silversThe silver trevally action has hotted up this week.

In the winter months the southwest coast of Victoria is usually as it most rugged with big southwesterly blows bringing big swells that last for days on end. Getting out to sea in the boat becomes more difficult and dangerous.

By this time the tuna have become more patchy and the whiting and snapper have becomes much less prolific. While I love the open ocean this is a great time of year to fish the breakwalls and harbours in the region which continue to provide excellent fishing for a range of sportfishing species including Australian salmon, silver trevally and warehou.
Apollo Bay Harbour
Situated in the heart of Apollo Bay, only a short distance from Cape Otway is the Apollo Bay harbour. There is plenty of foot access to the breakwall on the eastern side and you can walk up and fish at the harbour entrance. I ve spent many winter days here over the years fishing for trevally and its not uncommon to catch fish up to 2kg here when there’s a good run of fish. The fish respond well to tide and swell movement at the entrance. I usually set up a light rod for casting for salmon with a small metal and fish holding a bait rod on the bottom. I always berley here with either a berley log or constant flow of small fish pieces and pellets. Salmon often move along the wall and sometimes come into range so keep your eyes out. This is a great location to fish and is protect from a southwesterly wind. If the fish aren’t co-operating you can always try the western side of the harbour where you can also fish from the boat launching jetties. Fish the run in tide and stick it out for the best results.
Port Campbell Pier
Port Campbell Pier is situated in the heart of Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road, not far from the 12 Apostles. The pier is only relatively small with 2 platforms and is used primarily for launching and retrieving commercial fishing vessels. While the pier is situated in the bay and is somewhat protected from the wind and swell it can still become rough so caution need to be exercised when there’s a bit of swell running. Schools of salmon move into the bay from time to time, but the most consistent fishing is for the big silvers that move in in good sized schools in the cooler months. Like any fishing it can be hit and miss here, but with plenty of berley you can usually hold the school around the pier, the hardest part is landing the larger fish around the pylons so its a good idea to fish a little heavier to start as some real cracker fish to over 2kg are caught from this platform each season.

Warrnambool breakwater

Situated in the township of Warrnambool the Warrnambool breakwater is a popular choice for anglers in the winter months. While it does produce trevally, it fishes most consistently for salmon by anglers casting lures or fishing baits at the end of the wall.

Moyne River breakwall
The Moyne rivermouth breakwall is an excellent and scenic place to chase some fish from the rocks. Schools of trevally frequent the area in the winter months and can be caught all along the rock wall out the the river mouth. Schools of salmon occasionally move into the river up to where it forks with the “old passage” but most are taken off the end of the wall. On the south side of the island is the old passage to the sea and occasionally the trevally move into the sand holes in this area providing some excellent fishing only 100m walk from the carpark. Trevally here generally average 300g-1kg, but each year 2kg plus fish which measure over 50cm are landed here.

Portland Harbour
There are plenty of options in Portland harbour, with a long breakwall on the north side, the reclaimed area near the museum and many long piers situated in the harbour. Salmon are always a possibility on the outside of the north wall and you can easily drive along the wall and check out what’s going on, which is great as its several hunderd metres long! Most of my success on trevally here has been inside the harbour around the reclaimed area (western end) and in the canal on the south side. Berley is essential. This is also a great location to target warehou or “snotties” in the winter months with fish ranging from 300g to 1kg regularly captured. These are also a great fighting fish.

Tackle and Techniques
There are a number of ways to fish from structure, you can use 12 foot rods like you would do on the beach and that can help landing the fish amoungst the rocks, but from many of these locations I prefer a light 9ft outfit spooled with 10-15 pound braid. You can hold and fish with them alll day and they’re easy to cast. I usually run a shock leader of 10-15lb flourocarbon depending on the situation, you need some strength for lifting fish, but don’t want to put the fish off the bite when the water is clear. I always use circle hooks with the 2/0-3/0 size being my all round favourite on a simple paternosted rig on the bottom. I always hold my rod and keep the bait moving, you get more bites and don’t miss a fish. Float fishing is also very effective for the trevally and warehou, when float fishing use the samllest float possible and start with a dropper that is around mid water.

There are some really quality fish along this part of the caost with salmon to 4kg and silvers to 3kg. I’m sure plenty of people hook the larger fish, but either fish too light, miss bites because the leader is too heavy and get broken off or pull hooks because they pull too hard. Its a bit of a catch 22 when you get more bites on the lighter leaders, but then might fall down when it comes to landing them. Get the bites first then work the rest out later!! One thing I must stress is berley, berley, berley! If you can hold a school of fish you will have some awesome fishing.

I always have a rod rigged up with a lure, if its for salmon a small metal slug with a single hook is perfect, but if you want a more user friendly lure to suit both silvers and salmon then I suggest a soft plastic in the 3-4 inch size. If you’re fishing the bottom then a grub type pattern is ideal, but small minnow pattern with do the job on both species. Remember you can fish two rods and it doesn’t hurt to have the casting rod ready and it also helps break us a slow bait fishing session.

Without a doubt my favourite baits for this time of year are bluebait and pippies. If fish are a bit tentatively on one bait then usually a change to the other will bring about a better bite. Also if you are finding the fish are a little finicky and you know they are there try staying later until after dark when often you will find the fish really fire up. With the fish baits I always use bait cotton to ensure the bait stays on that way with the circle you can really let the fish take the bait before you lift the rod tip and wind down on the fish.