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Abundance of species – time for a see-food diet
  |  First Published: February 2017



This is one of the best times of year for us Victorians as we get this outstanding crossover between all of our key species. The snapper are still around, the whiting start going nuts, big calamari are still in the shallows and the gummies start to frequent a lot of our snapper areas.

THE TOP END

The top end of the port is where most of the snapper and gummy reports are coming from. It’s great to see that heading into February, there is still some nice fishing around, after another testing season on the reds. Local legends Dave and Anton had a great session in the top end – they managed to take home three nice snapper and six healthy calamari for the dinner table. I’m sure the family were pretty happy with that effort!

Young gun angler Amy landed her very first gummy shark on a recent outing and she just couldn’t keep the smile of her face. The tape showed this nice beast measuring in at 115cm. I’m sure with a side of chips and salad, it made for an even more memorable catch.

John Italiano has been another keen angler who has made the most of a few gummy sharks cruising around the top end with a tasty 97cm model that fell victim to a freshly caught piece of barracouta. You just can beat fresh bait!

For the land-based anglers, Zac Allman put in a few hours on the Grantville Jetty under the cover of darkness on a recent trip and was rewarded with a nice 65cm snapper. As we move further into this month, I’d expect to see reports of elephant fish start to show up from here as well.

Alan Hodges had a sniff around Crawfish Rock and found a nice 4.5kg snapper. Andrew Ketelaar, who I must say has been flat out dominating in recent months, anchored up around Eagle Rock where he found a world class 8kg snapper that was tempted by a fresh squid bait on the change of tide.

It really is such an awesome thing to see when massive snapper are still coming in, well into the new year. The whiting population of the top end seem to be schooling up nicely just outside of the Yaringa Channel. Our old mate Greg Duncan has been taking out a few regulars on his charter boat. After initially working quite hard to find them, he was able to sit the boat on top of a nice patch of healthy Western Port whiting. They weren’t massive fish, with the bigger ones nudging 38cm. They were still a great size to take home for a feed. Mussels and pipis were the best baits.

Some really nice calamari have been cruising around either side of Yaringa, so it always pays to have a couple of squid jigs handy while you are on the look out for some whiting. Dark colours like black and red have been the standouts.

THE NORTH ARM

The north arm of Western Port is where the variety has been and many mixed bags have been had throughout the area. Local legends Kozzi and Huff have been milling around Lysaughts and have left with some of the tastiest mixed bags I have seen in a long while. On most trips they are leaving with a mixture of pinkie snapper, whiting and flathead. In all seriousness, can it get much better than that?

The Middle Spit is where the whiting have been and boy, have they shown up in some great numbers. The local charter boats are all over it and their customers are leaving with smiles almost as big as the whiting! Shaun Furtiere always has his finger on the pulse and the whiting catches I have seen from him are just spectacular.

Pipi, squid and mussels are all whiting favourites and berley is the key. Get the berley pot on the bottom and keep those fish under your boat! Another really handy tip for whiting is the old saying, ‘no run, no fun.’ If there is no tidal flow, the whiting will be hard work!

Hastings has been the other hotspot for a variety of different species. Mitch Bertacchini from Online Fishing Charters has been doing really well on the whiting in the area.

Local anglers Paul and Pat found some really nice whiting held up in 16m of water. Their fish ranged from 35-43cm with a cocktail of prawn and pipi being the best baits.

Chris Preston and John Macleod sat out from Hastings looking for a snapper, but ended up with 15 nice whiting and a beautiful 8kg gummy shark. I would certainly take that over a snapper any day of the week!

Saiychol Peake threw a squid jig around Hanns Inlet and was rewarded with a thumping big calamari in absolutely superb conditions on one of his recent outings.

There’s a quick recap on another massive month in the top end of Western Port. Hopefully, the next month will be even bigger!

Until next month, keep those reports coming and good luck!

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