It might be cold, but the fish don’t seem to mind and with plenty of fish still around, there’s no excuse to park the boat up over winter.
The water temperature inside the inlet has dropped to around 11°C, making almost every summer species absent, except for whiting, calamari and heaps of garfish.
The whiting are being caught anywhere from 5-10m in the Port Albert, Drum and Snake channels. The run-in tide has been the best time to concentrate your efforts with pipis, squid and prawns proving the best baits.
The calamari are chewing on the last bit of the run-in tide and the slack high. Size 2.5 and size 3.0 jigs have by far been the best! The squid have been small to medium sized, which is about 15-25cm hood lengths, however I have seen some better models caught off the Port Albert jetty at night.
As for the garfish, they are going really well. The shallows around Sunday Island and the channel towards Kearneys entrance have been very successful. The gars are big and there’s plenty up to the 40cm mark being caught. The run-in tide has been the best time, but I have heard a few good reports from anglers fishing the run-out! Berley is very important for the gars, and anchoring in the right position to keep the garfish behind the boat is even more important. This goes for the whiting at Port Albert as well. Quite simply, you must have berley in the winter.
Offshore is where most of the action has taken place, and the biggest news is our winter kingfish fishery. Yes, believe it! Kingfish were caught recently, making them official winter kingies. They are in big schools and are smashing baitfish on the surface around the islands. The most popular method has been trolling skirted lures in the 4-6” range and the odd one has also taken a knife jig. Anglers who have found them in the past few weeks say they are mainly just following up the jigs and not eating them, but are happy to take a trolled skirt!
There are also plenty of flathead being caught east of the islands off Manns beach in 30m of water and more, and there are some big gummies out there as well.
The gummies should hang around all winter, however, you will have to target your tide changes religiously and fish them properly. Obviously, you will want to berley if you are anchored. You will get the draughtboard and seven-gill sharks as well, but you’ll find gummies if you sift through the lesser sharks.Reads: 415