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April is all about the whiting
  |  First Published: April 2017



It’s taken a little while, but the whiting have gone bananas! It’s been a patchy season on these fish, but the last month has seen a definite increase in catch rates. As the warmth of summer continues to hang on, I would say that there is plenty left in the tank and these reports should continue for a little while yet.

WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?

Before we get to the whiting there have been a couple of other really interesting things going on. The land-based crews have been doing exceptionally well on the gummies off the beaches and it’s kind of flying under the radar.

Ash McMillan spends quite a bit of time at Stockyard Point and has been rewarded with some really nice gummies over the last month. One of Ash’s better sessions resulted in five gummies in total. Two were kept for a feed and the others released to fight again another day. Well done Ash, I know guys in boats that can’t catch that many in a session!

There have also been quite a few gummies climbing aboard the charter boats too putting in a small session in the deeper water as they wait for the tide to start running in order to catch the whiting. One charter operator is finely tuned to this method, so there’s no downtime for his clients as they wait for the tides to be right for the whiting. Well-played sir!

Now here is a really cool and unusual report: Ben Swift was sitting in 10m of water off the Quail Bank looking for a nice gummy or snapper when the rod took off at 100 miles an hour. Long story short, Ben was left holding a rather large hammerhead shark at the end of the fight. We tend to see a few hammerheads in the port at this time of the year, but nothing in this size class. Unreal capture, Ben!

THE TOP END

There has been an emerging trend this year in Western Port and it will go down as the year of the deeper water whiting. I have been speaking to a few of the local charter boat operators and it’s amazing to hear the stories of how things have changed. Captain Steve Johnston of Ace Fishing Charters has had a funny old year where he has found a lot of fish in places he rarely fishes. If there is one bit of advice I can give, it’s try all of your snapper marks for whiting!

Dave Kennedy has been getting the boat wet up the top end and finding good numbers of whiting on most trips. His most recent trip saw 17 for the day with a healthy average size of 40cm. Pipi and squid have been the best baits for Dave.

When the hammerheads haven’t been around, the Quail Bank has been a great spot for whiting over the season. Kallan Braid-Ball and his old man love this area and it’s pretty clear why. They spend most of their time in 4-7m of water and love the last of the run out tide. The whiting here have been a little bit bigger than what we are used to seeing from the area with 40cm fish common. Whiting Prowler rigs are a killer, as the little pieces of flash on the hooks are enough to get a second bite if you miss them on the first.

THE NORTH ARM

Memorise the Middle Spit. Do yourself a favour and plan a trip to get there, because this is where the magic is really happening. There just seem to be whiting everywhere and it would be a shame to miss out on it.

Mitch Bertacchini from Online Fishing Charters has been spending most of his time here and rarely are his clients leaving disappointed. Even when the fish have been hard work, Mitch has been making plenty of moves and the reward has definitely been in the size. Again, pipi and squid have been the standout baits.

Jedd and Wyatt haven’t been missing out on the Middle Spit action and like Mitch they have found the size of the fish is well above average. On their most recent trip they ended up with seven whiting with the biggest nudging 41cm.

If you want to give the deeper water a go, Hastings is where you want to be. Find the drops on your sounder starting in 10m of water and work those edges. It’s in this kind of water that it’s worth having a nice chunky bait. Decent snapper and gummies are working the same edges.

That’s it for another report from me and I look forward to seeing all of your reports from over the Easter holiday. Good luck and enjoy the break!

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