Winter Fishing in Port Phillip Bay: Catching Whiting and Squid

Winter months in Port Phillip Bay, located along Victoria’s southern coast in Australia, offer an exciting opportunity for anglers to target both King George Whiting and squid. During this time, the bay’s shallow waters are teeming with these species, making it a prime location for a successful fishing expedition. This article will provide essential tips and techniques for catching whiting and squid simultaneously in Port Phillip Bay during winter, focusing on fishing at sunset.

Whiting and Squid: A Perfect Pair

King George Whiting, known for their delicate, sweet taste and fine, white flesh, are highly sought after by anglers. In contrast, squid are prized for their tender meat and are a popular target for both recreational and commercial fishing. Fishing for both species simultaneously is not only convenient, but it also makes for an enjoyable and diverse experience.

Sunset Fishing: The Golden Hour

Sunset is an optimal time for fishing both whiting and squid in Port Phillip Bay. As the day transitions into night, these species become more active, and their feeding patterns change, making them easier to catch. This period, often referred to as the ‘golden hour,’ presents the best opportunity for a successful fishing expedition.

To improve your chances of a successful winter fishing trip, it’s important to consider several key factors. First and foremost, timing is crucial. With the water temperature being significantly colder during this season, setting out early in the morning may not be the best strategy. Instead, targeting fish between 11am and sunset, with a focus on the last three hours before sunset, can yield better results. This is because the sun’s warmth throughout the day tends to increase the likelihood of a bite.

It’s worth noting that fishing during the flood tide or incoming tide is a crucial strategy to keep in mind. As the water temperature tends to be slightly warmer offshore during winter, the influx of this warmer water into Port Phillip Bay, particularly towards the southern end, can trigger a bite. Moreover, it’s been observed that the best bite periods during winter usually coincide with the top of the tide & sunset.

While the video below features whiting fishing in Western Port, it demonstrates the general technique for catching whiting. If you’re new to fishing, watching this video can be beneficial.

Techniques and Tackle for Whiting and Squid Fishing

While targeting both whiting and squid, it is essential to have the appropriate tackle and techniques in place. For whiting, a 7-8 feet long, light to medium action rod with a sensitive tip, 2000-3000 size spinning reel, and 4-8 lb monofilament or braided fishing line are recommended. A 10-15 lb fluorocarbon leader, long shank hooks (size 4 to 6), and small ball or bean sinkers should be used as well. Fresh bait, such as pipis, mussels, squid, or live prawns, is ideal for attracting whiting.

For squid fishing, a specialized squid or egi rod is recommended. These rods have a medium to fast action and are typically 7-8 feet long. Pair the rod with a 2000-3000 size spinning reel and 8-12 lb braided fishing line. A fluorocarbon or monofilament leader with a breaking strain of 10-15 lb should be attached to the mainline. Squid jigs, available in various sizes and colors, are the primary lure for catching squid.

While fishing for whiting, cast your bait near seagrass beds and sandy patches. When targeting squid, focus on areas with rocky reef structures, weed beds, or patches of broken ground. Since squid are attracted to light, using a glow-in-the-dark squid jig can enhance your chances of success, particularly during sunset hours.

Winter fishing in Port Phillip Bay can be an exciting and rewarding experience, particularly when targeting both whiting and squid during the golden hour of sunset. By following the guidelines provided in this article and using the appropriate tackle and techniques, anglers can increase their chances of landing these delicious species. So, grab your gear and head out to Port Phillip Bay to enjoy the best of winter fishing.

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Locations to Catch Squid & Whting in Winter

The Port Phillip Bay Heads offers several superb fishing locations where you can find an abundance of squid and whiting. Here’s a list of popular fishing spots in and around the area:

The Port Phillip Bay Heads is home to numerous excellent fishing locations for catching squid and whiting. Some of the most popular spots include Sorrento Portsea, Rye, St. Leonards, Indented Head, Mount Martha, Queenscliff, Point Nepean, Point Lonsdale, Portarlington, Blairgowrie, Dromana, Mornington, Rosebud, Safety Beach & McCrae. These picturesque locations provide not only fantastic opportunities for fishing but also stunning views of the surrounding area. Enjoy exploring these beautiful spots and making the most of your fishing experience.

  1. Sorrento: The area around Sorrento, including Sullivan Bay, can provide good opportunities for winter whiting fishing. Focus on sandy patches and channels in this region.
  2. Queenscliff: Located at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay, Queenscliff offers excellent whiting fishing opportunities year-round. Look for deeper channels and sandbanks in the vicinity.
  3. Portsea: Portsea, including the area around Portsea Pier, can be productive for winter whiting. Target sandy flats and channels in this region.
  4. Blairgowrie: The Blairgowrie area, including Blairgowrie Pier and surrounding beaches, can offer good winter whiting fishing. Look for channels and areas with seagrass beds.

Remember to adjust your fishing techniques according to the winter conditions. Whiting may be more scattered and feeding patterns may differ during colder months. Experiment with bait choices, such as using fresh squid strips, pipis, or small pieces of pilchard. It’s also important to be patient and persistent, as whiting can be more selective in colder water temperatures.

As always, make sure to check local fishing regulations, including size and bag limits, and have the necessary fishing licenses before you start fishing.

This map highlights the prime locations for targeting squid and whiting during the winter season.

During winter, Whiting and Squid fishing is typically done in shallow waters ranging from 2-8 meters. It’s worth noting that Whiting spawn in winter, which can result in erratic biting patterns at times.

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