This month we profile another Western Port pier that can provide some great land-based action for anglers without a boat. Corinella is around on the far side of the port for Melbourne-based anglers, but it’s worth the drive to access the diverse range of species available.
Corinella Pier is a sturdy platform made from concrete and wood. At the end of the pier, the structure takes a right hand turn and runs parallel to the shore for around 20m before leading down onto a lower platform. There is a second platform on the protected inside of this right angle.
When wet, the wood section at the end of the pier can be slippery and care must be taken. Fishing from the end of pier provides anglers with access into the channel. Some of the best fishing can be had from the lower platform, which is much closer to the water.
Anglers need to fish either the left or right hand side depending on which way the tide is running. Strong northeasterly and southeasterly winds make fishing difficult while a direct easterly shelters the pier from the wind. The channel is within casting distance averages 5m in depth and has a mostly mud and sand bottom.
Around 500m to the left of the pier is a rock platform known as Settlement Point, where many anglers can catch a variety of species. Off Settlement Point the bottom is mostly reef but must be fished on a low, run-in tide.
Flathead are a bottom dwelling species, therefore a running sinker rig is ideal. A mainline of 10lb is adequate, with braided fishing lines being less affected by the pressure of the current. Leader should be at least 20lb if pinky snapper are around. Flathead prefer smelly baits such as bluebait or prawns but they will eat virtually anything tossed into the water. Suicide or circle hook patterns in sizes ranging 1 to 1/0 are suitable.
The most versatile rig when salmon fishing is the paternoster rig. The paternoster has two droppers that allow for two hooks to be used. Size 1 baitkeeper hooks will suffice or alternatively a size 2/0 suicide pattern. Tie the rig from a fluorocarbon leader of around 10lb breaking strain.
Some anglers choose to use a pre-rigged wire paternoster that can be purchased from most tackle shops. If you are using one of this rigs, I suggest you still use fluorocarbon leader tied between the wire droppers and the hooks. Best baits are pipis or small strips of pilchard. If you want to attract numbers of salmon then using a fine fishy berley is the key.
When using berley from the pier, barracouta quite often move in on the offerings. Often anglers don’t realise barracouta are around until they get a bite only to then find their hook has been bitten off. Pre-tied paternoster rigs made from wire are ideal if you want to target barracouta. Hooks of size 2-6 in a long-shanked pattern will prevent some bite offs if using monofilament leaders. When using wire, any style hook will do but keep them small (size 6 to 1/0). Small pilchard fillets will be snapped up quickly. Anglers can also toss around small lazer lures to find success.
During the warmer months, silver trevally can be targeted alongside the Corinella pier. They often congregate under the pylons and can be hard to catch. A paternoster rig made from 10lb fluorocarbon with size 8 long-shanked hooks work the best. Berley must be used along the side of the pier to coax them out from their cover. Often they dart back into the pylons after being hooked so a 2m lightly tapered rod is recommended. Favourite baits are pipis and mussels.
One of the tastiest fish in Western Port is the King George whiting. To catch them, fish the first two hours of the run-out tide on the left hand side of the pier. Make your casts about 5m out, and use berley to attract them to the pier. They prefer soft pipi or mussel baits placed on a paternoster rig with red beads or tubing above the hook. Long-shanked hooks work well in size 8 or a KL 1/0 circle hook.
During the annual elephant fish migration (February to May), anglers fishing from Corinella Pier encounter elephants. A mainline of 20lb is adequate with 20lb leader also ideal. Small baits such as pilchard pieces, squid strips and pipis are preferred. Elephants have only small mouths so a 3/0 KL circle hook works best. Cast directly out into the channel and wait. If the elephants are around it shouldn’t take long to get a hook up. Berley can be used but your baits will often be eaten by flathead.
Anglers in search of gummies can cast large baits out into the channel. A running sinker rig is recommended as gummy sharks feed along the sea floor. Mainlines should be quite strong, around the 20lb mark, with leaders of either 60 or 80lb. KL 6/0 circle hooks or Wasabi 6/0 suicide patterns are beneficial when gummy fishing. Gummies like oily baits so calamari, salmon fillets, tuna fillets, cured eel fillets, or even the humble pilchard work best.
As with all pier fishing, berley is very important at Corinella to attract fish to your fishing position. The most productive technique when using berley is to use a small berley bucket and fill it with your berley mixture. Hang it from the pier on the surface of the water and cast your baits 5m in front of it. Your targeted species will search for the food source and find your baits.
One of the most highly-prized species of Western Port is the mulloway. Anglers fishing during the night on the lead up to the full moon do lock horns with these brutal fish but many battles result in bust-offs. Drag settings, good knots and good quality fishing line must all be inspected if you want to land one.
Fresh baits are best, such as calamari or fish fillets, although for best results use live mullet or salmon. Most anglers targeting mulloway do so using a running sinker rig. 7/0 live bait hooks work well when livebaiting or if using a dead bait a single 7/0 suicide hook will suffice. If sea lice are a problem, place your sinker on a 60cm dropper to keep the bait elevated off the bottom.
Most species bite better around a tide change so it is recommended you fish two hours either side of slack water. A high tide is preferred but low tide can still be productive.
NEAREST TACKLE OUTLETS
Corinella General Store, Smythe St, Corinella (03) 5678 0245
Shimano World Berwick, 518-552 Princess Highway, Berwick 3806 (03) 9704 2200
Cranbourne Tackle World, 270 South Gippsland Hwy, Cranbourne 3977 (03) 5996 6500
Grantville BP Service Station, Bass Highway, Grantville 3984 (03) 5678 8545
Flathead, salmon, barracouta, King George whiting, trevally, elephant fish and gummy shark.
From Melbourne, get onto the Monash Freeway and follow it to the South Gippsland Highway turnoff. Follow the South Gippsland Highway to the Corinella turnoff (on the right). Follow this road until the T intersection and turn left into Smythe St, follow Smythe St and turn right into Peters St. Park at the base of the pier (Melways reference 612 Q10).