Even with winter arriving in just a few weeks, the fishing has been sensational. King George whiting, elephant shark, salmon and silver trevally may become a little challenging to catch as the water temperature drops but gummy sharks, flathead and calamari are still rife throughout the Port.
May is one of my favourite months to be out on the bay and while the fishing continues to be productive, the air temperatures are dropping and some mornings are freezing.
The Western Entrance still sees schools of salmon hoarding baitfish to the surface. These schools will become fewer over the next few weeks as the salmon make their way back out into Bass Strait and into the surf zones. This is great for land-based anglers, as winter is the time to be out in the elements fishing the beaches.
In saying that, recent reports from Kilcunda, Cape Woolamai and Anzacs beaches are showing good signs of salmon. The fish caught recently have ranged between 500g-1kg, with the odd larger fish caught in the mix. Yellow eye mullet and silver trevally are a common by-catch and have been in greater numbers. When fishing these beaches, it is imperative to fish a gutter, as this is where the fish have schooled up in numbers. Berley has been the key as the smell attracts the fish right to the shore breaks. Almost any bait will do when fishing for salmon, but pipi, blue bait and whitebait are the top three.
By the end of this month, the salmon will have really ramped up and from then on, the surf fishing around the Bass Coast will be in peak season for the duration of winter.
Inside the Port, gummy shark fishing has been productive in the Western Entrance as well as around Corinella and Lang Lang. Fishing the tides, especially the last two hours of the run-out has been the most productive time along the edges of the channels. This is when the fish are swimming off the banks before they become high and dry and into the main channels. Use a little berley to coax the fish to your immediate fishing area when anchored along the edge of one of the channels at this point.
A few anglers have found success fishing the Western Entrance with some fish in excess of 12kg caught and released. Jono Mason fished the Western Entrance and managed two gummies. The largest went 12kg and was released while the other two of around 8kg and 6kg were kept for the table.
Gummy sharks aside, there have also been some big sevengill sharks, one of which was reported to be an estimated 120kg. Sevengillers might not be classed as a sportfish to some anglers and although their fighting ability isn’t renowned, they are big, put up a fair fight and are a lot of fun for anglers that haven’t caught them before.
Sevengill sharks tend to be caught as by-catch and throughout the winter months you’ll encounter the majority of them. Keep in mind that if you are going to target them, you don’t need wire leader. Wire leaders will deter gummies if you’re after them too, so it is best to stick with 80lb nylon leader and a Mustad 6/0 or 8/0 Octopus circle hook.
Another pesky critter that anglers soon become sick of is the uninvited swell shark, also known as draughtboard sharks. These bucket mouths are more hard work than they need to be and though you might see a bite on the end of your rod tip; they sit still and don’t move rather then head off like most other fish.
The only time you know they are there is when you go to check your bait and feel a heavy weight on the hook end. Then, you have to slowly work them to the surface where they open their mouth and let gallons of water fill them up making them much harder to wind in.
Aside from these tricky species, the whiting have continued to fish well and should be good for a few more weeks yet. Shaun Furtiere from Think Big Charters is still finding them in good numbers along the Middle Spit, Tortoise Head Bank, Hans Inlet and at Tankerton. Shaun reports that the run-out tide has been the prime time to catch them. If you’re after larger models fish in deep water ranging from 10-15m.
This month there are still plenty of fishing options, especially for land-based anglers. Elephants might be heading home to their offshore lairs but within the Port, land-based fishing from Stock Yard Point, Lang Lang, Grantville Jetty, Corinella Pier and Settlement Point are producing nice fish on the run-out tides. After the full moon on 21 May, most of the elephants would have left for the year, so if you still want to get into the action, best you do it early this month before they all leave.
Calamari are also in abundance through the cooler months, and May is a great time to target them from the shore. Fishing from the beaches at Ventnor, and Cleeland Bight are the prime spots. To be successful, fish the top of the high tides with a baited jig under a float, and it always pays to cast over weed beds as this is where the calamari will be found.
If you’re keen on flicking artificial jigs, the Flinders Pier will be your best bet. It does get crowded here but when the calamari are on, it can be standing room only.Reads: 245