Western Ports Bread and Butter

Western Port might be known for its exceptional snapper and gummy shark fishery throughout the year, Western Port also supports an extremely healthy population of whiting, calamari, yellow eye mullet, silver trevally, Australian salmon and a host of other bread and butter species.

While we often become drawn to water when the gummy sharks and snapper are on the chew, often catching the old whiting, salmon, silver trevally, mullet and or calamari can still satisfy ther craving for needing to catch something.

On another note, fishing is not always about catching such highly prized fish. Don’t get me wrong, but it would be nice coming home with an eight-kilo snapper every day or a 10 kg kingfish but not all of us have the ability to target and catch these species, rather many of us are content with just catching something.

To some, these species may not be high on the list of targetable species and table fare, but at the end of the day, if you’re limited in your fishing ability and or access, these species certainly make formidable opponents.

SILVER TREVALLY

Trevally tend to be more so caught as a by catch while targeting salmon or whiting. Trevally respond well to berley and put up quite a fair tough fight on light tackle. When battling trevally, never go too hard, they have a soft mouth so it is very easy to pull the hooks.

RIG: A two dropper paternoster rig suits best. This should be tied from 12lb Mustad Fluorocarbon leader. Each dropper to contain a single #10 Mustad Bloodworm long shank hook.

BAIT: Pipi, squid strips, pilchard fillet.

BEST LOCATIONS: Stony Point Pier, Cowes Pier, Flinders Pier, Warneet Jetty, Cowes Pier, Buoy 25, Buoy 11, Buoy 7.

MOST ABUNDANT: September, October, November, December, and January.

KING GEORGE WHITING

KGW are the most highly prized of the bread and butter species and are quite an easy fish to target. While many anglers prefer to fish for whiting on shallow banks and move from spot to spot. Using a blend of berley in a berley pot is equally as effective.

Using berley will also attract other species such as salmon, trevally, flathead, garfish and mullet which is great if you’re happy to catch anything. When using berley, it always pays to continually cast your presented baits into the berley trail as the whiting will swim to the source.

RIG: There are two main rigs used when targeting whiting. A two dropper paternoster rig is ideal for rigging with circle hooks and is used mostly when fishing over heavily weeded areas. The extended paternoster tends to be used with a single offset long shank hook and used when fishing in sandy locations or those adjacent to weed beds where whiting are known to frequent.

BAIT: Pipi, tenderised squid strips, mussel, live bass yabbies.

BEST LOCATIONS: Gentle Annie, Charing Cross, Tooradin Channel, Fairhaven Channel, Middle Spit, Tortoise Head Bank, Coronet Bay, Dickies Bay, Ventnor, Flinders, Cat Bay and Balnarring.

MOST ABUNDANT: October, November, December, January and February.

YELLLOW-EYE MULLET

The mullet might not be desired as a species to target but when it comes to taking children fishing, nothing could be simpler to target. On light tackle, mullet surly to go hard and for a youngster just wanting to catch something, mullet can give them a good run around. Found throughout Western Port and the localised surf beaches, mullet a schooling fish. When you find one, you usually catch quite a number of them.

RIG: Mullet have small mouths and tend to feed on the bottom. An extended paternoster works best and should be rigged from 10lb fluorocarbon leader containing a single Mustad Bloodworm long shank size 10 hook.

BAIT: Pipi seems to be the best bait available.

LOCATION: Warneet Pier, Middle Spit, Stony Point Pier, Cowes Jetty, Corinella Jetty, Flinders Pier, Hastings Pier and Boat Ramp Steps, Kilcunda Surf Beach, Cape Woolamai Surf Beach, Cat Bay Surf Beach.

MOST ABUNDANT: Year round with the surf beaches in winter more productive.

CALAMARI

Calamari are quite highly prized in Western Port but as it was some 20 years ago, the calamari fishery is relatively untouched compared with that of Port Phillip Bay. Calamari are wide spread throughout Western Port but they prefer cleaner water so it is unlikely you’ll catch them in the top end channels.

At different times of the year difference sized calamari can be caught. Anglers can catch them using artificial jigs or baited jigs. Berley is also useful when using baited jigs as they’ll be attracted to the smell.

RIG: Attaching an artificial jig directly to the end of your leader with a Mustad Fast Catch clip works well. When using a baited jig, attach a bobby cork float 1 meter above the jig.

BAIT: If bait fishing, silver whiting or a pilchard works best.

LOCATION: Calamari are caught over weed beds. The most productive locations are Quail Bank, Tyabb Bank, Middle Spit, Sandstone Island, Tortoise Head Bank, Balnarring, Ventnor Beach, Cat Bay and Flinders.

MOST ABUNDANT: Year Round with a larger models abundant in September and October.

AUSTRALIAN SALMON

Aside from Barramundi and Murray Cod, Australian Salmon would be the next most iconic species covering well over half the country in distribution.

Australian Salmon in Western Port are a viable catch right throughout the year but tend to be in greater numbers throughout winter. A schooling fish, salmon are caught by boat anglers trolling lures, casting metal slugs to salmon feeding on the surface or bait fishing in the surf.

RIG: When fishing the surf, a paternoster rig tied from 20lb fluorocarbon leader with two droppers each containing a 2/0 Mustad Long Shank hook. When targeting salmon by means of throwing metal lures, replace the treble hook on the lure with a single Mustad Kiaju inline hooks to prevent the hooks pulling when they leap.

BAIT: Salmon prefer pipi, blue bait, white bait and squid.

LOCATION: Kilcunda Surf Beach, Cape Woolamai Surf Beach, Cat Bay Surf Beach, Middle Spit, Western Entrance, Eastern Entrance, North Arm.

MOST ABUNDANT: Year Round with the winter months best for surf fishing. The end of autumn around May is when the best schools of salmon are in Western Port and can be caught on the surface with lures.

Western Port may produce some amazing fish throughout the year but some of the bread and butter species are often forgotten about and are a lot of fun to catch whether you’re in a boat or fishing from the shore.

Not always do you have to catch that PB fish but often just going home with a tasty seafood basket of mixed species can be just as rewarding.

Jarrod Day

About Jarrod Day

As a young boy, fishing from the Portsea and Sorrento piers along the Mornington Peninsula coastline was a regular occurrence during the school holidays. My love for fishing grew and many years later now find it much more than a hobby, but a lifestyle. My website has been developed with fishing and photography in mind. Take a look around, I hope you enjoy it. www.jarrodday.com/

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