Every four or five years, you manage one season that stands out above all the rest. Well, this season is fast becoming one to keep in the memory bank.
Sure, you have good days some years and some not so good days and these will stick in your mind for whatever reasons, but this season would have to be the most consistent fish producers I can recall for some time.
It’s not just the quantity of fish being taken but more to do with the quality. In previous years a 1.5kg flathead would look massive against the others in the fish bin, but this year fish of this size have just made the bin look fuller.
Snapper are being caught with a regularity that only the best of seasons could match and again their size is up on previous years. Sure there are still plenty of pesky little pinkies around but proven marks such as the Fence Line, Blanket Bay and Cape Pattern have constantly given up fish in excess of 2kg, with a few much larger specimens thrown in as well.
Gummy sharks have been a most welcome by-catch while snapper fishing and not only do they put up a great fight, they taste delicious dipped in batter. Bigger sharks such as blue sharks and mako sharks are being targeted in 70m+ of water and while there have been some slow days, there is still enough of them around to get the blood pumping.
The key to success is keeping the berley as consistent as possible. It’s not the amount you put in the water, it’s keeping an even trail that brings them to your boat. Small amounts regularly, not large amounts every so often.
For anglers targeting trevally and whiting on the inshore reefs, things have been hot and cold. The whiting are not around in large quantities but things should improve in the next month with February and March being prime times to chase them around Apollo Bay and surrounds. The trevally have popped up from time to time and when they are around the fishing has been rewarding.
Soft plastic lures are a great way to target trevally once they have been located. I always keep a packet onboard just in case they show up.
There have been plenty of other fish caught including morwong, pike, squid, gurnard, garfish and salmon and the season so far has been one to remember. In fact, the only time I have heard a bad word spoken about the fishing, it has been along the lines of: “We couldn’t get away from the bloody ’couta, they just kept biting us off!” Or: “Every time I sent a bait to the bottom it would stop half way and I’d have another squid on my line!”. Usually spoken with a hint of sarcasm, one could almost mistake this complaining for someone bragging about the quality of fishing being had.
1. Brandon Cole took this lovely gummy shark on a squid bait while fishing with his farther, Max.
2. Both tiger flathead (left) and sand flathead (right) have been caught in big numbers and sizes.Reads: 547