Mixed bag in Bass Strait
  |  First Published: March 2005

Be prepared!

That’s a useful motto to take heed of at this time of year as fishing in Bass Strait can be full of surprises when all of our game fish species make their annual appearances.

For those fishing the snapper and flathead grounds, plenty of quick visits by thresher and mako sharks have occurred and those who are prepared have taken both species in the 90-120kg bracket.

Warm water has finally come down the coast with 20.8º the best at the time of writing.

Yellowtail kingfish have made fleeting appearances as well; reef systems off Point Lonsdale, Point Nepean and Barwon heads have all seen these 2-4kg rats become short term haunts but you do have to be lucky and prepared to try varying techniques to get them to bite.

Going back to the flathead and snapper fishing, anglers have found some great flathead fishing on days with low swell but if the swell rises, they seem a bit hesitant to feed.

The snapper are going along nicely and the size has increased a little with the better fish going 2.5kg in water depths of 30m or more.

Again gummy shark and school shark numbers have been respectable on the full moons and the ever present seven gill sharks have been haunting most of our snapper reefs and will fall for a large dead bait fished close to the bottom.

Seven gillers are not renowned for their fighting ability but can give anglers a hard time at the boat. Again, be prepared with very sharp gaffs as these critters have the thickest skin of any shark.

For the deepwater fishermen the action has been a little slow. Blue shark can be found but not in the numbers of previous years and it’s a similar scenario for big makos.

The squid and barracouta seem to be a bit shallower than expected. Masses of squid have been found at 35-55m so this may be the best depth to fish at the moment.


As with your terminal hooks, gaffs should be kept needle sharp and checked just prior to gaffing your fish. As a fight comes to its end with a large fish, gaffs are often knocked around in the excitement and a folded down tip can cause you all sorts of problems at crunch time.


1. Mathew Norton with a typical mako from the Bass Strait’s flathead grounds

2. Another snapper from the 35m line

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