A fish festival!
  |  First Published: February 2009

March in Apollo Bay is famous for its annual music festival, which sees the town over run with visitors each year. If you’re heading into town why not bring the boat?

Awesome boating conditions, along with heaps of fish, have had everyone smiling back at the boat ramp. Massive numbers of flathead are being taken from 35m off Skenes Creek. Some days you would think you were on Port Phillip Bay, with the large number of boats out there catching a feed. Squid baits or soft plastics are the go as they stay on the hook and don't require changing every time a fish is landed. 

I have been chasing King George Whiting from the inshore reefs most nights after work, and can report that they are around in large numbers. The Waterfall Reefs have been the most productive but don't over look the Bumbry Reef, Marengo, Grey River or the Elliot River Reefs. All of my fish have been taken late in the afternoon, as this is the only time I have been out on the water. Other fishers have reported good captures right throughout the day.

Snapper are also around in good numbers out from Cape Otway or Cape Patton. A depth of 45m seems to be a good starting point, although I did get onto a big school in 65m the other day off Cape Otway. So, if you're not having any success keep moving around until you locate a school. Most of the snapper have been around 40cm with the occasional bigger one.

Talking about occasional, Max Cole from Colac landed a beautiful yellowtail kingfish of around 60cm from the lighthouse recently. This is the first one I have witnessed out of Apollo Bay for several years, although every summer you do hear of them being sighted in this area.

 Gummy sharks have been a frequent capture off the lighthouse as well. Slack water is the best time when fishing around the edges of reef in 45m of water. They have been so thick that captures of 10 or more in a session have been common. Please remember, no matter how many you are catching, that the bag limit is only two per person. I often hear stories of people catching 10, 13 or even up to 20 in a day and keeping the lot! This is not on.

Blue and mako sharks have been caught out in 70m plus of water. The good news this year has been that the makos are just as thick out there as the blues. Most of the makos have been around 60kg, which is plenty big enough when fishing from the average trailerboat, although bigger specimens are out there if you dare.

Thresher sharks are also around in large numbers with the flathead fishers reporting plenty of fish lost to hungry sharks. Several have been landed, but plenty more have won their freedom from unprepared and under-gunned flathead anglers. If you plan on targeting threshers, a berley trail in 35m off Skenes Creek with a live bait set down deep and another suspended on the surface is the most productive method.

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