Table of plenty in Portland
  |  First Published: July 2016

The fishing in Portland over the last six weeks has been up and down; this has mainly been due to the weather, which has made it extremely difficult to get offshore. Winds reaching 40 knots and swells up to 7m have scared off even the most adventurous anglers.

When the weather has been kind to us, the fishing has been amazing with plenty of baitfish washed up close to the coastline, pushing the tuna closer. Most fish are only in 70-75m of water and range from 8-25kg with the odd barrel over 100kg showing up in the shallows as well. Most fish have been around Cape Nelson Lighthouse and towards Bridgewater Bay.

Some of the local anglers have ventured to the shelf and are deep bottom dropping for blue eye, pink ling, knife jaw, and blue grenadier. Use electric reels and big baits for these contenders.

The Lee breakwater has also seen some action over the last few weeks as the big swells stir things up. We have seen healthy snapper up to 7kg and others around 3-4kg but not in big numbers. Some big winter whiting have also been caught of the Lee and some great salmon.

Not as many people are fishing the bay as tuna fishing fever has taken over. The die-hard bay fishers have found some good flathead in the 20-25m of water drifting around plus big winter whiting up to 50cm that have been a bit harder to find. It’s a great time of year to wander the beaches for salmon and flick lures off the rocks. Soft plastics or lightweight baits work wonders. These fish hit like steam trains and even though they are not the best for eating, they are not bad fresh, smoked or made into patties. They also make great baits for bigger fish. Otherwise, catch and release is a great option when hunting salmon.

The main target in July will be tuna – let’s hope the weather is on our side. Now is a good time of year to fish for sharks whether you chase makos, gummies or schoolies. We generally see some very good sharks on the tables.

Flathead, salmon, couta and maybe the odd whiting will make an appearance around the bay, plus snook around the reefs. The Lee breakwater can still produce some good fish, especially after a good swell, but into the night the shark fishing off the wall can be very good. The natural berley trail that comes from the cleaning tables after a great day of fishing could produce any species around the harbour and breakwater.

The river systems, such as the Surrey and Fitzroy can produce nice bream and good-sized mullet, perch and mulloway mainly in the Fitzroy. The river mouths on both these rivers are good places to surf fish off the beach.

If you are heading to Bridgewater Bay, the beach there is very good for salmon and at night on the right times you’ll find mulloway and gummies. For heavy surf try out at Discovery Bay heading towards Nelson.

For all your bait and tackle needs look no further than Portland Compleat Angler. You can contact us on (03) 5521 1844, or we are located at 61 Bentinck Street next to the Gordon Hotel. Come in for information on weather reports, fishing reports and fishing licences.

Happy fishing.

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