Silly Seasons
  |  First Published: August 2005

Everyone knows that fish have seasons but this year it’s the fish that are having trouble recognising one from the other.

Fishing in Bass Strait has been great, if unusual. Whether this is to do with the very settled and uncharacteristically warm weather and water temperatures or, as some are suggesting, with the tsunami is anyone’s guess but it’s we fishermen who are reaping the benefits.

Central Bass Strait continues to produce sharks in mid-winter. There’s nothing unusual about that but it’s the sheer number of them that has experienced anglers scratching their heads.

Central Bass Strait has seen huge numbers of blue sharks available for those setting constant berley trails in the krill zone. Even makos are still making appearances with some caught as late as July.

Speaking of the ‘krill zone’, in the 15 years I have fished seriously in Bass Strait I have never seen anything like the red corridor of these tiny shrimp. On some days they are clouding the water from top to bottom in 70m of water.

I suspect that this krill is responsible for the arrival of several different species of whales to our inshore waters including orcas, which were spotted along our coastline and even made a foray into Port Phillip Bay.

Apart from the krill numbers, massive schools of frogmouth pilchards and whitebait have given our fish plenty to dine on. The salmon schools just outside the heads are certainly taking advantage of this banquet.

On the bottom fishing side of things snapper continue to be a feasible target in water ranging from 20m to 75m with the better fish nudging 4kg. These fish are also gorging themselves on krill because they have a pink tinge to their flesh.

Some very respectable gummy sharks and reef species such as jackass morwong, nannygai and pike have made up the remainder of catches with an added plus of healthy flathead over the sandier areas.

I would expect the fishing to slow somewhat in August but you never know. The way things have been going, the good catches might continue. If not, we will be in for one hell of a season when it starts, or is that finishes? I’m confused!


Offshore fishermen should keep an eye on the expiry date of their EPIRB and be aware that the old 121/243MHz units will be phased out shortly. The more expensive but more effective 406MHz units will replace them.

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