Spoilt for choice
  |  First Published: January 2010

While many families are enjoying holidays, plenty of anglers can’t keep themselves off the water.

The snapper bite slowed down as they decided it was time to spawn, but that didn’t stop anglers from trying their luck in finding some for a summer BBQ.

Silver leaves still continued to produce some good fish but sifting through the pinkies was paramount to catch a bigger fish. Persistence was rewarded. In the top end of the port, snapper to 4kg have been caught. Andrew Ketalar did very well in one session managing two snapper at 4kg, a bag of whiting to 44cm and several gummy sharks ranging 6-12kg.


The switch from snapper to whiting was inevitable. The most popular location has been the Middle Spit with bags of fish ranging from minimum legal length to a whopping 45cm. In close to the Tankerton Pier the whiting have also been of size. Some fish in the deep water have been 40-48cm. They have been biting best on a flood tide with pipi and mussels being best.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR in western port

What I find most difficult about fishing Western Port at this time of year is what to fish for. There is so much on offer that you can really become confused.

There are still a few patches of reef holding some good pinkie snapper. Try fishing locations like Long Reef, Crawfish Rock, the Corals and even around Buoy 11. These locations hold good number of pinkie right up until March.

Fresh baits are the key with a sprinkling of berley used to get them on the chew. Downsize your baits though; using half pilchards, garfish or small strips of calamari will work wonders.

For those looking for something more tasteful on the plate, King George whiting continue to be prolific along the middle spit, Tankerton, outside Hanns Inlet and in Coronet Bay. You can set anchor and if you don’t have any bites within 10 minutes make short moves to the next sand hole. The only problem with this is you may have to lift and lower the anchor many times before finding them tiring you out. Another method is to use a berley blend of mashed pilchards, tuna oil and pellets and place it in a berley pot on the sea floor. With the force of the tide spreading the berley the whiting will find you. A paternoster made tied from 15lb fluorocarbon leader containing two 1/0 KL circle hooks works well.

A little on the heavy side, you will also catch salmon, yakkas, silver trevally and pinkie snapper so the heavier leader will prevent any bust offs. Pipis, mussels and live Bass yabbies are all favourite foods of the whiting but don’t underestimate a fresh tenderised strip of calamari - its dynamite.

Gummies begin to make their presence felt during February as they enter the port in order to breed. Although a lot of fish around 3-8kg are common, larger fish are what we all pursue.

These larger fish can be found in many locations but the hot spots are throughout the Western Entrance from Buoy 15 to the Fairway Buoy. The tide runs hard here so make sure you are able to get anchor before setting any baits.

Other locations include Balnarring, Corinella and of course the top end channels like Boultins and Bouchier. These locations are all best fished on a run out tide with fresh calamari, salmon or trevally fillets. Baits must be set on the bottom and can be done so using a running sinker rig. 80lb leader is recommended, as you’ll most likely encounter a few seven-gill sharks and big stingrays along the way.

Calamari amongst the weed beds on the Quail and Tyabb banks will also be a popular affair. Flinders will continue to produce calamari as well as the weed beds just outside the Cowes boat ramp.

We should also see a trickle of elephants enter the Port any day soon. Be ready if you’re at anchor around Corinella, Reef Island, Coronet Bay, The Corals and Rhyll. Those silver trunk nosed fish will be sure to sniff out a tasty pilchard or squid strip in no time.

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