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Return of the kings
  |  First Published: March 2015



The next couple of months should begin to see a change in the weather patterns with cooler, calmer days expected. Although we can have some heat early in the month by the end of March we often see a distinct movement toward classic autumn weather patterns. In short, one of my favourite periods of the year for fishing locally!

With so much still on offer and manageable weather systems playing their part, the opportunities to get out and fish are often at their best for the year.

Yellowtail Kingfish

The kings started earlier this year with many of the holidaying anglers even getting to have a crack at this much-desired species. Whatever the environmental factors that have shaped this much-discussed return of the kingfish to our local waters, it is certainly welcomed, as demonstrated by the vast numbers of boats that have been out looking for them over the last month or so.

This year we have seen kings caught on both knife jigs and live baits although livies have, at times, been harder to come by than they were at this time last year. Squid have been a good replacement but have been favoured by those fishing at Barwon Heads and Cape Schanck, rather than those fishing around the rip, as the fast tidal water in this area tends to kill them quickly when used as a livie.

Many anglers have also found success using jigs between 100-200g, depending on the stage of the tide. Most of the fish caught in these areas have been between 4-7kg, however, there have certainly been some bigger fish caught but unfortunately I don’t have the photo evidence for this report!

Offshore, some of the subs and small reefs outside the heads have also been productive by running a berley trail and getting the kings to come up. At these times dropping small squid baits or jigs on them has been effective, however most of the fish caught this way tend to be smaller.

The final method for those who have struggled to find fish is to run a small spread of skirts such as the Richter Jelly Babes behind a teaser and chug down the shoreline. There have again been some good schools of rats in 14-25m off Collendina using this method.

Salmon

In other news we have still continued to see some great fishing off Gunnamatta back beach where there have been quality salmon often over 2kg and regularly up to 3kg. Most of this action has been on metal lures with classic patterns in blue and green mackerel accounting for many of the fish.

Good schools of salmon have also been seen in the rip. As is the norm, they most commonly appear on the surface on the ebb tide. It can be a lot of fun to throw small lures at these fish or simply troll around the edges of the feeding school. In the right conditions it is certainly a few laughs and a great challenge to see how light you can fish for them.

The Piers

The piers have continued to fish well for some of the minor species such as tommy rough, some gars (although at times thin) and occasional slimy mackerel. Rosebud has been good for these float species while Blairgowrie Marina and Portsea would be the other two consistent performers.

Squid from the piers have remained pretty consistent, which is also true of the boat fishing. With that said, as is typical for this time of year, the calamari are fairly modest in size with the exception of Flinders Pier where we have still seen some pretty solid squid encountered.

Looking Ahead

The autumn period on the peninsula is often a significantly quieter time, which many anglers enjoy. There are still great opportunities even for late season species like makos. Gummy sharks are prevalent and there is plenty of action still to be had on kings, whiting and squid. Truly a great period of the year to fish, whatever your preference!

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