In the September issue I touched on the controversial topic of professional fishing within Westernport. Since then I have had several people contact me at Cranbourne Tackle World with dramatically varying opinions. Most people, like myself, weren’t very well informed, so I have managed to speak with some charter operators and a professional fisherman to begin to clear things up.
From December 1, commercial netting will no longer be allowed in Western Port. Some recreational anglers told me they thought professional fishing had been banned from Western Port years ago. Others thought that there were 25–30 full-timers out there. Neither is true. Apparently there are only 5 professional fishermen working on Western Port full time. Effectively this figure is closer to 4, as the operator who works out of Rhyll is not on the water to the same extent as the others. There are, however around 28 other licenses that allow Western Port access – these are reportedly held by Port Phillip professionals.
Some reliable sources, including a couple of local charter operators, feel the most damaging factor is not the current number of pros, but the type of nets used. I am told that all 5 Western Port professionals use mesh nets, which are less damaging than the seine nets often used in other waters.
Next month. I hope to have more detail on professional quotas, licenses, and their access to Port Phillip, and buy back revenue. If you’d like to have your say on the netting issue, please call me at Cranbourne Tackle World on 03 5996 6500, or send me an email to --e-mail address hidden-- if you have anything constructive to add, or questions you’d like answered.
Ten boats fished from Warneet on a recent Friday afternoon. Eight returned with snapper from 5.3kg to a massive 9.6kg! What great fish! Try the top of the long reef between Lysaughts and Eagle Rock, or Joes Island.
John Stuber and some friends managed 100 whiting in 2 trips recently. Most were taken along the Tortoise Head bank.
Staff members Adam and Jarrod fished with Matt Cini and a few others out for a charter to land 82 thumper whiting in Cat Bay. This was one of the best bags I’ve seen in a long time, and it was Adam’s first whiting trip. Talk about spoilt!
Customer Graham Moulder was fishing in Bouchiers Channel recently with some friends and had a rather unusual encounter. As the tide started to flow the guys noticed there were several large garfish, barracouta and squid swimming in the current. They caught a fairly big squid and as they were about to pluck it from the water they spotted a dark shape below. A seal burst out of the water and tried to swallow the squid, which had somehow managed to attach itself to the seal’s head! The two creatures battled for a while, but in the end the seal had calamari for tea. In fact, the hungry seal enjoyed his dinner so much that he actually jumped on the transom of the boat afterwards looking for another feed!
Finally, well respected Fisheries Officer and all round nice guy, Dave Cass, decided to call it a day recently. Dave is a keen recreational fishermen himself, who always worked hard to ensure the sustainability of our beloved pastime. Dave, on behalf of all Victorian fishermen we’d simply like to say thank you.
Some good whiting have been landed in Cat Bay in Western Port recently (photos: Jarrod Day).Reads: 1564