It’s mid-winter and almost by definition, one of the toughest periods of the year to find the motivation to get out there and go fishing! However, it can be an exceptionally productive period, free from crowds, boats and jet-skis – you just need to know what to target, when to do it and then take the time to get out there.
Let’s do a round up of your options.
From the far side of Western Port, around Kilkunda, to the Bellarine Peninsula and beyond, the back beaches closest to Melbourne get a lot of attention through the winter months. It is traditionally surf season and a time to get out and target some Australian salmon.
Luckily, for us peninsula residents we have a number of beaches that fish very well through this period seeing a lot of salmon between 500g-3kg. And given that they are probably the closest beaches to the majority of Melburnians (within an hours’ drive) they provide one of the best options if you want to hit the sand.
Gunnamatta back beach is the jewel in the crown and by far the most popular. This year we have had a lot of northerlies, which has meant that there has been ample opportunity to surf fish and consequently we have seen good captures right from the start of the season.
Gunnamatta is a fairly steep beach, which means there is plenty of deep holes and water to cast a line. Dependent on your level of fitness you can walk right up to the far east end and find good fishing at various stops along the way. Bait fishing is popular, with blue bait, whitebait or glassies being the favoured options, however spinning metal slugs has risen steadily in popularity over the last few years. I believe spinning is more productive, easier and probably the best way to catch salmon.
Other options that have been fishing well over the last few weeks include Portsea back beach and Rye back beach. Both of these beaches have commonly been producing salmon around 1-1.3kg but fish, both smaller and larger, are being caught on any day. The beauty of these two beaches is that they are often a lot quieter, so finding your own piece of sand is a lot easier. The down side is that there is some hidden reef in various places which means you can lose a few rigs now and then.
If you don’t care much for the sand then have no fear as there are salmon inside the bay too. Over the last month there has been a fairly consistent school hanging around the Fort on the South Channel. All you need are some small occy skirts, or divers such as the X-Rap 08 or Trollcraft Pelagic 9cm, and you can get into these fish fairly easily.
Fish have also appeared around the Dromana mussel farm and have made sporadic appearances at the Blairgowrie Marina.
Hard not give the squid a mention when they have been fishing so well over the last four weeks. True to form, they have continued to offer a variety of sizes and best of all have been in good numbers from many of our land based platforms such as Mt Martha rocks, Rye, Blairgowrie and Portsea piers as well as being an easy target if you have put the boat in the water recently.
Early in the month there were some better-sized calamari out by the Pinnacle channel, but Lonsdale Bight and Portsea have also accounted for big squid. In Western Port the Quail Bank, Tyabb Bank and Cat Bay have produced the biggest squid. Bright orange and green jigs doing plenty of damage.
August can often herald some of the biggest salmon for the season and, in certain years, can also see some enormous breeding squid plucked from our local waters. Either way, they’re both good options. By the next time we speak, it will be spring and we all know what that means – snapper!
• For more information feel free to drop in and see the boys at Peninsula Total Tackle, 11 Boneo Road in Rosebud or phone: 03 5981 1994.
There has been an unusual run of snapper in Western Port in the last few weeks. Chris O’Connell, Dad and mate Lee nailed a number of good fish at Corinella.
The author with a couple of nice Southern Peninsula calamari taken off Sorrento.
Trent North with a nice salmon taken on a surface lure at Gunnamatta back beach.
Surf spinning? Try adding a small assist hook to your lure – the salmon can’t miss!Reads: 630