Going gaga for gummies
  |  First Published: August 2016

Despite the colder temperatures, those braving the conditions have been having a very successful winter on the Port.

Those putting in the hard yards have been finding some remarkable fish, including gummy sharks, snapper, whiting, salmon, silver trevally and calamari. The North Arm has been producing some nice snapper, with the largest I heard of going 7.6kg. Other fish ranging from 4-6kg have also been caught throughout the Port, with the majority coming from the Corinella and Corals areas.

Signs of winter snapper will taper off now, but with spring only a few weeks away, spring time snapper will be on the minds of many before we know it.

Late August and into September is when the spring run will commence into the Port and while there will be few fish caught due to the lower water temperature, those who are patient enough can begin fishing locations such as the north arm, Corinella, Spit Point and Tenby Point Channel.

Early season snapper are always frustrating, however, providing you’re fishing the tides with a good selection of fresh baits such as fresh calamari, garfish and or yakka fillets, you should be able to hook into a few fish before the season really ramps up.

If you are keen on a bit of bait gathering before the season kicks into gear, then there are plenty of options available. Of course it is easier to pick up a bag of pilchards from the local servo, but nothing can beat a fresh calamari ring or whole silver whiting.

August is a great month to gather bait, fishing the shallow banks on the bottom of the Middle Spit, Tortoise Head Bank, Somers, Balnarring, and Flinders and around Cat Bay is good when gathering calamari. If you are after garfish, try anchoring on the edge of the middle spit over some weed. Set a berley trail on the waters surface of bran or pollard and fish unweighted pieces of silverfish or pilchard fillet threaded onto a #12 offset long shank hook. This style of hook is deadly on garfish and if there are any around, you’ll catch them using this method in no time.

An excellent bait is silver whiting, yet few people take advantage of this fishery. Of course, not everyone has a boat large enough to head offshore into Bass Strait. Silver whiting are an offshore species and unknown to many, live on the sandy bottom in Bass Strait from 10-20m deep.

To catch them, a simple paternoster rig tied from 12lb fluorocarbon leader with two droppers is ideal. Silver whiting caught offshore can be frozen down and used later, but to keep them at their freshest, vacuum seal them in saltwater. I guarantee when you defrost them to use, they’ll look just a fresh as they day your caught them.

Aside from bait gathering, if you are chasing the adrenalin rush from a line screaming fish, then getting out and down the Western Entrance is the place to be.

Greg Foben and his friend Chris nailed some some cracking fish aboard a charter recently. The boys managed to catch and release five gummy sharks, all of which were well over the 10kg mark and all put up quite a fight.

Land-Based fishing has also been very productive for those willing to put in the time. The piers have been producing silver trevally, flathead, salmon, leatherjacket, calamari, yellow-eye mullet and the odd King George whiting.

The most common rig to use is a paternoster rig, but ensure you fish smaller sized hooks in the no. 8-1 size and a long shank style for best success.

Also try using berley too, this can be in the form of pellets poured into an onion bag and suspended into the waters surface with a rope. The pellets will break up and begin to attract fish in no time.

The Flinders Pier has also been fishing very well for calamari. Anglers hitting the pier on low tide either on first light or last light have caught some cracking models while casting both artificial jigs and baited jags.

Although there is a massive amount of squid jigs on the market, those that have been working well of late contain a ref foil belly in a size 3.0

Towards the end of this month, many anglers are going to begin feeling weird and uncontrollable urges in their arms where they twitch and shudder when the sun hits the horizon. Among this, sudden head turns causing whiplash as they think they can hear a reel scream and the sound of braid ripping through a rods guides.

This is just a few signs that the internal body clock of an angler is getting ready for what spring will bring. If you’re partner begins to sit upright in bed at 4am in the morning in the coming weeks, you’ll quickly realise snapper season is coming.

Photo courtesy of Shaun Furtiere.

Photo courtesy of Shaun Furtiere.

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