Well, we’ve come to the end of another calendar year, but we’re right at the peak of our fishing year. The snapper are in full swing in both bays, whiting are about in good numbers, and offshore the makos and blue sharks are making an appearance. Best of all, it’s holiday time!
Whatever type of fishing takes your fancy, now is the time to wet a line. If you are going away on holidays and are planning to do a bit of fishing, have a look around the boat ramps and beaches, ask a few questions and check out what the locals are doing. What local baits work best? What rigs they are using? What areas are they fishing? What fish they are targeting? What are the best times and tides to fish? A little detective work in a fishing area that is new to you could mean the difference between catching a good feed of fish, or none at all.
There haven’t been many reports coming in from the surf beaches as most fishos are out chasing better quality fish such as snapper and whiting. At Kilcunda there have been salmon to 1kg, and Williamsons Beach is producing similar fish. Fishing the top half of the rising tide has been the most productive, and whitebait and bluebait have been the best baits. There are also quite a few mullet about on all surf beaches. Pipis are the best bait for these fish. With the water temperature now warming up, we should see the gummy sharks moving into the surf zone after dark.
Below the bridge there is a bit of everything on the go, which will be good news to holidaymakers. There are whiting and pinky snapper in the Cleland Bight area, while outside the Eastern Entrance, towards The Glasshouse, there are some reasonable flathead and some big barracouta. If you set up a berley trail and put out a couple of shark baits on balloons, you have a good chance of picking up a thresher or mako shark.
Above the Bridge, in the Dickies Bay area, whiting and garfish are about in reasonable numbers. These species can also be found just out from the mouth of the Bass River. The deep water off Rhyll is fishing well too, with snapper to 8kg being taken. The last of the run-out tide is the most productive for snapper and gummies in this area, especially if this occurs just before dark. Fresh barracouta and squid are the top baits.
Both below and above the bridge there are a lot of salmon in the 1–1.5kg range, which are taking a variety of baits.
The Newhaven Jetty is fishing well, with quite a few snapper being taken right on the top of the tide. Fresh squid is the best bait.
The deep water off Cowes, around Buoy 13, has seen some good snapper and gummy sharks on the go. The last of the run-off tide, slack water, and the first bit of the run-in tide are the best times to fish this area. For those chasing the big whiting, Cat Bay is producing some good fish, but you can bag out one day and get nothing the next.
There are still some big calamari about in the Flinders and Point Leo areas, and there are some good whiting too. With the whiting, it’s a case of having to move around until you find them, or sitting in one place and hoping that the fish will come to you. It’s a bit like Cat Bay – you can get into the fish one day and catch nothing the next. If you persist, you will eventually get amongst them.
I would like to wish all you fishos out there a very Happy Christmas and a great New Year! May all your fish be big ones!
Sharks are starting to make an appearance around Phillip Island. Ollie caught this small mako caught off Pyramid Rock.Reads: 449