Bass Strait has been the hit with anglers recently as the run of Winter weather we've had has been excellent, with conditions too good to not make the most if them. The variety and quality of fish caught offshore during Winter can be excellent with the real mainstay being the large gummy sharks. Anglers fishing right out wide from areas such as Lakes Entrance have been tangling with fish like swordfish, trumpeter and pink ling. Customer Filip fished out wide chasing swordfish last week and landed some nice ling as tasty by-catch.

A bit closer to home the offshore gummy fishing has been nothing short of excellent. Young gun Fisherman Mike went out on an offshore tuition chasing big gummies and nailed a ripper gummy at 22kg, fishing out from Flinders. Chunk baits of wrasse and pike are super effective on the offshore gummies, and are readily available on the reefy areas. 


Mike's gummy was bigger than him! Customer Andrew also got in to the offshore gummies during the recent spell of quality weather. Andrew managed a couple of nice fish around the 20kg mark fishing fresh baits alongside the reefy points and and sand drops just outside of the western entrance.  


There has also been a few quality snapper caught offshore while targeting gummies. Customer Zac fished with his dad outside the western entrance recently and they also landed a few nice gummies around the 14kg mark, along with a nice 4kg snapper. Fishing fresh baits of mackerel, pike and squid give you an excellent chance of the snapper as well as gummies. Young Jacob and dad Gavin fished around the western entrance recently and also came across a nice snapper. Jacob was lucky enough to land the fish that weighed 6.6kg and took a strip of freshly caught couta. 

 


Westernport has been providing plenty of options during some of our nice Winter days, with the cartilaginous fish one of them. If conditions allow, the offshore fishing for gummy and school sharks has been excellent, while the gummy fishing inside the port has been also. On top of that, there have still been quite a few elephants about if you're fishing between Lang Lang and Rhyll. 

Customer Thao got outside during the week and fished an area behind Phillip Island in search of a solid gummy and he wasn't disappointed, landing a nice fish upward of 15kg. Thao found a small patch of reef and berleyed just off it, and had the gummy take a chunk of silver trevally. Baits of wrasse and parrotfish are also excellent if caught from the area you're fishing. 


Inside the port customers Morgan and Trent had a day of ripper weather, but small boat issues so their fishing time was shortened. In that time they managed to load up on yakkas and salmon for bait out from Rhyll and once they got sorted it wasn't long before they had a couple of eating size gummies on deck. Fishing the run off drains nearby to Rhyll they managed gummies to around 7kg, which were perfect for a feed. 


Fishing a touch north around Corinella, customer Scott caught a few smaller sharks in one session. Scott was fishing one of the potholes in the main channel where he landed 3 small sevengill sharks which were released, and 7 elephant shark also. Baits of squid and pilchard worked well. The elephant fish took a bit to turn up this year in the port, but they are still about in reasonable numbers - especially over the mudflats south of Elizabeth Island. 

 

 


Some of our regular customers are lucky enough to be traveling about and wetting a line all across the South East of the country at present, with lots of good fish caught. Customers Izzy and Bruno have been fishing with friends down along the east coast of Tasmania and have been having a ball. The inshore fishing out from where they are staying has seen them landing plentiful numbers of nice table sized gummies and albacore tuna.


Customers Kosta and Arron are fishing along the south coast of NSW at present and have been putting a few different species in the boat. Fishing out from Bermagui the boys have been doing well inshore on the school kingfish on jigs, plastics and also baits. Most of the kingies have been around the 60cm mark with a few larger ones showing up and then disappearing again as quick.


Out a bit wider the boys have had some mixed bags with some tasty blue eye coming aboard - and the local marlin bite has been happening all around them also. In over the inshore sand the boys have found plenty of good sized tiger flathead and a nice mako in the 30kg range for their efforts also. This part of the coast will continue to fish well right through until Easter, with some of the local fishing competitions taking place along the coast shortly also.

 


The summertime gummy fishing has been excellent in Westernport Bay. Many anglers have been making the most of the good fishing, with large gummies on offer around most parts of the port. Customer Zoran has caught a couple of nice sharks in the 12kg mark fishing the western entrance of the port. Chunk baits of freshly caught slimey mackerel and salmon have been the most productive.


Customer Justin has also been catching some solid gummies while out on the port. Justin had a session on the whiting lately and managed to collect some fresh bait in the form of trevally, so he sat for a gummy in the western channel. He landed a nice fish around the 13kg mark on fresh trevally. The last hour of the run out tide was the productive time for the gummy, with the fish coming from a secondary channel ledge.


Further back up the port customer George had a successful session out for gummies. George fished out from Rhyll and sat along a 10m ledge, and landed a nice gummy around 8kg. The successful bait was fresh squid head, fished on a circle hook paternoster rig. Customer Izzy has also been successfully landing some nice gummies fishing similar style 'reedy's rigs'. 6/0 circle hooks on these rigs have made for easy jaw hookups and easy to remove on smaller fish.


Up along the eastern side of the port there have been plenty of gummies between 65 - 90cm roaming around the feeder channels, and these have been plenty eager enough to scoff baits of banana prawn, squid or flesh baits. These fish are best targeted around the top of the tide, as they race up the channels and feed over the mudflats. As they race back off the flats they can be intersected along these same channel ledges. There have also been reports of some bronze whalers in the same area, with the hot 'zone' between Reef Island, Elizabeth Island and Spit Point. Customer Brendan fished from Tenby Point last week chasing gummies, and landed a small bronzie of a couple kilos.

 


The fishing in Westernport and it's offshore surrounds has been where many anglers are concentrating their efforts at the moment, with plenty of good fishing for bread and butter species like the humble gummy. If you can get offshore or towards the port's entrances the fish have been larger, with gummies under the 12kg mark usually uncommon. There have been some solid school shark floating about also, as customer Steve reports. Steve caught a nice schoolie recently while anchored up just outside the eastern entrance of the port. Fresh chunks of salmon and slimey were the most effective baits for him.


If you're after a table sized shark the port has been holding loads of gummies from small pups through to around 10kg. The top of the port around it's many feeder channels along with the Corinella mudflats has been producing many of these smaller sharks. Staff member Dylan fished some of the shallow mudflats recently in search of some table flake and in a short few hour session 4 were landed up to around 7kg. The last 90 minutes of the run in produced the results, with the fish coming from a small channel ledge in 2m of water. Banana prawn was the most effective bait when fished on the edge of the flats.


The rest of the port and especially the region pushing towards the waters of Bass Strait has been worth fishing for larger gummies. Amongst the large females a few smaller sharks normally make their presence felt. Customers Vito and Simon have both done well on lovely eating size gummies over the past weeks. Baits of fresh squid, trevally and wrasse have gotten the job done when pinned as hangbaits on single oversized circle hooks. The last bit of the run out tide or fish hour of the flood has been the best time to snare one of these fish pushing in.

 


If you're looking for a good quality gummy shark for the table and the weather plays ball - head offshore from the bays. The offshore gummy fishing has been excellent all winter and continues on, with the wind and swell the only real factors to consider. Heading out from either entrance in Westernport or from The Rip there is acres and acres of quality shark ground to drift or anchor near. If you're heading out from the eastern entrance like customer Steve did, you can head halfway towards Cape Paterson on the right conditions, and catch your bait and gummies out there. Steve fished a bit closer in around Cape Woolamai just recently, where he a couple of gummies to 12kg on baits of freshly caught wrasse and red mullet. Steve managed the fish in about 35m of water.


Out from the western entrance customers Benny and Damien have also been getting into the gummies. The boys fished out from the Seal Rock area in 40m of water and landed 3 nice fish between them. All 3 of the fish were around the 10kg mark and took baits of wrasse and pike caught from the area. There have also been a few snapper floating around these same reef areas as they make their migration into the bays.

 


While not everyone's game, there has been some excellent offshore fishing when a break in the weather opens up. There are numbers of snapper starting to move just offshore from the entrance to both bays, some excellent gummies on offer and still decent numbers of tuna along the West coast. James from Unreel Fishing Charters had a purple patch on the tuna along the West coast earlier this week, with 2 massive fish over the 100kg mark. James and his son both managed a 'barrel' each - with the monsters weighing 110kg and 140kg. There are still some serious inshore tuna out there to had when the wind and swell decide to calm down...


A little bit closer to home around the offshore reef the gummies have still been quality. Customers Johnny and Thao have been outside when conditions allow and have seen some serious gummies punching well above 15kg. There haven't been any 'hotspots' as the boys tried a new area recently and had results. Finding and plotting isolated patches of reef has been the key, with locally sourced baits also a key step. Catching wrasse and parrotfish from the reef is an excellent step in catching a solid sea-going gummy. Baits of squid are excellent for catching fresh bait, as are artificial offerings.


Small flutter-style jigs and soft plastics get eaten within metres of the reef by the wrasse species, but keeping them as  close to the bottom is key. Multi-coloured depth marked braid is excellent for doing this. Generally speaking, the most successful reef zones are outside the main entrance shelves, in the 25 - 30m depth or wider around 40 - 45m. At this depth there is plenty of bait and food for cruising gummies.

 


During bouts of calm weather the offshore gummy fishing has been excellent. The bays have been producing good numbers of gummies for anglers but the offshore fish have been of better quality. Customer Dave and mate Gawaine fished out from Phillip Island recently in slick conditions to land some nice gummy and school sharks. The average fish ofshore at the moment has been around 15kg, with much larger fish to 25kg or so frequently encountered. Dave and Gawaine plotted a small section of reef and after working out the layout they anchored up and started collecting bait. Fresh chunks and fillets of parrotfish and wrasse along with pike did the job on both the gummies and school sharks, so make sure you are adept at catching fish like these fish fresh bait if you venture offshore.


If landbased fishing is easier for you, then gummy fishing can be good. There have been plenty of land based options for these sharks around Westernport in particular. Customer Brendan has been landing gummies table sized gummies to around 7kg from the shore along the eastern side of the port at locations such as Corinella, Tenby Point, Lang Lang and Grantville. The region from Lang Lang through to Reef Island is good for targeting gummies as there are plenty of mudflats for the fish to patrol during the night, and they can be routinely caught if you pay attention to your tides. Brendan has been landing gummies on a variety of baits, with pilchard, pike, trevally and mantis shrimp all working well after dark.

 


The calm weather recently has really been good for anglers out on the gummies, and the gummy fishing has been excellent. The real hot spots at present have been the entrance channels on both bays and offshore, with a keen eye on the tides and fresh baits the real keys. Customer Paul fished with mate Jarrad out in the south channel on the gummies after chasing squid up on the banks and wasn't disappointed with a lovely 12kg fish on dark. Fish at this size are excellent for the table and normally quite common when fishing these southern channels.


Customer Petar has also done a few trips out around the southern end of Port Phillip with good results. Petar has averaged roughly 1 - 2 gummies per trip, with a 'normal' fish around 7kg. Petar has landed fish to just under 10kg during the week on fresh squid and yakka in the main channel just after dark. On the offshore gummy front, customer Edly has put fish to around 18kg in the boat during the week - with calm conditions ideal for it. Edly has been fishing small reef ledges out in 30m of water, and has found that the best baits have been parrotfish and pike.


Customer Damien got into the gummies during the week offshore also. Damien fished out from the western entrance in 40m of water and landed a brace of nice fish up to 15kg. Freshly caught wrasse and red mullet were the dynamite baits on the fish offshore.

 

 


With some calmer weather on it's way there some ripper gummy shark fishing to be had just inside the entrances to both bays and also offshore. With the last lot of calm weather anglers ventured out and and found the rewards in form of some lovely fresh flake. The hot areas to be fishing have been the western entrance from around Sandy point south, or in Port Phillip the Blairgowrie end of the south channel. Just outside both entrances the fishing has been excellent also, with small patches of reef from 25 - 40m productive.

Keen fisherman Ashie went out in westernport with dad Steve last week and managed a couple of nice table sized gummies from down in the western entrance. The area around cat bay was productive with chunks and fillets of freshly caught salmon and pike providing the ideal scent trail for the gummies. Fishing the small outcrops of reef along these channel edges has been productive for Steve with an average size fish being around 7 - 10kg.


Once you get offshore proper the average gummy size seems to increase, with fish around 15kg being about standard - and a 25kg+ fish a real chance. Customer Edly fished outside in 40m of water recently to land 3 solid sharks all around the 14kg size. Freshly caught baits can be the difference between fish and no fish and gummies are no different - with plenty of bait options cruising about offshore near or on your fishing grounds. Parrotfish and wrasse are excellent, along with barracouta, pike and salmon or mackerel - which can all be collected with some prior preparation to your gummy fishing. Fishing large chunk baits on heavy gauge 8/0 circle hooks will ensure a solid jaw corner hookup and get your gummies to the boat.