Rowan left the family at home asleep and snuck out early on Saturday, January 23, for a drift alone, calling us at lunchtime to weigh his Mako that went 32kg, opening his account for the season with a freezer full of flake.

with Jim’s Bait & Tackle

ANOTHER Christmas school holiday period done and dusted and that makes 15 since we took over the shop with every one of them different.

This year we had some good weather and some typical unsettled summer weather but overall, there were plenty of days to get out for a fish for all the visitors who holidayed here this year.

One thing many visitors comment on when fishing here for the first time is the variety of fish they can catch in a session.

When you now add in the regular bluefin and kingfish catches through summer, it’s becoming a destination for all types of fishermen.

All we need is a couple of marlin to show up and we will have it all.

The other thing that visitors are surprised by is the current that we have here.

With many from the rivers or even Port Phillip Bay, it’s a bit of a shock and they are generally under-prepared but doesn’t take too long to work it out.

Whiting this week has continued and it’s been one of the best years that we can remember, not necessarily for numbers or size, but for the number of places people are catching them- land and boat.

We can’t remember a year where whiting was being caught in so many different places and depths. Boating has been the usual shallow 1.5m to 3m but the amount caught in 10m and above almost equals them and the quality this week was a little better in the deep.

Typical of the busy time, the reports are a little scattered because of the traffic but the extra people fishing for them in so many different areas at the one time means we get just as many reports and see lots of fish.

We have seen a slight change in the whiting this week with most of those fishing around Dickies Bay/Bass River area telling us there have been a lot of very small whiting there.

There have been a few undersize but the majority are around 30/34cm but pencils and not the very healthy condition ones we are used to this year.

You would have to think they are only new whiting in and given another month or so, will fill out and be worth keeping.

The only snapper reports we are getting are coming from offshore on the reefs towards Kilcunda where we have seen several around 5kg with the only thing being caught in the bay are very small pinkies and the occasional pan sized pinkie.

We did get a couple of reports late over the weekend of 4kg snapper off Cowes so maybe we will see a run of bigger ones in February as we did last year.

There is plenty in the bay to catch with schools of salmon, yakkas, mackerel and couta showing up, so make sure you have a small lure or a bait jig ready to go.

Several good gummies in the bay also and not just in the channels but a handful reported from across the 6m part of the corals.

Offshore is where most of the action has been this week with countless boats out chasing tuna and kingfish.

There were so many boats out the western entrance towards Port Phillip heads on Saturday that there was plenty of running over lures and cutting off lines happening, and it was those there early who caught the fish.

There were the boats from the island with boats from the ramps on the Hastings side mixed with the boats coming out of Port Phillip heads and as always by the time most got there the fish were down deep.

We did hear of a few being caught from later in the day in the same area, those boats finding a quiet spot all to their self away from the crowd until they hooked up which attracted everybody who saw them hooked up.

We had several tuna reported from east of the western entrance all the way to Cape Paterson with some divers telling us the schools they came across were too big to even guess the number of fish. They were a little timid and plenty of work was needed to get them to take a lure with just as much success coming from those who jumped in the water amongst the school.

The best results came from those who have finally worked it out to give themselves the best chance, don’t go too wide, as close as 15m and don’t go too big, small skirts and feathers and don’t think you have to look for birds diving, large schools of lazy mutton birds will often sit on a school of fish just picking scraps off the surface, so always worth a look.

Makos have made an appearance finally or should I say a few people, after burning a few $100 in fuel chasing tuna have started to fish for them, I would much prefer a freezer full of flake than tuna anyway.

We had a handful of them reported this week, around the 30kg mark with a couple simply swimming up to the boat as it stopped and started to do a bit of bottom bashing.

We don’t see or hear of many, but we also had a hammerhead reported over the weekend, it was going to be released but before a photo could be taken it bit through the leader and released itself.

There was also plenty of reports of quality offshore gummies and some decent bags of flathead and snapper also from offshore.
Most of the reports we had come from east of Cape Woolamai down to Cape Paterson and the flathead especially took a bit of finding but once you did it was easy to get a good feed.

Kingfish have also made an appearance, mostly rats and are a bit of a by-catch from those chasing tuna with not a lot yet targeting them.
Most of the kingfish we had seen were around the headland of Cape Woolamai, the Pinnacle and Pyramid Rock.

If you are going to head offshore from the eastern entrance for a bit of a trawl or even a bottom bash get out of bed a little earlier and drop some lures in the water as soon as the last green peg, there has been a few show up just in the entrance.