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Paul and I decided to try something a little bit different last Thursday so we dropped Jet off at school and launched the Babi Stabi from Flinders and the plan was simple; head across to the deeper waters off Phillip Islands western shoreline from McHaffies down to The Nobbies to try find some big King George whiting. Our first stop was to get some fresh squid for bait so we stopped in about 7m of water off Flinders. Within about 20mins we landed 4 monster squid but even though there were plenty of squid and they were easy to catch we decided to move on because we had our plan to stick to.
Shooting across towards the McHaffies/Cat Bay area we came across schools of massive salmon, the birds indicated they were there and the schools were massive and thick moving in with the tide with fish to 4kg and we literally cast at them for 20mins, catching as many as we could possibly handle and releasing most of them.
We didn’t want to miss the tide so raced over to our whiting spot and had an absolute ball for 3hrs in 4.5 to 7m of water catching 10 species of fish, our biggest whiting was 44cm and was taken on a squid tentacle. We also saw free swimming gummys around the burley pot which is something neither Paul or I had seen before as well a free swimming kingy which was interesting to see. Some of the other species we caught were silver trevally to 40cm, slimey mackerel, big snook, big pike, big squid and some beautiful flattys.
We finished up for the day at 2.30 and almost made it in time to pick up Jetty from school, it was one of the better fishing sessions on Western Port we’ve had for a while and everyone will be able to view it on IFISH TV in the coming months.
The key to our success for the day was a mix of Ika, Odori and Sephia jigs for the big squid, when we came across the schools of salmon we cast into the middle of them using Arma and Gomoku slugs as well as Rapala X-Raps. When we were on the whiting grounds our success came from using pilchards and IFISH burley which really brought the fish in close to the boat.
BIG FLINDERS SQUID: S 38 28 494 | E 145 02 118 drift to S 38 28 601| S 145 02 157
BIG WHITING: MCHAFFIES REEF S 38 27 267 | S 145 10 158 & CAT BAY E 38 30 255 S 145 08 619
IKA SQUID JIGS
X-RAP LONG CAST
Dan Curmi and I headed off on Friday arvo after getting some last minute supplies from the shop and made the drive from Cranbourne to Bermagui to be there in time to fish Saturday morning. Overnight the weather turned a little which put some doubt into whether we would be hitting the water but we bit the bullet and decided to go out as planned. Once on the water on Saturday we found the bait from around the 12 Mile and moving up into The Kink with the bait ranging from 50m to 100m as well as further north from The Top to The Bottom in 200m.
With plenty of bait around it was no secret that most people were trolling live baits with a few also trolling lures. The livies of choice were slimey mackerel and the best chance at getting on to a fish was waiting for the bait balls to pop up which mostly happened as the tide and current slowed down which allowed the marlin to push the bait to the surface for them to feed on.
With close to 30 boats in the area it was quite competitive to get on top of the marlin first, an early upset of another boat cutting us off within 20m meant we lost the chance at pitching to some fish on a bait ball but we kept at it working among the other boats looking for our opportunity.
With luck on our side in about 180 metres a bait ball popped up in front of our boat allowing us the chance to be first in pitching a live slimey into what looked like 3-4 marlin feeding on the school. One fish missed our bait but was quickly picked up by a bigger fish, hooking up and jumping towards the other boats before peeling off to the right and after a series of additional jumps headed south.
After a 10km battle down the coast the fish was finally boatside and we quickly realised after trying to pull the fish on board that the two of us weren’t going to be able to on our own, so quickly jumped on the radio asking for help from a nearby boat, the first boat ignored our request and continued north but good friends Rob Cartledge and Rodney Gilham picked up the call on their way north and stopped to assist. Once the fish was on board we headed back to Bermagui to get the fish weighed in at the gantry with the fish coming in at 166.5kg
Sunday was a totally different story with the wind picking up overnight which dispersed the bait making things really hard. We managed to hook a big bronzy but unfortunately lost it beside the boat, most fish caught on Sunday by other boats did so north of Montague Island and up to Batemans Bay.
The gear used to catch and land our marlin was an 11/0 Eagle Claw circle hook, Ocea Braid, a 20000 Shimano Stella on a Terez 7ft 2, 30-50lb rod. This gear was sufficient enough for the job allowing us to not have to worry about something giving out.
For as long as I can remember there are a handful of super keen fisho’s that have spent a long long time trying to master the movements of mulloway in both Western Port and Port Phillip Bay. This week we have received 4 completely different reports of BIG mulloway. Is this the start of something?
For those keeping a diary to try and piece together a pattern here is what we know about the four most recent captures.
1. Alex Kenner got a massive 16.8kg fish out of Black Rock whilst fishing for snapper, which was reported to us on Friday 9th March.
2. Andrew Carr got one land based from Lang Lang, which measured 1.4m long and was reported to us on Sunday 11th March.
We are currently in a period leading up to the NEW MOON, which is on Saturday 17th of March, coincidence?
If you ever wanted to have a quiet crack at chasing the mighty mulloway then now may be your chance. In true mulloway fashion the info that these two fish have provided us in the last week couldn’t be more different! One in the shallow, tidal waters of Western Port at dusk and the other in the deeper, clearer waters of Port Phillip Bay and by the look of the photo was caught at either dawn or dusk.
The two things that both reports have in common was that they were caught on fresh bait and they were caught at low light. Andrew’s fish fell to fresh calamari and Alex’s fish fell to a locally bought fresh Port Phillip Bay pilchard. So, here’s how I would approach it…
Regardless of where you want to fish for them I would be trying to use the freshest bait possible, and you can’t get any fresher than live bait. Calamari, yakkas, slimy’s, salmon etc are in abundance at the moment and that would be my number one choice, even if I was fishing in 20 meters of water on Port Phillip Bay. If live bait is a little too hard then super fresh dead bait is a must. Calamari rings/strips, salmon fillet, butterflied tommy ruff etc. The next piece is finding a tide change at either dawn or dusk, and here is what that looks like over the next 7 days for both Lang Lang and Black Rock:
The key to Mulloway has always been about preparation and patience, I hope we have helped with the prep and now the patience part is up to you!
A big congratulations to both Alex and Andrew too, as big mulloway like that are not easy to catch, well done lads!
Every year around March/April, Rob and I head up to Lakes Entrance to go prawning during the new moon which is the best time to chase them. This year we arrived in the dark which wasn't the plan but we made do and set up our lights and nets at the ramp.
Our target areas are where The Narrows and Hopetoun Channel meets which isn't far from the boat ramp, we have included a map for reference below. To find the prawns we use a few different lights, the green squid lights are secured to poles and hung over the side of our boat and we also use some handheld prawning lights.
So far we have only gone out prawning on Tuesday night and didn't manage many prawns but it is still early, our plan is to head out each night up until the new moon and will report back each night so be sure to check out Facebook for updates.
Tackle World Cranbourne has just received 20 additional units of the LE01 so take this chance to order yours and maybe order a whole set.
You can take your chance and buy one now, or register for a set of 10 as they become available by calling us on (03) 59966500.