Winter not wasted at Western Port
  |  First Published: June 2009

The arctic temperatures are finally here keeping many at bay but for those keen enough to brave the elements, the rewards have been plentiful.
Surf a good option

The surf season is just about to hit full swing and with each passing week more and more fish enter the surf zone. For those wanting to get in on the action when boat fishing is not viable, then head to a beach, you won’t be disappointed.

While sifting through recent reports, a trend towards surf fishing has really shown up. Winter on the coast sees salmon making their way into the surf zone, allowing anglers easy access from the shore. Well-known Victorian angler, Brian Rinaldi, ventured up the coast to Golden Beach to search for Australian salmon. Brian located a deep looking gutter and by the end of his session produced some good quality fish ranging 700-800g with one fish weighing 1.2kg. Brian found fishing the last half of the run out tide was most productive with bluebait and pipi working well.

Venus bay has also been producing some good fish on the high tide of late. Mark Otten tried his luck fishing at beach number one; Mark ended his session on a high with 10 salmon ranging 500-800g. Mark also mentioned he saw other anglers catching a few larger fish. Some of Mark’s fish were caught using bluebait but he found the smaller fish responded well when flicking Lazer lures into the wash. Other beaches producing salmon have been Cemetery Beach, Kilcunda and Williamson’s beach. Most commonly fished due to their proximity to Melbourne, all these beaches fire throughout the season.

I headed to Cemetery Beach with good mate Gary Hartley. Setting a berley trail in a deep gutter not too far from the walking track, we managed a few fish in the 300-700g range. Bluebait and pipi produced the goods. The standout beach though, has been Kilcunda. Within the last week of May, few anglers have been reporting a good run of solid fish. Manuel and partner fished early one morning to catch their bag, with fish up to 2kg. Their catch was predominantly taken on bluebait.


Although the surf fishing scene has opened up, those still able to get out in their boats on the port have found good success. I was speaking with Gawaine Blake from Think Big Charters early on in the month and we got chatting about the abundance of gummy sharks in the Port so far this season. Gawaine mentioned that they have been very consistent in the Western Entrance but also had plenty of trips where they caught snapper as a by-catch.

Other anglers are also finding success in similar locations, such as Scott from A’Lure Charters. Scott fished next to Buoy 13 concentrating his efforts on the beginning of the ebb tide. He managed nine snapper to 5kg, four gummy sharks to 4.5kg and six barracouta over 1m in length. Not a bad day when you know which tide to fish. There have also been reports of snapper being caught around Buoy 17 this month. This late run of reds has without doubt been one of the best I can remember.

Anglers Adam and Jason must have had the same thought processes when they headed to Buoy 17 to try their luck. The boys managed a 6kg snapper along with a seven-gill shark of 20kg with were weighed in at Tackle World Cranbourne.

Snapper action

The top end of the Port also saw some snapper action with quite a number of reports coming from the Lysaghts and Warneet regions. Brian thought he’d head out and fished in 7.5m of water off the ‘green sheds’ at Lysaghts. It was obviously a good option because Brian managed a ripper 7kg snapper while fishing during the run out tide. Californian squid was his bait of choice; this fish thought it tasted pretty good also. Not too far from where Brian was fishing another angler, Chris Lednar, also managed a snapper of 4kg. Chris was fishing in 17m of water. The snapper have been fairly wide spread recently as Andres Myers found out while fishing up off Warneet. Andres headed out to 9m of water and managed a nice 5.5kg snapper.

HAIL THE KING george whiting

For many, catching whiting usually begins after the snapper quieten down after Christmas Day. Heading into winter some good catches are still a possibility if you know where to look. Right throughout the winter season, King George whiting are still plentiful. If you are interested in catching some ‘winter’ whiting, you will have to do some travelling! Cat Bay and Flinders are the home of winter whiting, although you may not catch them in large numbers, the quality of the fish is a sight to see. Those that didn’t want to travel too far but still had a go over the usual ‘summer’ grounds, was Peter Jacobs. Peter dropped into Tackle World Cranbourne to tell me of his success while fishing off Tortoise Head.

Fishing the first two hours of the run-out tide, Peter managed 14 magnificent whiting ranging 32-41cm. he found pipi and mussels were the most consistent baits. Paul Coultin also found some nice fish while fishing along the Middle Spit. Paul caught his bag of fish with the largest fish measuring 46cm, that’s a cracker in anybody’s book. Pipis and squid worked best.


“As long as you have a line in the water, you’re in with a chance,” and by that I mean not just catching a fish, but catching anything. Young Bailey Stokes found this to be the case while fishing out from Somers recently. Bailey was out fishing with this family when he caught a saw shark on a pilchard. Not often reported, the saw shark is quite a rare capture in Western Port. The last report I can remember was back in June 2007 when Dave Cussan from the Waverley Anglers reported catching one in Cat Bay. That was the second reported capture for that year.

More than salmon

Heading into winter, things on the surf front are really going to fire up. But don’t let it all revolve around catching salmon. If you can’t get out during the day, there are always night opportunities for gummy sharks. Gunnamatta is the location but check the tides and fish the moons and I might see your glowing torchlight in the distance.

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