Winter is on but the fishing is hot
  |  First Published: June 2017

It feels a lot like winter has set in already. Not to discourage anglers from heading out for a weekend fish, but the sudden cold snap early last month really put things into perspective for the coming months.

It’s fair to say that now is the time to be rugging up before heading out. While we will still see a fair bit of nice weather, the morning’s chill will really make you wonder why you got out of bed so early.

Despite the chill, the fishing has been hot over the past few weeks if you know where to look.

The whiting scene is still going strong with some good fish being caught. Although the schools of fish have moved off the banks now, it is time to concentrate in the deeper waters, especially at the bottom end of the North Arm. From Buoy 22 to Buoy 17 the whiting fishing has been spectacular.

Fishing here warrants the use of at least 6oz lead weights and it’s important to be fishing around an hour either side of the low tide change.

Berley is also a vital ingredient, but don’t go overboard with it or you’ll just invite stingrays and toadfish to your area.

A good kilo bag of pilchards mashed into the pot will do the job.

During this time of the year the whiting are quite aggressive when taking baits, so it’s a good idea to be using small size 4 circle hooks.

This will enable a cleaner hook set without the possibility of losing fish during battle.

By the middle of the month you may notice the whiting are thinner in numbers. They will still be available, you’ll just have to go searching for them.

In saying that, you might want to work down the Western Entrance around Ventor, Cat Bay, Flinders and Balnarring where they will be a viable option throughout winter.

Chris Cassar has been slaying the whiting in Western Port recently and has found them in excellent numbers.

Working the deeper edges of the banks, Chris has put his clients onto some real solid fish. Working the tops of the weedy banks on the high tide, Chris has also caught a fair share of nice calamari using size 3.0 sized jigs.

Schools of Australian salmon have also shown up in huge schools and are scattered throughout the Western Entrance and the Buoy 17 area up to Stony Point.

Finding them has been quite easy due to the bird activity; simply spot the birds dive bombing from above and you’ll find the salmon schools.

When you approach the schools the salmon can be caught quite easily using one of two techniques.

Casting metal slugs into the bubbling mass is effective, but before you do, remove the treble hook and replace it with a single size 1 inline hook.

Salmon have a knack of spitting trebles when they leap from the surface and by replacing with a single, you’ll have more of a chance to land them.

Alternatively, you can troll around the school. This scatters the school with the boat noise.

Staying to the outskirts of the school and driving the boat so with each pass, the lures pass through the school. This is an effective technique.

Shaun Furtiere took some time off from the whiting and went in search of the salmon with his clients. It didn’t take them too long to get into the action, landing some very nice models ranging 1-2kg.


The annual elephant season is also in full bloom as it has been for the past few months with plenty being caught in the Corinella, Coronet Bay and Rhyll areas. Their numbers haven’t been quite what was expected this year, but they have still been about in the shallow muddy waters.

Most of the elephants caught have been in the 2-3kg bracket with pipis and squid baits working best. Berley has been essential to attract them. Anglers fishing land-based from Corinella Pier as well as Lang Lang Beach and Stockyard Point have been catching them in fair numbers.

Speaking of land-based fishing, can it really get any better? Local angler Justin Blythe fished from Somers Beach in April alongside his brother-in-law Steve Corrigan. The boys fished into the night in search of gummy sharks and managed to hook into two quality snapper.

During this time of the year, a good run of snapper comes on the chew in the Port and has done so for the past few years. Catching them from the beach is a real achievement and just goes to show how productive the Western Port fishery can be.

Many of the local piers are also fishing well with garfish, calamari, salmon and silver trevally all being caught regularly. Stony Point Pier has seen a good run of garfish taken from the end of the pier during the run-out tide with small slithers of peeled prawns the top bait. A float rig setup is the most effective.

The Flinders Pier has also seen some calamari being caught, but they have been slow these past few weeks. Those fishing first and last light have seen most of the action with bait jigs working best. Fishing the high tide is detrimental, as they tend to come in closer to the pier.


The surf fishing scene is just starting to pick up with the onset of the cooler weather. Anzacs Beach at Cape Woolamai is already seeing salmon to a kilo caught on a regular basis. Berley is a must, as they aren’t in huge schools just yet. Kilcunda Beach has also been producing salmon with the odd silver trevally mixed in. Pipi baits have been the top bait recently. Also take some blue bait just in case the fish are fussy.

Over the next month, the fishing will really hot up. The salmon will be on the move, so stay up-to-date with the reports to know the right beach to try your luck.

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