Hopefuls try their luck off the Inverloch jetty last Sunday.
By King George
Through the week a reader of this column contacted King George asking about gummy sharks and their habitat.
Gummy sharks are born (around December) at 30-35cm long and reach a length of around 175cm.
The record for an Australian fish is 23.900kg.
The best of the baits are crab, garfish, pilchard, squid, pipis and fresh fish fillets.
They are found mainly in temperate waters from around Port Stephens NSW to around Geraldton in WA. They are also found in Tasmania.
They can be found mainly on the bottom of the ocean on deep offshore waters but can also be caught in shallow areas close to land.
The best tackle is 6kg to 10kg with 1/0 – 5/0 hooks where a Patternoster running rig is good for beach, rock or boat fishing.
They are often found in small schools composed predominantly of one sex and size group. They are more active at night and are harmless.
Early in the week there was an early break in the good weather conditions and as to be expected the boating numbers were way down as were the land-based anglers.
However there have been very good numbers of salmon caught to the 1kg mark as well as silvers, squid and reasonable size flathead even though the water has been muddy in places, especially near the banks on the run off tides.
Boaters are having success with soft plastics where they are catching good size flathead that are waiting for fish coming off the mud banks to escape the falling water.
The water temperatures should continue to rise as a result of the warmer weather with more boaters and land-based anglers trying their luck.
Mahers Landing can usually be found to have plenty of boaters feeling confident and over the weekend they have been rewarded with good numbers of mullet, silvers, flathead and a few reasonable size gummies that are making efforts well worthwhile.
As the water has cleaned up somewhat the fishing in this area has been on the improve where pinkies, flathead, silvers, mullet and the occasional coutta are being bagged.
There has been an increasing sprinkling of good size whiting being caught inside the entrance by boaters.
It would be fair to say that they are biggest just inside the entrance and even better around the area known as the snags.
King George warns inexperienced boaters of the perils of dicing with the entrance, as the water is very shallow and dangerous.
They should always take an experienced operator with them until becoming familiar with the hazards of this dangerous water.
The snags area has fast flowing water and is best fished when the current is gentle.
This is at both sides of high and low water but if still you are not sure try someplace else, as taking risks on the water is just not worth the reward.
Outside the entrance there have been very good numbers of whiting being caught close into the shore where, locals who know the area have caught fish to the 50cm mark.
Bass yabbies, silver fish, squid and pipis have been among the best of the presentations.
The newly renovated jetty is very popular with land-based anglers where at times there can be a fair wait between enquiries.
Every so often a school of big mullet pay the area a visit as well as salmon and when this happens then the long waits are forgotten and the action is fast and furious.
Just about anything on a hook will be eaten and then things will return to normal but that’s fishing.
There have been numerous reports of perch being caught from the highway bridge to the rock bank that have been taken on Bass yabbies and soft plastic lures.
There have also been mullet and silvers complementing reasonable bags where the run out tide has been the most productive time of the tide.
The fishing has been fairly quiet and probably due in part to the local football finals.
The water temperature is still down to the winter levels but that should all change shortly when the so-called summer fish will make an appearance.
Whiting will no doubt be first as the fish of choice to the 50cm mark along with very good size snapper, and silvers.
There are very good size salmon being bagged to the 4kg mark but they are usually much better on the table around the 1kg mark. They tend to have a more bland taste as the size increased but they are also very good baits for other fish.
Of course there is nothing wrong with silvers that are great on the table and boats can be launched from both sides of the inlet. For the benefit of those not familiar with this area there are no constructed boat ramps but they can be launched on the firm sand but local advice should be sought as there are soft patches that can be a trap, especially on the Yanakie side.
Information from the boat storage is that there have been very good size squid being caught both inside and outside the entrance.
There have also been quite a few positive reports of good size flathead that are taking the usual baits and the jetties are also well worth a visit as the conditions continue to improve with the water temperature on the rise.
Local streams have also been very productive where perch are making the effort worthwhile along with mullet and silvers.
The local jetties are starting to make a visit well worthwhile where flathead are in very good numbers.
Silvers, mullet and eels are making for some entertainment where they are taking a variety of baits.
Outside the entrance there are quality flathead and gummies being caught in around 20 metres of water where local legend Jeff Lipscombe is looking forward to a very good summer season.
Making a daybreak start from Queenscliff on Saturday, Robert Rizzo and Des Fielder first caught several squid for bait in the Lonsdale Bight before heading out through Port Phillip Heads in search of serious table fare.
Beginning a drift in 40 metres or so, they soon had several respectable flathead along with a gurnard or two, but it wasn’t until around 11am that they hooked their first decent fish, a gummy shark of about 8kg. After that though, their luck changed.
The squid they’d caught had been used up by this time, but there were still plenty of flathead, fillets from which came another three gummy sharks and several small seven-gillers.
Mike Windsor of Clifton Springs Boat Hire reports that neighbour Luke Hurley took a run out off Barwon Heads into 40 metres of water at the weekend where he caught two large snapper – one of 8.4kg and another of 5.4kg using Barracouta for bait.
Mike also reports that squid are still a strong presence off the Springs, both out deep – as shown by Steve Armstrong who struck a good patch near the No 5 channel marker – and close in by Hugh Mc Keegan and Mitchell McGuire.
Flathead remain the main chance though and among those to catch them were Steve and Hanna Frilay.
Rod Ludlow of Beachlea Boat Hire also reports that squid and flathead dominated catches around the Bellarine Peninsula, both during the week and over the weekend.
Thanks to Geoff Wilson for this report.
From the rock wall and up passed The Narrows to Fraser Island for a mixed bag of fish. Still plenty of juvenile fish about the town jetties.
The surf is good for salmon taking poppers, pilchard and metal lures.
Offshore for pinkies, Flathead and Morwong.
Mill Point is producing bream, which are taking prawn. Plenty of juvenile fish being caught and released.
The entrance is still open with salmon being caught on the beach.
Boat Ramp 2 and Mud Island have some trevally about.
Grassy Banks to The Cut and up to Two Bells has been good for bream and the odd perch. Best baits are prawn and spider crab. Plenty of fresh water is coming down the River.
There is the possibility of the odd trout coming down with the fresh water.
Rough Road to Punthouse Point and heading down to the Three Gums have been good places for bream. The baits of choice are cured worm and prawn. Also try the mouth of the Tambo and into Lake King.
Plenty of good size bream are being landed from the Highway Bridge jetties all the way towards Thumb Point. The size of the bream being caught is 33-37cm, taking peeled prawn and worm.
From the Metung Jetty to Shaving Point and up to the Lake King Jetty for good bream, on peeled prawn.
McMillan Straits producing plenty of bream, best bait being vibes.
The Yacht Club harbor is also good for bream on prawn.
The town jetties have tailor with the best results coming from using lures.
Try Duck Arm for tailor.
Toms Creek, the Woodpile and into Blonde Bay heading toward Storm Point and Waddy Point are the spots for bream, taking pipis and prawn.
The rivers are flowing fairly quickly; the best spots to try are the backwaters, Lake Corringle and French’s Narrows.
The surf and offshore are still good for salmon and tailor that are taking poppers and pilchard.
The entrance is open, so salmon are about taking poppers and pilchard.
Sydenham Inlet is producing bream on prawn and worm.
Old Man Point has been worth a try, Pelican Point and up to Duck Splash and into Gibbs Creek are the best spots for bream as plenty of fresh water is coming into the inlet.
The beach is producing salmon on poppers (blue ones) and pilchard.
Luderick are around the boat ramps, taking weed.
The Top Lake has good size bream taking yabbies and prawn.
Double Creek Arm and up to Cape Horn have good size fish.
Flathead are a bit quiet and not many mullet about, but when the gassy banks return the fishing should improve.
Keep the fishing info coming to King George on firstname.lastname@example.org or 5672 3474. Good luck and Tightlines.
Around the Bay
By Craig Edmonds of Jim’s Bait and Tackle, San Remo
Although I still think we will have some wet weather to come it certainly seems to have changed and the air is starting to warm up as we see a bit more sunshine.
I am also starting to see a change in the water temperature with it obviously higher on the sunny days but it is very slowly increasing on the cloudy days as well which is always a good sign.
It will still take another few weeks before the temperature comes up to what we need to see the schools of snapper come on the bite.
It has probably been one of the best winters for snapper reports since we have been in the shop with what seemed like several reported each week – not in big numbers, at best one per boat.
It’s hard to work out why there were so many snapper around over winter and could be more to do with the amount of boats fishing than anything else.
As is always the case, customers are looking for that edge to help them catch more snapper and like all years there are plenty of new gimmicks on the market but often all you need is time on the water.
It’s almost impossible to beat time spent fishing as eventually it will bring success but there are a few things you can do to help your chances.
Bait presentation is one of the most important things in Westernport because we have so much current and done wrong, all you finish up with is a squashed up mess on the hook.
Without boring you with how, the easiest explanation is to try and keep the bait looking as natural as possible.
It also never ceases to amaze me how many people have expensive sounders and all they do is check the depth.
Learn to use your sounder especially with snapper as schools and even size of fish isn’t that difficult to see when the sounder is adjusted correctly.
If you have one it’s important that you use your sounder in conjunction with your GPS.
Head out to where you want to fish and start to sound around but don’t just stop on the first marks you see.
When you do see fish on the sounder, mark them on your GPS then keep looking around the area for more fish or a bigger school and mark them also then go and check the first few marks again.
If they are in the same place generally they are feeding but if they have moved on it maybe they are looking for food.
The reason for doing this is that you have more chance of catching them anchoring on fish feeding than fish that are traveling.
When you do find fish that are feeding it’s important that you anchor correctly and that means finding the school traveling 50m to 100m up current before dropping the anchor so you drift back slightly up current to the fish.
There were some good reports over the last week especially over the weekend with the fine weather and there was a variety of fish caught as well.
Snapper are the fish that most are chasing at the moment and several were caught but I wouldn’t say they are everywhere just yet.
Most of the reports of snapper came from the Rhyll end of the Corals and the deeper channel out from Cowes.
Some good size snapper were caught with the best report I had a 7.2kg one caught early Saturday morning but several around the 4kg to 5kg mark.
I had a couple of reports of smaller pinkies caught from the jetty at Newhaven during the week and a second hand report of a good sized one from the Cowes jetty Saturday night.
There were some good soundings of sizable schools around the Corals but not really interested in feeding too much but this will improve over the next couple of weeks.
Elizabeth Island has most caught on pilchards followed closely by squid.
Whiting continue to be frustrating to find in any number and most of the time you need to put a reasonable amount of time to get a decent feed.
I had some good reports from customers catching double figures of them but all saying it was hard work.
The best reports came from Cleeland Bight on Saturday morning where several whiting over 40cm were caught.
From those who caught them, they said the whiting came on without warning and left just as quickly.
Most of the other reports came from the area around Reef Island and in Dickies Bay.
Many of those fishing Dickies Bay for whiting also had a squid jig hanging over the side and caught several calamari which is always a bonus especially when you aren’t really targeting them.
The other calamari reports came from the usual spots and a mixture of sizes with the bigger ones caught by my land based customers.
Both land based and boating reports were a mixture of baited and artificial jigs with neither really standing out.
There were plenty of undersized gummies and only a handful of bigger ones reported with most of the reasonable size ones caught after dark.
There were a couple of quality gummies caught during the day coming from offshore south of the cape in about 40m of water.
The gummies caught in the bay came from two areas, Elizabeth Island and the channel in the western entrance.
The rest of the reports were made up of several species with some not so useful, draughtboard sharks and wrasse but some good flathead were caught offshore, salmon from in the bay along with mullet which were also caught from the jetty at Newhaven.
I also had a couple of reports of garfish of good size and number being caught and like last year most boating customers are reporting plenty of bait in the bay again.
Now that the winter is over and the weather is improving I have increased the shop hours back to our summer hours and open seven days a week.
The shop will be opening at 8am during the week and 6am on weekends closing most nights at around 5pm but if you are going out to chase a snapper after work need some bait or gear and will be a bit later than 5pm, just give the shop a call and I can stay around for you.