Our summer charter season is in full swing and Bass Strait has been firing on all cylinders.
Sharks of all sorts, massive schools of salmon the size of which I have never witnessed before, pinkies galore and lots of tiger flathead have kept anglers and crews very busy. Endless barracouta schools and heaps of arrow squid have made up the bulk of the by-catch.
On the shark scene, good numbers of feisty 20 to 30kg makos, and some much larger specimens, have been active in shallow waters, as have thresher sharks. Our most recent thresher was a mammoth 150kg. Measuring in at almost 4 metres, this shark was taken on a live salmon fished deep in 45 metres of water. It took 1 hour and 40 minutes to subdue on 15kg tackle.
With plenty of boat traffic in Bass Strait lately finding a piece of empty ocean has been a challenge. Even when you do, a few too many other anglers have been sitting in our berley trail. They’d do better berleying well away from other shark fishermen. Keeping shark trails well apart allows for fish to be attracted to both sides of your trail and avoids them getting chopped off by other boats’ trails nearby.
Closer to The Heads, the size and number of salmon schools has been nothing short of amazing! They’ve been a bit finicky at times but slow trolling smaller sized Occy lures around the edges, and flyfishing, have been the most productive methods.
Salmon in these schools vary from under 1kg up to some absolute rippers in the 4kg+ bracket. A number of rat kingfish have also been encountered beneath these salmon schools. Anglers using deep diving minnows or heavy soft plastic lures down deep have done well.
Yellowtail kingfish have also been taken from the near shore reefs, but to date haven’t been as prevalent as last season. Our only encounter was with a fish of 3kg caught on a jigging rod. This fish had plenty of mates with him when raised from 40 metres but as soon as we had landed him another angler hooked and boated a school shark, which spooked the kings.Reads: 520