An early start to the season has seen a steady increase in water temperature and judging by the influx of bait species it looks like we’re up for a great summer.
The calamari are in plague proportions with many anglers landing squid to a whopping 3kg! Land-based locations like Flinders Pier and Stony Point Pier have been worth a look, particularly on the last half of the flood tide.
I’ve been lucky enough to sneak out for a few squid sessions and have had success at McHaffies Reef and Sandstone Island. Artificial jigs in the larger sizes are best for these super cephalopods with shrimp hunters in the 4.0s the norm.
Other baits species worth chasing include the salmon schools seen busting up near Tortoise Heads. Trolling small bibbed minnows or metal lures is a great way to find salmon and barracouta. Your efforts here will be rewarded, too, as salmon, ’couta and squid all make fantastic snapper bait.
Speaking of snapper, wasn’t it an unusual start for the reds? As the wind blew hard, anglers were forced to abandon their regular early season marks near the western entrance. Most boats opted for the shelter of Eagle Rock or Hastings and, to our surprise, the snapper were already there! Fish of 3-4kg were common and bigger reds to 11.5kg were taken on pillies, squid and sauries.
Land-based anglers have been able to get among the reds, too, with Cowes Pier producing snapper to 3.5kg. Try a tide change on sunrise/sunset, which brings the fish into casting distance.
During December we should see more snapper being caught near Buoy 13 and Stony Point. The upper reaches of the port near Joes Island and Boultons Channel will also be worth fishing for snapper and gummies. Try to find the drop-offs where the fish will congregate on the ebb tide. The rapidly receding water forces the target species off the mudflats, where they feed on high-tide, into the nearest drop-off or channel mouth. Spring lows fish well in the top third of Western Port for this reason.
The first decent whiting reports appeared during mid-October. Dickies Bay was the place to be. Like me, whiting seem to pack on a bit of weight during the cold months but these ‘winter fish’ were seriously late. Summer should also see their numbers increase.
A great red taken from Western Port recently. Fish like this are around for those willing to put in the time.Reads: 1222