some consistent reports from here but it has finally happened. There are a handful of local anglers that have been doing really well fishing the low tide and getting baits right into the channel. This area is littered with small to just-legal gummy sharks, and thrown in the mix are quite a few small school sharks as well, so don’t be surprised if you encounter the odd bite offs.
It is not a complicated task to target and catch these fish, the humble pilchard and/or strip of calamari is all you need. But the real key is to be there at low tide.
There will also be the odd elephant fish still hanging around too, which can add to the excitement of not knowing what will take your bait next!
Grantville Pier is another little winter delight that land-based fanatics can sneak away to for an afternoon session. Similar to Stockyard, you will find the smaller gummies and schoolies, along with the elephants, that will hang around for a lot longer than what you might think. It really is a high tide spot though, as the mud flats are just about exposed on the low tide.
Moving through the top end, the boat-based anglers have been getting amongst a few table sized gummies to 5kg throughout the Bouchiers Channel. Strips of fresh calamari and fresh salmon chunks have been the deadly baits. Tide changes are always best in this area and, if you can, the high change into the run-out tide is preferred.
And now to the calamari! We are heading into our prime time of year for big calamari and the lead up has been nothing short of spectacular. The Quail and Tyabb Banks are both covered in calamari and tossing around a few artificial jigs are the way to get them. Generally speaking the bigger 3.0 and 3.5 sized jigs are the go-to, but we had a few guys come across a patch of squid on the Tyabb Bank that were pretty switched onto smaller prey, so the smaller 2.5 sized jigs really came into their own. This proves that even though the fishing is pretty red-hot, you still need to keep a keen eye on what is happening and pay attention on any given day. In the colour department white and green jigs have seen the most action.
The calamari have also spread themselves out along the middle spit and there are some very nice sized specimens among them. The average size at the moment has been between 30-35cm hood length, but expect that to creep up a little bit during the course of the month. It won’t be too long until we see fairly consistent catches of squid pushing 50cm in the hood department.
Artificial jigs have again been the best way to get the squid and the bugger jigs have dominated proceedings; jigs up to a size 4 have been getting the job done. The tide does tend to run a little harder through the north arm so being armed with some of the bigger jigs does make a big difference.
The whiting have also been hanging around into the cooler months and will continue to bite through winter. They have thinned out a fair bit but a good feed is still to be had. Working the edges of the spit in 5-7m of water has been the preferred depth and the average size is hovering between 32-35cm. The odd bigger fish has been moving into the low 40s so it is still well worth having a crack.
Mussels have been the bait of choice and a few of the charter boats have been able to get their hands on some fresh cuttlefish, which has been out fishing every other bait. It’s just being lucky enough to get a hold of one, which is the issue!
Now, I know it is getting very cold but the fishing is still very much on fire. The key to winter fishing is to pick your times and put in short and sharp sessions. Concentrate on tide changes and make every second count. Good luck and keep the reports coming.
An example of the cracking calamari around at the moment.
Jesse couldn’t even wait to cook this bad boy before taking a bite!
A bag of beautiful middle spit whiting.Reads: 536