This time of year along the Great Ocean Road is all about big salmon schools, big sharks, big flathead and one little fish with a big reputation – the King George whiting.
While the large schools of salmon tend to draw most attention from passing anglers, there will be a small group of hard-core locals anchored in their tinnies on an isolated inshore reef just waiting for that next finicky bite. These guys give nothing away and protect their secret spots as if their lives depended on it. Why all this for one little fish, I hear you ask?
Because they pull hard and taste like a dish served in a five star restaurant! I love whiting and yes, I'm one of those crazy guys who’ll fish for hours, moving from reef to reef in search of these tasty fish.
Flat seas, clear water and light tackle are all that is required to chase King George whiting. Nothing beats the long drag pulling runs and the first sight of that silver flicker that gives it's identity away when hooked.
The best places to target whiting around Apollo Bay are the Waterfall Reefs, Marengo and the Elliot River. If you’re land-based then try the breakwall, Blanket Bay or the rocks at Marengo. I use a running sinker rig on 6lb line. I like pipis the most although squid, bass yabbies and sandworms also work well. Cast your line to sandy holes or channels that have formed through the reef. The whiting tend to school up in these areas and will respond well to berley, whether from a boat or the shore.
Wild Dog Beach has been fishing well for salmon around nightfall. Some large schools have been sighted offshore too. March is a great time to fish the beaches for salmon. They will take a variety of baits, including whitebait and bluebait. Trolling behind the waves also yields plenty of fish and works best during the day when the fish tend to be out wide. Use metal lures and watch out for breaking waves. Once a fish is hooked simply troll over the same area to keep catching fish.
Blue and mako sharks are still around in good numbers out in 70m of water. Use plenty of berley to bring them around. Fresh barracouta or squid is good bait. If the sharks are refusing to take your bait then try downsizing to a pilchard.
Flathead are being caught in 35m off Skenes Creek and Blanket Bay. Bluebait or squid will do the trick but watch out for the ‘couta because they’ve been in plague proportions and will bite you off if you’re not using a wire trace.
Squid and silver trevally have been taken inside the harbour around high tide. Use light line and plenty of berley to tempt them. Most squid have been taken with orange prawn style squid jigs.
If you’re having trouble landing a fish or just want the latest fishing reports then give me a call at Surf-n-Fish on (03) 5237 6426.Reads: 665