Don’t forget bag limits are r-elephant!
  |  First Published: March 2016

There is only one bad thing about fishing in March – choosing which fish to target! The dreaded weather however has kept quite a number of anglers at bay but when the opportunity arises to head out, there are some very impressive fish to be caught.

Offshore, the sharks have been a little on the quiet side and it seems that the blue sharks have been more interested in berley trails. A few makos have been caught, but nothing to really get anglers anxious to head out just yet.

In saying that, the Evinrude/BRP Gamefish Classic 2016 was held out of Hastings on 27-28 February and was a huge success. Results will be published here next month.

There have been more than enough kingfish caught offshore to satisfy even the fussiest king anglers. Each year the season has progressively improved and this year has been outstanding. The rocky basalt coastline around Phillip Island has fared well, with a lot of fish caught by trolling live baits. The best locations include, Kilcunda, Black Head, Magic Lands, Pyramid Rock, Seal Rocks, Picnic Point and Bushranger Bay. Local angler Chris Johnstone managed four kings to 10kg as well as losing six livies to other fish while trolling inside The Nobbies.

Dave Henderson also reported a nice fish drifting for flathead just outside the entrance of the Eastern Entrance. Dave said he noticed some kings on the surface, quickly changed rods and fed out an unweighted pilchard to land a 4kg fish. Speaking of flathead, they’ve been in abundance both in 15-20m of water off Kilcunda as well as while drifting over the Flinders Bank just outside the Western Entrance. A paternoster rig will serve you when rigged with size 3/0 Mustad Demon circle hooks.

Inside Western Port things have been quite different. While the toothies and hoodlums are being caught offshore, inside it is all about gummies, King George whiting and calamari. Not to mention garfish, mullet, silver trevally, elephant fish and a few salmon.

The whiting fishery has really ramped up to be a cracker. Shaun Furtiere from Think Big Charters has been mixing his targets between gummies and whiting depending on the weather and conditions. On the whiting front, Shaun has fished the western side of the Middle Spit up to the cut in 7-5m of water. He has also had plenty of success fishing along the eastern channel on same line to the end of the spit through to the cut in 6-8m of water. Shaun reported that the best fishing occurred during the flooding tides with an hour or so into the change before the bite opens up a bit with extra tidal flow. Pipis have been reliable; throw some pipi shells in to keep the action on longer.

If rain and strong winds develop, the water can become quite silted, which makes fishing for whiting and calamari a little more challenging. If this is the case, not all is lost, just move off the bank into some deeper water and work the tides for best results. Whiting have also been abundant on the Tortoise Head Bank, Coronet Bay, Dickies Bay and in Cleeland Bight.

Local whiting guru, Brad King from Sports Power Head Office fished the Dickies Bay area with his Dad and brother. The boys had a good session on the whiting but quickly realised they could have caught more than a half dozen fish if their dad hadn’t forgot to pack the tackle box. Happy with their catch, they had to leave them biting and head home.

Gummy sharks have also been caught recently, but as we head towards the full moon this month, the fishing should be epic in the Western Entrance. The best time to seek quality gummy sharks will be from 18-22 March and a few days after the moon. Fresh bait is the key, with calamari, silver trevally, yellowtail scad and salmon real winners. In recent weeks, Shaun Furtiere has put his clients onto some very good fish, but as the lead up to the moon arrives, they’ll be boating some much bigger versions.

March is a top time to be out at Western Port and while the whiting and gummies are a lot of fun to catch, we are heading towards autumn and the water temperature is beginning to drop. This means a whole new handful of species to target. Silver trevally, mullet, salmon, whiting, calamari, and of course, elephant fish are all possible catches.

We are now into elephant season and while they are few and far between, fishing in the better-known areas is producing some good fish. If you are looking to get into the elephant action, there are two main areas to target them. The first is in the mouth of either Gardeners or Blakes channels during the run-out tides or within the Elephant Triangle in the Rhyll/Corinella area.

Remember though, elephants have a strict bag limit of one per person, so after you have caught your fish, head off and target whiting which are often caught nearby. Land-based anglers can also reap the benefits of elephant season. Fishing from the sand at Stockyard Point, Tenby Point, Coronet Bay, Cowes Pier and Stony Point Pier will yield a good result.

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