EVERY week plenty of frustrated people come into the shop telling me how they can’t catch fish but they keep reading or hearing from their mates how they are getting plenty and want to know what they’re doing wrong. After I finish explaining to them there is a huge amount of luck involved and plenty of time on the water I will then go through what they are doing. Often I find the tackle they are using is fine and only small amounts of adjustment is needed to leader lengths or hook and sinker sizes. There is however two major problems I find from most of those who ask with one being they watched the many fishing shows that are now on TV and because they said do it this way it should work.
The one thing many people forget is what they are doing on the show works really well for the area they are in but for the most part won’t work in other areas. I even had a customer that said he was watching a show and they were using virtually no weight at all on their snapper gear, fishing Port Phillip so he decided that was the way to go in Westernport and couldn’t understand why he didn’t even lose a bait for the day. These shows can be very informative you just need to remember to take note of the areas they are fishing and try the ideas they are showing you in your area. Of all the problems I do find the one that stands out more than any other is the amount of people that put very little time into their presentation of their baits. In Westernport Bay it is probably one of the most important things you can do to improve your chances of catching fish.
Especially when using pilchards or strip baits you must make sure your baits aren’t spinning like a top and are rigged correctly for maximum chance of getting a hook up. Another question I get asked a lot is fresh bait mandatory, and while fresh is always best from the reports over the years it is not a must and it’s more about the quality of the bait and burley. Pilchards or squid that has sat in the freezer for a considerable amount of time and are freezer burnt is best put into the burley pot rather than on the hook.
From the very limited opportunities to get out onto the bay fishing this week the reports were very good and the reports from the jetties have continued to be very good. While the quantity might not be there yet it’s the quality of the fish that is making it look like a promising season to come. All we need is the wind to drop and the water to warm up a bit more and there will be plenty of snapper for all. The only problem of course when the conditions improve for the boats the snapper reports seem to drop off from the jetty fishermen.
I had some more reports from Newhaven and Cowes Jetties this week especially from Newhaven where they were regular over the week indicating they are still heading into the bay. The snapper caught from Cowes were a bit bigger and the best from both jetties were caught at night over the change of tide. During the day there were several pinkies caught at Newhaven with many too small and thrown back. The best reported from Newhaven was 3.8kg and 4.4kg from Cowes both by anglers down from Melbourne. Although the reports were good the snapper aren’t just jumping on the hook and I have had plenty of customers that haven’t even lost a bait. Pilchards and squid the best with a few having success on saury and plenty of time sitting waiting.
From the boats the reports were spread around the bay with no real pattern to when or where and many customers have thrown the diary out and just gone fishing. I had reports from the usual channels and from the corals but also reports from the shallows near Coronet Bay on the mud already. There were a couple of exceptions but almost every report came from anglers that sounded up fish, anchored, burley and waited often sitting for a couple of hours then having the snapper come on and off in a half hour period. Like the jetties pilchards and squid the best of the baits.
Calamari reports were the best they have been for a few weeks but still not as good as you would expect.
Exactly why is anybody’s guess but all the fresh water flowing out of the Bass River could be one place to start.
The other problem has been all the fine weed or grass around at the moment making using jigs difficult as they seem to attract the weed like a magnet. Those who were able to drift in Cleeland Bight did the best on the calamari and said as they went over cleaner patches of water caught them. The white coloured artificial jigs did the best by far and most in the boats struggled with the baited jigs. It was the same from the jetty at San Remo with the baited jigs picking up weed very quickly but it was the opposite off the beach in Cleeland Bight where the reports I did get all came from those using baited jigs and not complaining of much weed.
Whiting reports still haven’t hit any sort of high with very few putting in a lot of effort to target them with wind and water conditions hardly suitable. There were some whiting reported during the week but only a few from the San Remo side and most came from around tortoise head. Some of the Whiting caught around San Remo were good quality at around the 40cm and came from the edge of the bank near the top light with a couple from Cleeland Bight and Maggie Shoal as well.
WONTHAGGI legend Lex Milkins has been fishing the local waters for the last 60 years or so and reckons he has seen most things. Through the week however there was something new yet again. He was trying his luck in a local river looking for whatever might come along. He had two rods out a fair distance apart when one took off and headed towards the other. He picked up one rod, which had a fish while the other one was still going crazy. After a long battle Lex landed a very nice bream but there was more. As he pulled the fish out of the water he could see that his other line was also in the fish’s mouth. The hungry one had swallowed both baits and escape was out of the question.
Surf: Salmon have been the main catch through the week as to be expected. Tony Briggs and a crew decided to try their luck off the beach at Williamsons and arrived at the run-in tided where there were a few other hopefuls trying their luck. Tony said that they were soon into the fish and in fairly short time had quite a reasonable bag of the torpedo fish that were all around the 1.5kg mark. Tony said that the others apart from their crew were casting out as far as possible for no results and he reasoned that closer in might be worth a try.
This turned out to be the right move and learnt a valuable lesson in that the fish will quite often be found close into shore.
Inverloch: There has been concern as far as the sand bars are concerned and it would be a good idea for those not familiar with the area to contact authorities before heading out. Having said that there have been good numbers of tiger flathead being bagged on both sides of the tides. Whiting have also been in quite reasonable numbers where 36 cm specimens are making the efforts worth the effort. Mahers Landing has been productive as has been the case for some time. The run-out tide has been productive where silvers, salmon, mullet are taking a variety of presentations. The run-in tide has been worth a visit where gummies have been taking pilchards. In front of the ‘A’ frame house there have been silvers, flathead and salmon being bagged. Visiting angler Colin Edwards and a couple of mates put in from the boat ramp at Mahers Landing and headed up towards the area known as the double islands.
They arrived about halfway down the run off tide and were quickly into a variety of fish which included silvers, mullet, flathead and salmon. In all they finished with a very impressive bag of fish that were caught on pipis and squid and were having such a great time they didn’t notice that they were running out of water, which usually happens around this part off the inlet. They decided to make for home while there was still time and just avoided becoming grounded in the shallow water but were happy with their efforts. For those who know where to look there have been quite good numbers of perch being caught on a variety of presentations with sand worms and pipis proving to be a very effective combination.
Shallow Inlet: When there has been a break in the weather, which has not been often, there has been very good numbers of mullet being caught on both sides of the tide. They have been caught in the traditional manner on small baits along with silvers, salmon and flathead. The water temperature is still on the cold side but there has still been some whiting being caught but it would be fair to say that there is still plenty of water mixed in with them.
Port Welshpool: Information from the boat storage is that the wintery conditions have kept most boaters off the water. There haven’t been any reports from outside the entrance. In Singapore Deep there have been a few flathead making the effort just worthwhile but plenty of skunk sharks that never seem to know when they’re not wanted. The jetties have been giving up very good numbers of mullet where the best results have been mainly on the run in tide.
Port Albert: The weather like most other places in this part of the world has not been very suitable as far as fishing is concerned. There have however been a few reports and according to the local publican Josh Dessent the jetty has been worth a visit. This is where local legend “Boot Boot” landed a very good size gurnard, which gave him bragging rights at the local hotel for the time being. Josh also says that gummies have been caught in fairly good numbers in the snake channel along with a sprinkling of flathead.
Keep the fishing info coming to King George on email@example.com or 56 7623 474. Good Luck and Tightlines.