The lingering smell of salt in the air and a misty haze that surrounds the coastline tells me we’re in the middle of summer. Not to mention the three snapper and a gummy shark that are in the icebox next to me!
Fishing around the lighthouse reefs can and often does produce just about anything at this time of year. While the snapper have been lining up to take the bait it’s uncommon to come home without a couple of by-catch specimens as well. Species such as morwong, gummy shark, squid, gurnard, flathead and pike seem to make their way in to the boat without much thought when targeting snapper, as do the snapper when targeting gummies. But who’s complaining? Certainly not me.
That’s what makes Apollo Bay such an inviting place to fish in January. Slack water has been the most productive time to dangle a bait and catch a mixed bag while fishing out from Cape Otway, However, when the tide starts running, head closer to shore and give the whiting and flathead a try around Blanket Bay.
Fishing in the sandy channels that line the coast between Blanket Bay and Elliot River with squid or pipis has seen some big King George whiting up to 50cm landed. Fish of this quality put up an excellent fight on light line and will test your skill all the way to the net. If you can’t locate the whiting schools then head out into 35m and drop a pilchard or bluebait to the bottom in search of some flathead.
If your rod keeps getting heavy but when you strike, there is nothing there, then you’ve got squid in the area. Slowly wind them up to the surface and with a bit of luck you can net or gaff them before they let go. If you want a feed of them then simply tie on a squid jig with some extra weight and lower it to the bottom, Retrieve it slowly.
When you’re not targeting them, the first few are a novelty but they become a real pain at this time of year and can make reaching the bottom impossible. Remember that there is a bag limit of 10 squid per person.
Sharks, such as makos, blues and threshers have been another popular target lately. Laying a berley trial in 70m of water should bring around the blues and makos. The threshers are normally caught closer to land.
If you can locate the squid schools while out wide then you are in with a real chance as most sharks have been full of them lately. After capturing a squid, use the head only for bait. Fussy sharks will often take a smaller bait over a larger one if it’s presented well.
If you're stuck on land then don’t worry because there are still plenty of fish to be caught. The whiting are on at Marengo and snapper have been taken of the rocks at Skenes and Orchard Creek. There’s plenty of calamari in the boat harbour too.
Trout and bream have been landed from the Aire River and gummies from the beaches down south.
For all the latest information about fishing around Apollo Bay call Surf-n-Fish on (03) 5237 6426 or drop by for a chat.Reads: 1135