Shark fishing causes hurly-berley in the bay!
  |  First Published: February 2016

Recent weeks give a good indication of a great month of fishing in Apollo Bay. Anglers fishing the back of the golf course, Marengo and the Waterfall reefs have caught good numbers of whiting up to 48cm on pipis. Use berley made from bread, pellets and tuna oil to get the whiting fired up and this mix will keep them around your boat for a longer period of time.

Light lines of 2-3kg, and a small running sinker are the best way to rig up for the King George and any soft bait such as pipis, squid or mussels will yield results. Flathead are found in abundance right along the coastline with the majority of fish landed from 40m of water. There have been some big specimens too with plenty of reports of flathead measuring up to and over 60cm. The Cape Otway area continues to produce excellent fishing for both gummy and school sharks in 40-70m of water. Fishing on the slack water periods of the tide with fresh squid or fish fillets has been very productive.

February is known as one of the better months to target gummy and school sharks and the good fishing should continue in the coming weeks. Don’t forget that there is a combined bag limit of two gummies and/or school shark per angler as this can be reached on most occasions. This area also produces some big snapper and is worth fishing until the tide starts running too hard for your bait to hold the bottom. To target the snapper make sure you are right on the reef edge, which can be easily found with the use of a modern depth sounder. Boats fitted with electric anchor winches have an advantage as they can hold themselves right on the mark, however, drifting over an area and then diving back and retracing your drift is also very effective. Whole pilchards or fresh squid seem to be the most effective bait on the big snapper and you will also pick up plenty of by-catch species such as morwong, gurnard and flathead.

Anglers fishing out wide of Apollo Bay in 70m+ of water have seen plenty of blue sharks and the occasional mako swimming up their berley trails. Fresh aero squid can easily be caught out in this depth by leaving bait or jigs suspended mid water and these make great bait for the sharks. If the sharks are playing hard to get, then downsize your bait and hooks and they should grab it without hesitation. I have found that they sometimes refuse a whole squid but will happily grab a single squid tentacle or even a whole pilchard fished on a small hook and light wire trace.

The river estuaries have produced plenty of bream on soft plastics and small hardbodied lures fished close to the bank. The Aire and Barham rivers fish best when the mouth of the river has just opened to the sea. As the river level drops, the shrimp and small bait fish get flushed out of the grass and back into the main river. This gives the bream an easy feed along the banks, making it the best place to concentrate your angling efforts. In recent weeks the fishing has been sensational for bream in the local estuaries and I suspect this will continue in the coming weeks. Good luck!

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