October is a fantastic month to fish in Western Port. Most seasonal species have made their migrations along the Victorian coastline to spend the summer months feeding and preparing to spawn in the Port’s warm, sheltered waters.
Three of our favourite target species are here for that very reason. Snapper, squid and whiting are all preparing to mate to ensure that future generations of their species survive. Their concentrated numbers and willingness to feed, make them easy targets for anglers who want to catch a tasty dinner. Unfortunately, these congregations are susceptible to overfishing. With the added pressure of increasing numbers of anglers and more sophisticated technology being used, I start to think that the fish don’t have a chance. I’m not a crazed, tree hugging greenie, simply a thoughtful angler looking to the future. Keep a few fish for tea, but please don’t be one of the careless minority who seem to think that the ocean’s fish stocks are endless – they’re not!
The AFL grand final weekend traditionally marks the start of the long awaited snapper season. The tea trees of the Mornington come into flower signifying the arrival of our most prized quarry Christopherus aratus.
Quality reds will filter throughout the port, even travelling as far as the upper reaches of Bouchers Channel and Stockyard Point, Lang Lang.
Early season marks such as the channel drop-offs in the western entrance from McHaffies Reef to the Fairway buoy are well worth trying. The current runs hard here, so heavy sinkers and leader of around 60lb may be necessary. In deep, fast flowing water such as this, braided fishing lines help to reduce drag, as they have a much thinner diameter than traditional monofilament. These ‘super lines’ also increase your bite detection as they have a very low stretch factor.
Cranbourne Fishing Tackle has just imported some new braid from Owner. For some time, anglers have enjoyed using Owner’s Nitlon fluorocarbon for almost every fish species from bream to marlin.
Big calamari have taken up residence in the weed beds throughout the port. They prefer this terrain as it provides them with shelter and a place to ambush small fish as they swim past. They will often attack pilchard and silver whiting baits intended for snapper, leaving ‘V’ shaped cuts behind the head of the bait. It pays to have a handline with a squid jig tied on it ready for these times, as you will rarely hook them on snapper gear.
When targeting squid specifically, look for weed patches with plenty of broken ground. Areas such as Lysaughts (near buoy 35) and the bank between Stony Point and Hastings offer prime squidding territory. The home of the biggest squid is the shallow weed beds of Flinders.
Drifting is a great way to find squid, but unfortunately Western Port’s tidal flow doesn’t often allow this luxury. Anchor up current of the intended weed bed and float prawn imitations or baited jigs back at different depths.
Charter operator Glen Harvey is predicting a big year for King George whiting. Many anglers would recognise Glen’s name from his previous charter venture Adrenalin Fishing Charters. Glen has decided to sell his modern, aluminium Shark Cat and trade it in for a more traditional fishing vessel. The new boat is a 35ft timber, carval hull double ender called Spina. She was built in the 1920s at Stony Point, and has spent her entire life on Western Port. Her refurbishment, including new electronics and neat paint job are nearly complete. She is a stable, quiet and comfortable vessel ideal for groups of up to 10 anglers to enjoy relaxed fishing trips out from Warneet. Glen will skipper his boat under the name of Classic Fishing Charters and is contactable on 0417 332 533.Reads: 1143