There is no doubt that January, February and March are the peak of Apollo Bay's ocean fishing season.
With January now behind us and reports for that month at an all time high, one can only wonder how it can get any better.
The flathead fishing has been sensational with large numbers of fish being taken from the 30-40m line right around the coast from Port Campbell to Lorne.
Fish up to 60cm are being caught on fish and squid baits slowly drifted through the strike zone. Thresher sharks have been sighted on numerous occasions in this same area and have been responsible for a few stolen fish as well.
To target the threshers leave a live flathead suspended half way to the bottom on a 15kg game outfit while fishing for flatties on a second rod. The commotion of continuously pulling fish up off the bottom should help attract their attention to your suspended live bait.
Mako sharks have also been sighted in good numbers out in 70m of water but are not always taking the bait. Numerous reports of sharks cruising around the boat but refusing to take the bait have been common.
To improve your odds of the makos eating your offering when this happens, down-size to a pilchard or small fish fillet and feed your bait out of sight of the boat. They will often take a bait that is feed down the berley trail opposed to one that is suspended next to the boat.
Gummy sharks have been another welcome capture with some real heavyweights being caught off Cape Patton and Cape Otway. Fishing the reef edges in 40-50m around the slack water periods of the tide has been very productive. Some large salmon schools have been hanging around Marengo and Wild Dog Beaches which is unusual for this time of year.
Normally the first schools arrive around Easter so let’s hope this means we are in for a bumper season. Trolling metal lures just behind the waves is a good way to locate the schools but once found, I find casting to be a much more productive, visual and fun way of catching fish.
King George whiting are biting well around most of the inshore reefs with some big specimens around the 50cm mark being taken from time to time. The usual hot spots such as Marengo, the waterfall and Bumbary Reef are all firing when the conditions are flat.
Pipis and squid baits fished on running sinker rigs are doing most of the damage.
Don’t forget the Great Ocean Sports festival, Big Catch fishing comp held on the 27 and 28th of this month. Check www.gosportsfestival.com.au for more details.Reads: 7023