There is certainly never a dull moment on Western Port and with whiting in full swing, elephants sifting through the soft substrate, gummy sharks cruising along the edges of the long winding channels and mako sharks roaming the offshore waters, why would you want to fish anywhere else in the state.
At the end of each month I love to compile reports and read about what fellow angler’s have been catching from within and around the coastline of Western Port.
The offshore scene has seen a little shark action but nothing amazing just yet. There have been a few makos caught around the 30kg mark out from the Western Entrance and only time will tell if larger models will show up. There have been no reports of the huge schools of arrow squid so far, which is the main reason the makos show up offshore.
What I like best about the Victorian offshore fishing scene is that every year is getting better and better. Sure we might have a dismal season on sharks, but what about tuna and kingfish. Our beloved power punching pelagics have returned in force over the past 5 years and plenty of anglers are getting into the action.
Although it was back on 2012 when the last reports of striped tuna were reported around the coast, since then the kings have been going nuts, so to speak. Each season, solid runs of kingfish have been getting thicker and thicker and while I flick through this week’s reports, kingfish have been caught off Kilcunda Reef, Pyramid Rock and at Seal Rocks. One thing that these fish all had in common was the liking for a fresh live bait being trolled in a boat’s prop wash.
Aside from live baits, lures have also been working extremely well. Tackle World Cranbourne Staff member Luke McCredden and Aussie cricketers Will Sheridan, James Pattinson and Cameron White headed offshore this week and caught rat kingfish on poppers and hardbody lures. Trolling the hardbodies along the edge of the reef proved to be a valuable technique.
Over the next few weeks, reports of kingfish will flood in quicker than the tide and while these fish are challenging at the best of times, those heading offshore shouldn’t do so without a bait tank full of livies.
Inside the Port is an entirely different story altogether. Although no-one has reported catching any kingfish within the Port’s boundaries, they are a possibility. As for kings inside the Port, King George whiting have been about in very healthy numbers. Most of the whiting action reported has been along the Middle Spit, Tankerton, Tortoise Head Bank, Coronet Bay and in the Rhyll Channel.
Jovan Pageot and his mates have been fishing the Middle Spit with good results and have landed some thumping King George whiting to 45cm. They report fresh squid and pipis were the best baits on the day.
Shaun Furtiere, owner/operator of Think Big Charters has had some fantastic whiting fishing in Western Port recently. Shaun has been doing quite a bit of research and has been locating some real solid schools of whiting, so many so, that they have even been showing up as schools of fish on his sounder. Shaun has mainly been working the lower north arm and has been doing exceptionally well.
I was chatting with Dylan from Compleat Angler Dandenong recently who told me that one of their customers, Johnny, headed out the Middle Spit and got stuck into a school of nice sized whiting. Pipi/squid cocktail baits were the most effective.
Although the whiting have been in full force, the arched nemesis, elephant fish have arrived in droves. The bag limit may only be one per person but they are an inevitable catch at this time of year. Anglers wanting to target whiting, mulloway or snapper often become plagued with elephants and any scent of a berley trail and they are onto it like Donkey Kong!
Still, there are those anglers that do like to target elephants, and why not? They are big, take a variety of baits and do fight hard on light tackle. Finding elephants is relatively easy and while they are commonly found in areas of soft mud and dirty water, Coronella, Coronet Bay and Rhyll are prime locations. To catch them, simply set anchor in the Rhyll/Coronet Bay/Corinella area. Place a berley pot filled with fish oil-based pellets and mashed with pilchards usually does the trick. One thing to remember with elephants is that they have a small mouth, so keep baits quite small. Often a half pilchard or strip of squid threaded onto a size 3/0 circle hooks is substantial.
Whiting and elephants aside, mulloway in Western Port are the most highly prized species. Why you may ask? Maybe it is because they are difficult to catch or is it because they are so smart? Regardless of the reason, when you catch them, the local fishing community deserve to hear about it and, with that in mind, a big congratulation goes to Mason Schulz.
Mason Schulz scored the fish of a lifetime while fishing the East Arm of Western Port. He was targeting Mulloway using fresh squid and at 5.30am the reel screamed and the battle begun. Fifteen minutes later Mason landed a magnificent mulloway measuring 140cm, talk about a fish never to be forgotten!
Mulloway are really the ghosts of the waterways and while they maybe in greater numbers these days than they were a decade ago, they are still just as challenging to catch. The next month is prime time and if you’re lucky enough to strike it silver, let me know, you certainly deserve the bragging rights.Reads: 662