After spending the past seven weeks trampling up and down sand dunes eager to find that secluded gutter in search of salmon, I have been struggling to find where the big fish actually are. Though I have had some good reports filter though, I am confused as to where the fish go when I step foot on a beach.
After looking back on my digital photo album from the previous few years of 2kg plus fish, I can’t explain why this season for me is so poor. To date, I have fished Baxters, Williamsons, Cemetery Beach, Kilcunda, Anzacs and Gunamatta and do you think I could find a fish over 500g?
All I can put it down to is the calm weather not stirring up the beaches, no rain effecting the growth of phytoplankton and the fact there is way too much bait still in Port Phillip Bay and Western Port. Why would the salmon want to leave when there is an abundance of food right on tap in both waterways?
Although most of the Bass beaches may be inconsistent, one that has been a standout has been Venus Bay. Most of the good catches of fish have come from here with Beach Number One the clear standout.
Brian Rinaldi has been sending me regular updates on the goings on around the traps and has been concentrating his efforts further up the coast. Their best session came when fishing at Golden Beach. Both Brian and his son David did very well with many fish up to 1.9kg. Brian found pipis were the most consistent bait but they also caught some fish when throwing Lazer Lures into the surf.
Closer to home and Venus Bay has been the best beach by far for salmon. Many anglers finding good success have caught fish up to 3.5lb on regular occasions. One such angler, Henry, had a great session with his largest fish weighing in at 3.5lb. Henry said he could see huge schools of salmon in the surf and with each cast you caught a fish. Blue and white surf poppers have been very good along with bluebait and pipis the standouts.
Williamson’s beach has also produced some good fish but has also been very inconsistent. One day they are biting and the next they are not. It seems that whenever I hit the sand, they are not. Peter Thomas managed to fish on two occasions when they were on the chew and caught 36 salmon over two days fishing. Many of the fish were around 500g but he did manage one larger fish to 1.2kg that took a blue/white surf popper.
Could it get any colder? This month even a pod of southern right whales and killer whales turned up in the Western Entrance; but best of all where’s the wind?
The hottest reports have come from around Corinella. For some reason, July seemed to switch on, bringing snapper on the chew. Although as a by-catch to the intended species, some outstanding fish were caught. Aaron Sammut, who works at Tackle World Cranbourne was one such angler to encounter some nice snapper while fishing around Corinella with his mate Wayne.
The boys were fishing in 6m of water during the ebb tide, when they managed three snapper of 3.6kg, 4.4kg and 6.2kg. They also caught two gummy sharks around 3kg. Mark Keaveny of Tackle World Cranbourne also found success in the same area. Mark fished with his mate Ash and together the boys caught five gummy sharks to 4kg, four elephant sharks and a 4.5kg snapper. Again the ebb tide was most productive with squid the number one bait.
Still at Corinella and Jason Tabone who has been emailing regular reports has also had excellent success. One on trip he managed a big seven-gilled shark and two good gummy sharks.
On another trip in the Corinella region in late June, Jason fished with his partner Michell. They had a great day out catching and releasing a lot of small gummy sharks, a 4.5kg elephant shark that they also released and a magnificent 9kg gummy shark. What was upsetting though was while cleaning his gummy shark, Jason noticed eight or nine gummy shark carcases on the ground, and on closer inspection they were no more than 40cm long. Fish of this size are illegal to keep, remember the size limit on gummy and school shark is 45cm from last gill to tail wrist. Anything under this MUST be returned to the water.
A little further up from Corinella, Paul Elliot tried his luck near Freemans Point. Paul fished the flood tide and managed another winter snapper weighing 5kg and a number of gummy sharks to 1m.
One location I really enjoy fishing for gummy sharks is the Western Entrance during the winter months. Generally during this time of the year, the gummy fishing here is remarkable, as Ben and Andrea found out while fishing the run-out tide. Fishing with squid baits they each caught a snapper of 4.4kg and 4kg. Two weeks later and Ben fished the same area managing a magnificent gummy shark of 20kg that was weighed in at Tackle World Cranbourne. The fish was taken during the start of the run-out tide and took a fresh piece of snook fillet Ben caught earlier.
I have also received a few reports of some good whiting taken on the Tortoise Head Bank. Most fish have been taken in just 2m of water amongst the weed patches. Just look for the sand holes and cast to them. Bruce managed his bag of whiting in just over an hour; with pipis were the most productive bait.
There has also been some thumping whiting caught in both the Cat Bay and Flinders regions. The largest I have heard of was taken in Cat Bay. It measured 46cm and took a pilchard fillet in 8m of water out from the old jetty. Around Flinders, the fish have still been in the low 40cm range and have been taken near the mussel farm. You may not get a bag of fish but half a dozen has been a good catch. Mick Johnston managed to pick up six good fish in 10m of water. Live Bass yabbies were the downfall of his catch.
I have repeatedly received reports of some really good calamari fishing along the Tyabb and Quail Banks this month. Anchoring and setting baited jigs out the back has been a good technique for the larger squid while simultaneously casting and retrieving artificial jigs about. Clicks 2.0 and 2.5 slow sinking jigs have been working well in the natural brown and tiger camo colours.
So what can we expect next month? I’m sure it’s going to be gummies, gummies and more gummies but you just never know, the snapper could continue to feed. One thing that’s for sure: I’m going fishing.Reads: 2543