Summer is here, but you can tell it’s been a late season. It’s taken a lot longer for the fish to get on the chew than last year, but with some better water temperatures now, our iconic Victorian summer species such as snapper, gummy shark and whiting are all on the chew.
It’s amazing that last month the water temperatures had just reached around 14.5°C and a month later we aren’t seeing much higher temperatures. Some days we’re seeing 17°C and other days the high 14°C. This is mainly due to the cold fronts and strong southwesterlies we keep getting that haven’t allowed that water to warm up completely. It keeps getting cooled back down.
The snapper are here and in big numbers, but we haven’t seen big numbers caught, largely because anglers haven’t been able to get out every day. Also, colder than average water temperatures have made the bite times short lived.
The whiting season so far has been nothing short of sensational. The whiting are big, averaging 38cm and up to 43cm. The best baits have been pipis and squid strips, and the usual whiting spots in the Port Albert Channel and Drum channel has been producing the most fish. The optimum depths have been from 4-9m of water and both tides are fishing equally well, as long as there are good amounts of current.
The snapper have just started firing and the prime times have still been an hour and a half either side of the tide. Pilchards and squid strips or heads produce the most snapper. Definitely use a running sinker rig, as these have produced all the big fish. Once the water hits 18°C and the pinkies move in, you’ll do very well with a paternoster rig as well. At night, the snapper have been moving into the shallows, especially during the run in tide.
At McLoughlins Beach, the entrance is running hard to the left now and is good in calm conditions, but be very careful when its rough, as there are waves breaking right along. Snapper have been a little quiet on the reefs still, due to water temperatures, but they should fire any day now. There have been some huge gummies caught out wide in 20-30m of water. Most anglers are anchoring and berleying for the fish. Thumpers of up to 20kg have been caught.
Out near the islands off Port Albert, the gummy sharks have been big and plentiful and are getting caught on the drift in 21m and out very wide in 38m as well. The 38m mark is also full of large flathead to 55cm as well, and they’re getting caught on the drift. Pinkies haven’t really started yet, because it’s been a late season and the water is still too cold, but it will happen soon.
Dave Johnson with a thumping big gummy shark caught offshore in 40m of water out from Port Albert.
The author caught this fantastic red of 80cm a few weeks ago, in the shallows at night. It was the last of the run off tide and the fish took a squid strip on a running rig.Reads: 216