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 most anglers have bypassed the thoughts of tuna fishing, there have still been reports of fish coming from the West coast. Over the years the bigger tuna have moved along the coast sporadically - but around 2/3 years ago the large fish were at the best at about the same time as now - pretty much the start of snapper season. A lot of anglers were caught off guard, with the problem being that many were caught up preparing for the snapper run and not thinking big tuna. James Rogers from Unreel Fishing Charters had a ripper session a few weeks ago where he and his crew landed 2 'barrel' tuna over the 100kg mark.

Just again last week James and his crew hit the water and landed another a ripper bluefin tuna. James had his sons on the rod fighting the fish and it was successfully hauled aboard and landed. The tank tuna ate a skirt in bright redbait colour and will provide the boys with plenty of A grade sashimi. 

 


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.

 


There have been some winter pinkies and school snapper about in the bay for anglers to catch. While many don't fish for them in winter, it can be the best time to chase them, especially with calm sunny conditions. If you're landbased there have good numbers of fish hanging around in the northern region of the bay, with Port Melbourne and Williamstown holding some solid fish. Customer Ryan has been fishing the top end of the bay from the piers and has been catching fish to around 1.5kg. Ryan has done a couple of bait sessions at night but has found the afternoons have been fishing well with plastics. Small minnow and worm pattern plastics in 3 - 4inch have been the standouts, and even deadlier smeared in gel scent if the bite is slow.


The pinkies hanging around the inshore reefs have been touch and go, with a bit of sounding required to locate a patch of fish. When found however the fish have been pretty aggressive towards baits and lures especially late in the day. Customer Bashir and his wife Alexandra have been catching some nice table sized pinkies around Black Rock. Late afternoon has been the most productive time to fish for them, with cut pilchard being the best bait.

Further down in the southern end of the bay customer Petar landed a lovely winter fish of around 2.5kg during the week. Petar has been chasing the gummies around the south channel and surrounding channels, but was pleasantly suprised when he landed a nice red. Fishing baits of freshly caught squid and yakka has been the go for him, and with good quality baits you do have a good shot at catching these fish if they are around.


With some calm winter weather mixed in the offshore gummy fishing continues to be productive. While there haven't been any real 'hot spots' the areas around Cape Schank and Pyramid Rock have been good places to start. There have been two main methods to catching these fish, with both drifting and anchoring popular. Anchoring nearby to an isolated patch of reef and berleying to bring the gummies to you has been one method, while drifting 'wider' has also been a good way to intercept a cruising fish. Customer Jon fished recently out towards the Schank and landed some nice fish to around the 15kg mark. Baits of freshly caught wrasse and parrotfish from the accompanying reef are excellent options when targeting these fish.

 

The tuna fishing has still been going well along the states West, especially out from Portland. There have been plenty of school fish from 40m right out to beyond the 'horse shoe' and across the shelf. Customer Gem sent us a photo from a Portland trip just recently where a good brace of school tuna were caught on trolled hardbodies. Over the past week or so there has been reports of schools of whitebait around, which normally turns the fish more selective. If you're planning a trip during the next bout of calm weather make sure you pack some of your smallest skirts and offerings to cover all bases.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been making the most of the tuna season down along the west coast also, with excellent numbers of fish being caught between Port Fairy and Portland. James has been focusing on getting fish for customers and says that there is no shortage of school fish about. James has been finding a few different lure options have been working, from 'medium' sized skirts right down to tiny salmon sized skirts and hardbodies. Colour-wise many options have been worth trolling, with lumo, redbait, pilchard, saury and red squid patterns all good starting points.

 


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 milder weather than Melbourne during winter the northern NSW coastline from Coffs Harbour to the border can be an excellent place to holiday - and for the keen angler it is also where a lot of northern and southern species cross over. Southern species like snapper are met with northern species like cobia and various trevally and tuna species so it's a real lucky dip of fish variety. Customer Gary has moved up to this part of the coast and has been enjoying the variety of fish about. His latest catch from a small tidal lagoon was this massive giant trevally or 'GT' of around 30kg taken on a live bait. The huge fish took a live whiting and fought for over 90 minutes, and took over 400m of line from the outfit. Gary managed to land it on only 20lb line, which is a huge feat for a GT - let alone one of these size!


Staff member Chris has also been fishing the northern NSW coastline while on holiday recently. Chris has been fishing the Yamba region and while conditions weren't ideal for offshore runs he still managed a few fish. Chris caught multiple frigate tuna out wide over some reefy ground offshore - with live yakkas being the most productive baits when dropped down deep.


Amongst some of the other offshore species Chris landed were fish like snapper and tuskfish. Chris fished multiple wrecks and patches of reef and found these species hanging around the structure. The venus tuskfish were happy to eat full pilchards while small Yakamito slow jigs were productive on snapper up to 3.5kg. The slow, fluttering action of these jigs works well on reef dwelling species like snapper and is also productive in tidal water here in Victoria.

 


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. 

 


The west coast continues to produce tuna for the anglers out in search. While there has been no shortage of school fish there also has been a good number of 'barrels' about to keep the keen hunters keen. Customer Jason fished with mates recently and was involved in the capture of a barrel in the 150kg range out from Portland. Even though these big fish are normally actively hunting schools of redbait and pilchards, this fish had an undersized pinkie in it's stomach. Bright pink and red skirts have subsequently been productive out from Portland lately.


Customer Damien also headed down to Portland with mates in search of some more school fish, which he caught easily. While many anglers are venturing out towards the 'horseshoe' out along the shelf in search of these fish, there have been plenty in mush closer. Starting your search in around 50m has been good, and also puts you in with the chances of a 'barrel' - as they as normally frequently found in this 50 - 70m depth line. A mixture of lures did the job on fish to 12kg, with JB micro dingos and Bluewater classics the standouts. Colour variations between lumo, pilchard, bright pink and almost all others in between all did the job.


Customer Rocky came past the shop to grab some last minute lures suggestions and terminal gear before hitting the fish off Portland. Rocky and mates got stuck into the school fish with most weighing around 12 - 15kg. Trolling small skirts in the 4 - 6 inch range has been been the most productive, with a mix of dark and light colours going well. Rapala's new XRAP Extreme also caught fish as it can run truer at a more 'enticing' speed for the tuna.