It was over a month into autumn before we started to see what I would classically call autumn weather. Cool, crisp mornings met with blue skies and windless days – a beautiful time of year and a great time to get out on the water!
Personally, I believe it always feels like a great time to refocus on those bread and butter species. Whiting, gars, flathead and squid – all the small stuff that are great to bring home to the family for a terrific feed.
Going out on a limb here I’m going to say that the whiting fishing through the early part of autumn has been better than the summer period, which tends to be when this species gets a lot of attention. The truth is that we had solid, not patchy, reports coming from right along the peninsula with anglers fishing many known areas and coming home with the goods. The Rosebud reef, the sisters at Sorrento, the Pinnace channel, the western channel and Portsea moorings all saw good bags of fish on their given day often mixed with a bunch of red mullet, tommy ruff, bay trout and flathead. Squid and pipi cocktail baits were the go and accounted for many of these fish.
If you fancy continuing to catch whiting through the depth of winter focus your efforts on the Bellarine Peninsula. On a good day it’s only a short cruise from Sorrento but the years have shown that there is generally a consistent congregation of smaller whiting to about 34cm that spend most of winter off St Leonards and down to Queenscliff. A reliable area if you simply want a feed.
This year the gummy shark had somewhat of a reprieve through the last few months where many anglers who regularly target them turned their attention, understandably, toward the kingfish, which were being caught in our local waters. However, with the kingfish run slowing for another year anglers have turned their attention back on the gummies and we have seen some great results.
Some of those that have been particularly successful are the anglers that have found new bait collecting grounds while targeting kings and are now using these freshly caught yakkas and slimy mackerel to good effect on the gummies. Of course the baits don’t have to be live, but a fresh fillet or chunk bait cut from one of these baitfish can be exceptional for tempting one of the grey fellas!
The size of calamari is currently up – which is music to any squid loving angler’s ears! No one seems to be having any trouble finding reasonable numbers of calamari and many are now starting to stumble on some bigger breeding size squid. For my money it certainly might be worth a trip to Lonsdale Bight or Point Nepean if you really love catching those super size squid. They often congregate here and your chance of a big one is certainly better through this area rather than further up the peninsula.
Generally speaking, squid have been found on most of the shallow grounds off Rye with some good patches right in amongst the boat moorings at Blairgowrie and Sorrento too. These areas have also been yielding a bunch of good size silver trevally.
As we head toward June and the deepest, darkest part of winter, the surf fishing scene generally dominates the fishing news. Aussie salmon are the prime target through this period and if you haven’t tried it I would urge you to give a bit of surf spinning a go. It really is the ‘new’ winter tactic for catching a bunch of salmon. It is light, mobile, heaps of fun and in my opinion puts more fish on the beach than traditional bait fishing for salmon. The best part is that it is a quick walk down the beach at a time of year where dragging the boat out can seem exactly that – a drag!Reads: 458