As Victoria’s blustery winter rolls in, anglers are finding themselves with a tough decision to make; a glass of red in the comfort of the warm lounge room or risking the loss of their left thumb to frostbite on a freezing surf beach. It’s not all doom and gloom; there’s been plenty of big gummies and salmon to 6lb being taken with surprising consistency.
I often see anglers make a simple mistake when chasing salmon in the surf. The question of where to fish seems to take priority over when to fish. The simple fact is Australian salmon can be caught from nearly any Victorian beach, but it is the tide that will usually dictate your success. Many beaches need a flood tide to encourage salmon to enter the surf zone to feed. Kilcunda and Gunnamatta fish well on a high tide when the near shore gutters are fairly deep. Other beaches, like some near Loch Sport, are fairly washy and featureless on high tide. In this case, the ebb tide enables you to cast out to the steep drop off behind the first surf break. Every beach has its own personality so it pays to spend a bit of time learning about your chosen patch of sand.
Last month, I managed only one surf trip and it turned out to be a disaster. Desperate for some gummy action, I headed to Gunnamatta with mates Jarrod Day and Geoff Peterson. The tide was a pretty mediocre high of only 1.1m and the beach looked as though someone had pulled the plug. We persisted with big baits but failed to raise a gummy. The only consolation was a hefty salmon of 6lb that ripped the rod out of the holder after swallowing two 8/0 hooks. What a pig!
The other shark of interest lately has been the seven-gill. This species grows to over 50kg and is regularly encountered in Western Port during May and June. They turn up on surf beaches quite regularly but are usually targeted by boat fishers. Freeman’s Point near Corinella is a known hot spot for the old ‘Mc.Gilla-Gorilla’. Recently, buoy 5 through the fairway buoy in the western entrance has seen plenty. This area has also been packed with some whopper gummies. Matt Cini of Reel Time Charters has kept his customers happy by finding good numbers of both. His biggest gummies last month weighed up to a staggering17kg.
So, what are you waiting for, don the winter woollies and head out in search of some quality fish. It might be cold enough to erect an igloo but the fish don’t seem to mind.
Matt Cini and son with a 3kg gummy from Western Port taken on a salmon fillet.Reads: 646