As a keen Western Port angler, I look forward to times of stable warm weather and a variety of quality fish to target. Thankfully, February provides all this and more. There have been so many fantastic captures in Westernport recently, I just don’t know where to begin. Fishing for most species has been exceptionally good and many of our favourite locations have been extremely productive.
The offshore scene has been running hot lately, with plenty of blue and mako sharks being taken. The water temperature has varied greatly as our offshore currents swing and change from week to week. Most anglers have found success in water 17oC and warmer. Regular customer Andrew Cleary did extremely well while fishing for makos last month. He managed to land a total of eight sharks (five blues and three makos). Most sharks were landed on tuna fillet and squid. The biggest mako weighed in at just over 50kg cleaned, a very respectable fish for a first time effort. Well-done mate!
Staff member Jarrod Day also got amongst the mako action, landing a 25kg rocket on a snapper reel loaded with 30lb Fins braid. This shark ate a ‘butterflied’ mullet that was cast to it while was swimming in the berley trail.
Another staff member Andrew Fallon had a mako encounter of a very serious nature. Fishing in 50m of water out off the eastern entrance, Andrew hooked a mako of around 150kg. He had been fighting the fish for around 20 minutes when it leapt from the water, cartwheeling through the air. Not long afterwards, the shark’s abrasive skin wore through Andrew’s 300lb wind-on leader.
I recently fished with staff member Vicki, and friends Keith and Shaun in 70m of water out from the western entrance. Unfortunately the makos were scarce and we only turned up a few blue sharks to 25kg. We did however manage to find a great bag of tiger flathead to an impressive 74cm. The flatties were thick on the sandy bottom often coming up two at a time. Later we found a monstrous school of arrow squid just off the bottom in 65m of water. We managed 32 arrows to 1.4kg. These have already made some fantastic calamari rings and gummy baits.
I used my freshly caught arrow squid heads the following week, in 8m of water halfway down Boultons Channel. I timed the session around the low tide change, which is usually the most productive time in this area. I managed eight gummies for the trip, all around the 6-7kg mark, plus five school sharks to 6kg. I was also bitten off three times, which is typical of the larger school sharks often encountered in the same area. One bite-off was on a 9/0 circle hook baited with a King George whiting head on 130lb line!
Patrick Neidhart managed to hook one of Western Port’s better quality school sharks while fishing near the Fairway Buoy. The schoolie weighed 16kg and ate a fresh salmon fillet. Schoolies are notoriously hard to hook as they shy away from wire traces and often sever the heaviest monofilament leaders with their razor sharp teeth.
Last month, a fantastic mulloway was taken out from Corinella near Elizabeth Island. The lucky angler, Nick Hore, nailed the 14kg jewie on a frozen Californian squid during the high tide change. This area seems to be a regular producer of big jewies and the action should improve during February and March. Last year several jewies were caught over this period, many of them in water shallower than 6m. From examining mulloway stomach contents, it seems that they are quite partial to a feed of flounder. This gives keen anglers a great starting point, try fishing the drop-offs near shallow mud flats, which are likely flounder spots.
Warneet has often been a popular spot for land-based anglers wanting to catch a few fish close to home. The holiday period often sees novice fishermen targeting mullet and trevally from this iconic angling location. I caught up with customers Nathan and Brooke at Cranbourne Fishing Tackle, who were preparing to chase a few trevally. The pair used ‘super berley’ soaked in tuna oil and to their delight managed to hook two trevally of 24 and 37cm on bluebait.
Customer Kelly found herself in a similar situation and was helped out by staff member Vicki. The girls planned Kelly’s assault on the local trevally population and rigged an Owner Mutu light circle hook with bluebait. Kelly landed her first ever fish, a whopping trevally of 40 cm.
Hope to see you on the water.Reads: 1901