The Keppel Island group have been running well this past month with many species being taken by both boat anglers and people that are over enjoying the beaches for the day.
Species such as mackerel and trevally have been ever-present and are very common this time of year, especially since the cold snaps have really started hitting.
Winter estuary species such as bream, flathead and salmon have been in high volumes over the past month with many anglers trying to target them. Many people have been trying to use soft plastics and with all the flathead about there is no better time to try. Whiting are among the easier of the surf species to catch around the beach but schools of salmon and dart are not uncommon.
Bream are a common capture of all the weekend warriors and are now highly regarded sportfish on light outfits.
Bream can be caught on many freshly gathered baits including prawns, white baits and even smaller mullet, but a pack of frozen prawns will do the trick if you don’t want to fuss around too much.
If you have a bit more patience and time on your hands, lures are a very effective way to catch these species once you get the hang of it and match the hatch and with the bream are bulking up on over the flats and stocking up for spawning. There has never been a better time to give the lures a go.
Whiting have been a very common and successful target lately, as with every winter. Freshly pumped yabbies on size 2 long shanks will see the whiting come one after the other.
Alternatively, little narrow hardbody lures with prawn patterns will see you bag a few over the flats. Some 6lb braid and 6lb leader will see the job get done and still land any bigger species that there’s every chance of hooking up on.
The top places for whiting at the moment include Keppel sands, the Causeway Lake and of course Corio bay. Look for the gutters and channels and anticipate the run as to where you need to cast.
All the queen fish, blue salmon, steel backs and trevally in the estuaries can be easily targeted by using poppers and metals. Small metals cast into bust ups and retrieved at a moderate speed will see these species hook up left right and centre. On the other hand, using small 50-70mm poppers steadily popped over the surface with some pace about it can get great results when the fish are a little quiet. The poppers are more so to imitate the fleeing prawns and whitebait in the estuaries.
Flathead are everywhere in the systems at the moment with Corio Bay producing good numbers. Two and 3” flick baits lightly weighted, depending on the current and wind, produce flathead very quickly when sharply jerked off the bottom and left to rest for a few seconds before repeating.
Alternatively, trolling for these fish is not a hard task. Baitfish profiled shallow diving lures trolled over sand flats and gutters can pick these fish up just as quick.
The Keppel group have been fishing well along with coastal headlands around the Keppel Bay marina. A great variety of species have been caught, from large tuna through to mackerel and coral trout.
Many people casting for these large longtail tuna are using barra type spin gear with small metal lures the same size as the baitfish in the water.
Many of the trout and other reef species have been pulled on shrimp imitation lures such as Zereks and the ever-working Gulp! Jerk Shads are still taking the fish by storm.
Big rigged baits trolled at a slow speed around Barren have produced good fish, the best way to go is a Citer Chin Guard with the 4 9/0 hooks on the back rigged up onto a bonito which can be caught in many locations at the moment or purchased for around $10.
Crabs have been going well, with many captures of big bucks around the Narrows and Curtis Island.
Left over reef frames make great crab pot bait.
GPS tagging your pots make for some easy work when coming back to find them, the save them as waypoints in the GPS and delete them when you have collected the pot.
Fish light get the bite.Reads: 836