What to target this month

It’s expensive to go fishing and not catch fish and a successful days fishing starts with good preparation! As soon as we get home from a day out on the water, we clean up and prepare for the next trip so we can hit the water again at a moment’s notice, whenever conditions are right.

The Salt Guide boat is cleaned, refuelled and checked over, rods are cleaned, line re-spooled as necessary, rigs tied ready to go and ice, bait and berley topped up in the our chest freezers. Once clothes and fishing hand towels have been washed, knives sharpened and safety equipment checked, the Stabicraft can be completely re-packed ready to roll. If you are so inclined, it’s also a great idea to cook up some meals in advance and freeze in portioned containers so you have something to heat up ready to go in a thermos.

When we decide to head out it’s simply a matter of putting the right rods on board and grabbing bait, ice and something to eat from our frozen supplies.

There’s nothing worse than having to run around getting things ready when you should be out on the water catching fish. This is definitely one of the reasons we consistently catch fish – so get into the habit of preparing early… well before your next adventure.

So what to target this month?

Ever heard a fishing report that doesn’t seem to match what you are experiencing? It happens all the time. At the Salt Guide, we report as we find the fish. If a target species is slow,  we will let you know. When the fish are going off we will let you know exactly where they are and exactly how to catch them.

January is a great time for fishing in Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay. We have been doing well with whiting in Port Phillip Bay but interestingly they are not biting as well as previous years during the day or on our preferred tides. Locations that produced well in previous years have been lacking a little this year. It’s times like this that we go back through our fishing diaries and experiment with some old marks and some different areas. 

The whiting seem to be in deeper water this year in Port Phillip Bay and the best bites have been sunrise or on dusk. If we can time our trip to coincide with some dirty water after a blow or rain in the lead up to a low tide we can be very confident we will be coming home with some quality whiting.

Western Port has been a similar story – making us work a little harder to find the whiting this year and we are having to move a lot more to find a school of feeding fish. We have been finding some bigger fish but in less numbers than previous years. Deep water marks just off the channel have given us some huge 45-50cm whiting – a lot of fun on 2-6lb light gear. Check out our videos to learn how to catch these beauties.

Gawaine and Craig have also been doing very well on large garfish in the shallows of Western Port along the banks between Stony and Hastings in around 2 metres of water and there are reports of some large sea gars being caught up on the spit. There have also been some good reports of gars up an area called Dickies near San Remo. We targeted the gars when the whiting slowed down in the late morning when the sun was bright and the water was clear. Gars are great fun to catch and are also a wonderful fish to eat and it’s a good time to stock up on them before the kingfish season gets going for bait. If you are going to catch some gars for kingy bait, make sure you look after them. Put them on ice straight away and straight in the freezer when you get home, ideally vacuum sealed in packs of 4. We have some great videos on the site to show you exactly how to target these guys along with the gps marks or areas we got them.

Aaron has had an exceptional run on the calamari in early January, bagging out in no time around Queenscliff. Keep a look out for patches of eggs in around 5 metres of water to score some big angry models protecting their eggs. Most of the eggs have gone now for this season and we will show you next season how to find the eggs but there is still plenty of squid around Rye and Blairgowrie – gps marks for these areas are in the gps section so go and catch these tasty buggers.

We are keeping an eye on Black Rock, Martha Cove, Mornington and Frankston and will let you know the areas when the calamari are on further up the bay. These guys will be smaller but good eaters and dynamite bait.

Aaron and Craig also had some great sessions on some good sized flathead around Mud Island. Most fish were above 35 cm with some bigger blue spot models up to 55 cm. Burley was essential to bring the fish over – check out the videos on the members site to learn how and where.

Aaron has also been diving at every opportunity down the southern end of Port Phillip Bay and out the heads and he has been coming to the surface with some monster crays – some went over 5kg this season! Aaron also reports that there are plenty of scallops around not far from the Rye boat ramp in around 14 metres of water – the marks for this general area are on the site.

Gawaine is starting to get a little toey as the mighty kingfish are about to fire up. He recently did a trip to Eden on the kings with most fish around 10kg caught on live bait in the shallows! Gawaine also did a trip last week out the front near Cape Schanck where he found a good school and fired some soft plastics at them with great success.

Aaron has had a couple of little test runs on the kings in the rip and has reported some quality fish on both lures and whole squid baits – they are not firing consistently but Aaron believes it won’t be long.

Start getting your king gear ready as the next block of warm weather after the Australia Day weekend will fire them up. We will be out filming very soon on the kings so stay tuned and keep an eye out for our videos on how and where to target them this year. If you haven’t been fishing for kings before we recommend you give it a go – they pull like a Mac truck!

There are plenty of gummy’s about in the bays and out the front of Western Port and Port Phillip heads and fresh baits are the key to success. We have some great footage on how to catch your own fresh bait on the site so if you put the time in on the right tides and moon phases you will be as good as chance as any to get a gummy or two. 

Aaron and Craig have had a good session last week just west of the  Pinnace Channel on the salmon.  On our way back to Queenscliff the seagulls were busting up on the baitfish that the salmon are chasing which gave them away . Small silver lures cast straight into the school allowed us to grab a good bag of gummy bait. (Craig was also keen to keep 4 larger models for Thai fish cakes.) There have also been good reports of salmon at the north end of Port Phillip Bay – just keep an eye out for the birds feeding on the surface

Snapper are firing up again around Mt Martha or Mornington and fresh baits and early morning fishing before sunrise will probably be your best chance – not to say you won’t get a fish mid morning or early evening on a tide change.

Some large snapper reports are still coming in around Cowes.  Silverleaves was doing well up until 2 weeks ago but the bigger fish have slowed a little here since. 

Gawaine and Craig bagged some great 40 cm pinkie snapper on the deeper reefs in Western Port earlier in January. The colours of these fish in the deeper water is nothing short of spectacular – a deep red colour and bright blue spots. These fish were spiked straight away and put on a cold ice slurry to feed a large crew down at Phillip Island that all commented on some of the best fish they have eaten. We have some great info on the site on how to look after your catch, from spike points for each species to preparing an ice slurry – it can make a huge difference to end result so make sure you check it out.

The pinkies have also been going well up at Corinella along with some smaller gummies in the gutters.

We have noticed a lessening in by-catch such as Rays and Port Jacksons in Western Port this year. We are not complaining but its something to note – we have also heard similar reports from our connections.

Gawaine also recently caught some massive leather jackets out the western entrance of Western Port – a species that is not often targeted but great to eat and we will put some great recipes up for you in the next few weeks to try.

Where to next?

We will soon be chasing Kingfish in our local waters  along with some off shore gummies and big flathead. Whiting are going to fire right up soon as well so we’re heading for some great fishing.

If you have any questions send us an email.

See you out on the water!


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