Surf Action Heats Up
  |  First Published: May 2010

With the dark clouds overhead and strong winds preventing many anglers from getting out in their boats, hitting the surf beaches for some early season salmon action is proving to be a great option while schools of medium sized salmon infiltrate the beaches.

The surf fishing is on its way to fire up tremendously this month with plenty of smaller fish already on the beaches. One of the hottest locations is sure to be Kilcunda as it is the most popular beach along this stretch of coast.

In May most fish were in the 200-500g bracket, the cooler approaching weather will see larger fish move into these areas. Kilcunda has some prolific deep gutters and holds good quantities of fish throughout the season, just try to avoid it during a westerly as the beach could become weedy.

For those in search of larger fish along the Bass Coast, stick to Williamsons in Wonthaggi if you can endure the hike in. While it isn’t as bad as some, the gutters at Williamsons are very deep and always produce some of the largest fish caught in the surf all season.

Anglers will still need to berley to keep the fish in their fishing area and can do this with an onion bag full of fish pellets tied to their rod holders and left to wash around in the wash.

The smaller fish have really spread out but are still good fun to practice on until the larger ones appear.

Brian Rinaldi kicked of his season with a spot of fishing at Cape Woolamai. Fishing in the gutter to the right of the surf life saving club, Brian found the salmon in good numbers with the largest weighing around the kilo mark. Pipi and bluebait were the favoured baits.


While the surf fishing was on the increase, those finding options within the Port were well rewarded. The influx of elephants continued and many anglers couldn’t escape them.

Rhyll, known for being a top location, kept up its reputation and provided anglers with plenty of light tackle entertainment.

Robin Gray from Peninsula and Western Port Fishing Charters put his clients onto many memorable fish catching and releasing elephants in fairly good numbers. Robin, who spends most of his time fishing for them out from Observation Point, had no trouble finding elephants in Gardners Channel and near Elizabeth Island also.

Though the season was consistent, Robin did say last season was much more productive.

What is best about the elephants is the younger generation get the chance to hone their skills at fishing and always come up trumps with a cracker fish on the end of their lines.

Mitch Whaley decided to get his three-year-old son into fishing and took him out on the elephants. They had a ball together catching and releasing three elephants, a snapper, three gummy sharks and a pike.

Heading into June, the elephants are becoming very scarce now and by the end of the month, I’d be very surprised if I get another report.


Although elephants are a hot topic during this time of year, winter gummy sharks become a more sought after species. Anglers will have to contend with the by-catch of elephants while fishing for gummies but there are some great fish over the 10kg mark around.

Regular customer of Tackle World Cranbourne Daz put in the hours searching out mulloway around Corinella. Although he didn’t hook into one, he did manage some decent gummies to 1.2m in length, a snapper of 4.5kg and a 1.5m seven-gill shark that was released.

Although there are quite a good number of gummies being caught, they are spread out considerably. Though it may have been an accidental catch it was still the highlight of the month. Shaun Burris decided to fish the top end of the Port in Bouchiers Channel in search of gummy sharks. Using eel fillet to coax one to his hook, to Shaun’s surprise, managed a whopping 20kg mulloway.

Wayne and his mate Scott also tried their luck fishing out from Warneet in the deeper water. While the boys were using fresh calamari for bait, one of their rods loaded. Wayne, thinking it was just a stingray, let Scott take the rod and r a 20-minute battle revealed a magnificent gummy shark weighing 21.7kg.

Gawaine Blake from Think Big Charters also had plenty of good sessions with his clients in the Western Entrance and outside Hastings. Most of his catch were released with fish over the 12kg mark.

The Western Entrance continued to be the place to be if you were after a good gummy as Joseph Fernand found out while fishing with his mate Sean. The boys fished the low to high tide change to manage two gummies around the 12kg Mark. Both fish were taken on fresh calamari caught from Mt Martha Rocks.

I also received a good report from the Balnarring area from Travis Allan. Travis managed two gummies to 10kg in one session, both fish took fresh calamari baits. Travis then headed out the following day and caught another 10kg gummy from the same location.

As the month grew on, a few more gummy sharks were caught, one of which was caught and released by Neil Breward. The fish was somewhere in the 20kg bracket, but Neil was more than happy to see the big girl swim off after an arm wrenching battle.


Those in search of King George whiting had to work quite hard to find them in numbers. Many of the charter boats put in the long hours still managing a good catch of whiting but were only finding a few on each drop. The middle spit still had good fish along it, although anglers had to fish a little deeper than usual.

The drop-off in 5m of water proved the place to be, especially when using a berley blend. Paul Barnett did exactly that and managed 18 fish while fishing near the cut one morning. Paul said there were a lot of small fish in the area but he kept only the bigger ones for the table.

Another location that did fish well was the forever-faithful Tortoise Head. This location always fishes well on the last two hours of the flood tide and for those that get their timing correct find whiting in good numbers. Again, berley is the secret to success and a pipi/squid cocktail bait can prove to be deadly.


The surf fishing scene is the talk of the table in coming weeks and with expectation high, this style of fishing should be explored. The simplest method is to use a paternoster rig with 1/0 bait holder hook on the top dropper and size 10 long shank on the bottom. This way, you can thread on a bluebait to the top and pipi to the bottom to catch salmon and mullet simultaneously.

Berley will also be an effective method. Inside Western Port, keep your eyes peeled for the fishing reports. Winter gummies are sure to be a big hit and those fishing the Western Entrance will come into contact with the larger versions.

Still, silver trevally are an option around the Corals at Rhyll and for those that can’t stop fishing for whiting, change your tactics and explore Cat Bay.

This is the home of big whiting and you’re in with a very good chance at one over the 50cm mark.

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