Each month Western Port seems to be getting better and better.
Is it just that more anglers are fishing or is the Port healthy and more fish are flooding in? At least one thing’s for sure, if you are on the water you are one very happy angler.
The top end has produced some great elephants and gummy sharks. These fish are mostly being taken in Bouchier and Boultins channels.
If whiting are the target, Charring Cross, Gentle Annie and the Tooradin Channel are proving to be the hottest channels to look.
Further down the Port, Middle Spit is living up to its reputation as being the most consistent whiting hot spot. Anglers in droves have fished the spit with excellent results until just recently. Many anglers have recently been in search of other hard-pulling species, but Matt Cini of Reel Time Charters stuck it out and is still finding good bags of fish.
The only difference is that Matt has been fishing in deeper water along the spit and using berley. Most of the fish have ranged between 38-48cm, but on one recent trip a client managed an outstanding 50cm fish.
There have been plenty of elephants in this area over the past few weeks. At this time of year they certainly make their present felt taking nearly every bait placed over the side.
While they have still been easy enough to find this year, their low numbers have disappointed charter operators.
A few years ago catching your bag of elephants was easy, even with the bag limit reduced to just one, charter operators have found them less frequently.
The Rhyll area is fished mostly for elephants, but when Chook Sel and his mate Marko fished around the Corals, they made an unusual capture. The boys were having a relaxing day until Chook wound up a very strange fish: a Cobia.
Though I can remember a Cobia caught in Western Port near Hanns Inlet a few years ago, there was no official proof at the time.
There is no doubt the Western Entrance is the place to fish in Western Port. Gummy sharks of all sorts of sizes are available with some fish more than 30kg being caught.
Gawaine Blake continued on his quest to find the biggest gummy shark in the Port and amongst his tally managed to catch and release plenty of big fish more than 25kg along with countless ones between 12-20kg (all released).
Seven-gill sharks are also about in numbers in the Western Entrance. Paul and Jet Worsteling with friends Tony and Hamish Knight jumped on board with Gawaine Blake recently. The boys were fishing for gummy shark but also managed a whopping big seven-gill around 40kg. Better yet, it was Hamish (aged 11) that hauled the big fish to the boat before releasing it.
The offshore scene has been the best that I can remember. While there were good catches of flathead and gummy sharks, schools of striped tuna have graced our waters.
Anglers made the most of the good conditions to head out in search. Matt Cini from Reel Time charters repeatedly found them, putting his clients on some memorable catches. While most fish were in the 3-4kg range, a few exceptional fish of 5kg were caught.
Anglers were catching the tuna on light tackle, with 2-4kg rods, 2500 series reels and 10lb braid were the ideal setups. The fish were quite fussy in what they were taking as the baitfish they were feeding on were only 50-75mm. White Occy skirts proved to be the downfall of many of the fish but had to be trolled at about 70m behind the boat.
Though targeting tuna was a highlight, Think Big Crew member Richard Greven headed out solo around Flinders Bank, trolling live baits deep for something bigger. While doing so Richard hooked a yellowtail kingfish of 13.7kg.
While the past months reports stood out on the pelagic scene, we can now look forward to the cooler months. Big gummy sharks on the approach to the full moon will be worth targeting, especially down the Western Entrance. Try your luck around Buoys 13, 11 and 5.
Salmon in the surf will become a popular target especially from Kilcunda and Williamsons beaches. These beaches fish best two hours either side of the high tide change and for best results, stake an onion bag to your rod holder and fill with pellets and tuna oil to attract the fish.
Whiting will still be an option but anglers will have to search some deeper water for good results. Cat Bay and Flinders will continue to produce good fish and much larger versions are available from these locations.
We are still in for another snapper run during mid May. My largest snapper taken in Western Port was on 16 May 2006 adjacent to the SP Buoy. On 15 May 2007 I managed a 4kg snapper and on 15 May 2008 I heard of another snapper taken around 5kg in the same area.Reads: 4016