As another season draws to an end, anglers have been making the most of their fishing opportunities before winter begins. Thankfully, Western Port can be a fairly productive area during May.
While most fish can be found at this time of year, May isn’t the peak time for any particular species. As the water temperature cools and many of our seasonal target species begin to leave the Port, dedicated anglers will find it possible to pick up mixed bags of elephants, whiting, leatherjackets, pinkies, gummies, pike, salmon and squid.
Elephant fish have been around and will slowly leave their shallow spawning grounds in May. Try fishing the southern areas of Western Port, like the corals at Rhyll, to catch a few as they depart. But don’t keep too many of these strange looking ‘cartoon characters’ – they are often overfished.
Whiting and leatherjackets have been taken from the weed patches around McHaffies Reef through to Cat Bay. Big whiting, however, have been scarce with typical catches averaging only 5 or 6 fish. Anglers fishing the top end near Tooradin and Warneet lately have been reporting similar results.
Pinkies have been caught each side of the main channel from near buoy 7 through to the Fairway buoy. The majority of catches have been between 1.5 and 2kg.
I found some pinkies in 12m of water just a few hundred metres west of the Cowes Pier in March that smashed all of my squid strips and pillie cubes. They were so aggressive that we even managed to land a few on small metal jigs using bream gear!
Gummies have been the most reliable catch lately. It will be interesting to see how many big gummy sharks are caught this winter considering the number of monsters that frequented the Port during the summer. Did they arrive six months early or are we going to have two bites at the cherry this year?
Pike and salmon schools have been thick near Cat Bay recently. Cranbourne Fishing Tackle staff member Andrew Hodgens found several schools of jumbo salmon to 5lb busting up right across the western entrance in March.
He managed to catch several thumpers on light gear whilst trolling bibbed lures and casting metal slugs. Most of the fish were released.Reads: 1978