Fishing Western Port With Gawaine Blake
01 May 2013

Fishing Western Port With Gawaine Blake

It’s been a very busy few months for me of late and it’s lead to me being a little slack in my reports but not because the fishing has been slow!

Late summer and autumn has just kept firing so now it’s just a case of where to start. All of my personal fishing has been on board the 525 Prowler which continues to amaze me and my mates with its capabilities, be it fishing offshore for sharks or just getting a feed of squid – it’s so easy to use and fish out of.

Over the end of summer saw me catching quite a few big gummy sharks and even bigger Bronze whalers out of it. The key to targeting the Bronzies offshore I found, is to fish close inshore 25-40m of water on the days with little wind so you have a slower drift. This causes the burley to go down thick and get to the bottom quickly where these sharks tend to inhabit. My daughter Asher and mate Garreth did this in late February which resulted in a very nice Bronzy of around 120kg.

Inside the port has continued its run of gummy sharks with fresh baits being the key. Salmon and trevelly are my favourite, but honestly, if it’s fresh and in the right area, most baits work. I have spoken to anglers of late who use Wrasse, grass whiting even flathead fillets, so it just shows not to get stuck into a one set mind track.

On one night fishing down Ventnor on the edge of the natural channel, myself and Garreth had a cracking night catching our bag limit of Pinky Snapper 35-38cm, as well as 5 gummy sharks 14-22kg and a surprise but very rewarding catch of a small bronze whaler. This took a bait intended for gummys on standard 80lb mono leader. I do use a different hook to most in the Gamakatsu range – it’s called a Big Bait Circle. This is a thicker gauge than a standard octopus circle and has a straight shank with less of an off set. I have found this hook to get a lot more jaw hook ups and therefore helps with landing these toothy critters.

The whiting fishing has been fantastic this year with great quality fish on every guide I have done of late. If you are after the bigger fish, I tend to look for areas with more structure – be it rubble beds or even banks with shell grit through them. These are not that hard to find – they tend to be in areas that have not been eroded away by the tidal currents.

So look for lumps and bumps on your sounder and you will notice the thicker bottom and more rugged the fish tend to frequent these area chasing crustaceans and worms.

I have found that fishing up in the shallows of middle spit to be very rewarding early morning or late evening into the dark, water as shallow as 800mm has had some great fishing but do use a lighter drag because when the big whiting bite, this can hit so hard your rod will be pulled from its holder in the shallow conditions. Best baits have been mussels and fresh strips of squid.

Now as the water cools the whiting will group up and slowly make their way down the port to the winter feeding grounds, although many will leave and head offshore. There are still great areas that will produce right through the year such as Tortoise Head Bank, Mc Caffies Reef, Flinders and Cat Bay. While this happens, our squid fishing comes into its own, with regular captures of large squid becoming more frequent as the large spawning squid come in from Bass Strait and spread throughout the port.

Already I have had some great captures off Tyabb Bank and Sand Stone Island. The key to squid fishing in Westernport I find, is to drift the long banks that have very slow drop off these tend to have slower currents where the squid tend to hunt and spawn.

I will be guiding throughout the year if anyone is interested. The aim of my guides is to come aboard your boats and teach you how I go about targeting the given species of your choice, be it gummy sharks, squid or any other available species at the time. I go through Lowrance sounder set up, how to read your sounder, locate and anchor, rigging and bait presentation as all this will help you in your fishing and hopefully make life easier in future endeavours. Anyone interested in this can call me directly on 041711302.

Until next time, enjoy the hunt!

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