One more run before you crack out the surf gear
  |  First Published: June 2016

Although we are officially in what I consider to be our winter surf season, what really excites me is the fact that we have had such strong squid and whiting fishing over the last month. So although it’s cool and chilly, it is well worth a trip to get yourself some quality table fare.

Southern Calamari

In good years, squid are often one of the winter staples, and this year is certainly proving to be just that with big numbers of squid available in sizes that I don’t usually associate with this time of year!

The squid fishing is probably being helped along by the fact that we have some very healthy weed beds on the peninsula at the moment and although they may thin out a bit over the next couple of months, they are certainly providing good habitat for calamari for the moment.

Jig size and colour has not been such an issue this year, with a range of both managing to put squid in the boat. As always however, there are a couple of colours that always sell (and fish!) well. Red foil and a dark back, whites, natural brown/greens and chartreuse coloured jigs have been a favourite.

As far as areas go, we have seen good land-based fishing from the Mt Martha Rocks and some of the local pier platforms like Rye and Blairgowrie. Out in the boat, you can almost pick a weed bed and you are in with a chance. Local areas in 4-7m off Blairgowrie and Rye have been good, but equally there have been great calamari off the points at Portsea and over at Queenscliff, where some bigger models have been found in 7m of water.


Who knows whether the reduction in nets is already having an impact on King George whiting numbers in Port Phillip Bay, but it would nice to think it is, as the whiting fishing has been nothing short of sensational. We have seen some of the better fishing for whiting we’ve had in many years.

Interestingly, by this stage of the year a lot of the whiting action is often over at St Leonards. Whether it is the season or the water temperature, we often note that the whiting go quiet on the Mornington Peninsula and fire-up on the Bellarine through this period. However, this year it’s not the case. We have seen really good fishing right along the peninsula. The Pinnance Channel grounds had a massive school for a number of weeks, but so too did the shallows off Rye and Tootgarook. It really has been a bonanza on the whiting – if in doubt you should get out and see for yourself!

Australian Salmon

On an annual basis, Australian salmon come in peaks and troughs throughout the year. This year we had good schools in the rip and on the back beaches in the middle of summer. Autumn has seen consistent fishing although we are yet to again see some of the bigger fish that were being caught way back in January and February.

Gunnamatta Back Beach has been fishing well with most fish between 18-30cm. For my money, the best action has been on metal lure with greens, blues, silver and gold coloured slugs working best. Other beaches worth fishing at the moment include Portsea Back and the area around Sphinx Rock at Sorrento.

At about this point of the year, for the last two years running we have also seen good schools come into the mooring areas around Sorrento and Tootgarook. I am yet to hear if they have shown up again, but I still think it is pretty likely, so stay tuned as we may have news by this time next month.

Looking Ahead

Winter for me is all about staple fishing. Aside from those heading west to chase tuna, it’s a good time to keep it small and simple. Locally, I like to focus on the basics. A couple of hours on the water chasing anything from whiting to flathead, squid or gars is about all I aim for.

If you keep it simple, you can often come home with a nice feed for the family. It’s also time to have a good think about what boat maintenance might be necessary. Now might be the time to get it done before we crank back into spring, the last thing you want is your boat tied up off the water for a week or two while repairs are made. I know that I certainly have a bit of work to do with a set of wheel bearings that need attending too!
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