Sunday, 3 June 2012

Port Phillip to Sydney and Western Port

Has been a couple of big days for me, it all started with a quick trip out on Wednesday afternoon after work, after knocking off work fairly early I made a quick trip out into Port Phillip for a squid session from the town of Mornington, Mornington is well known for holding big numbers of squid but the quality of them is generally a lot smaller in size compared with those found further south or in Western Port, I spent a few hours on the Western side of Snapper Point landing a handful of small squid to about 800g so I made a short move to Nunns walk finding one at about 1.6kg on a Gan Craft UO-JYA in Crown Nakahira after the cloth jigs failed to attract any attention. Loosing light I made my way back to the ramp as I know I needed to get home to gets heaps done as I was flying to Sydney the next morning.

 I got home after cleaning the boat and packed my gear as quick as I could, it was already 2000 at night and still needed to pack my fishing gear. It was getting later and I had to be up by 0430 so I could be at the Airport by 0645 and the longer I stuffed around the later it was getting. Finally got every thing done and off to sleep. I got to the airport with heaps of time to spare and decided a bucket of coffee was in order so off to Hudsons, while waiting for a coffee I met a guy called David from Perth who was a massive fan of Gan Craft stuff and mentioned he followed my blog so I sat down and had a coffee with him and enjoyed a good conversation about squid fishing in Victoria and my limited experiences on the squid in Perth, its always good to catch up with people who share the same passion for squid and catching them.

Louis EGI-JYA size 3.0
Jumped on the plane and made my way to Sydney, why am I heading to Sydney???? Well I had been invited to do a talk about squid fishing at a store called Otto's Tackle world, Otto's is Sydney's premier tackle store and in recent times the egi style of fishing was getting more popular so it was off to Sydney to talk all things squid. Steve from Gladiator Tackle was good enough to pick me up from the airport and within 45 minutes of my plane landing I arrived in a place called Balmoral in Sydney's eastern suburbs where I met with Louis the store owner of Otto's, Nick from Fishabout charters and Marg one of the NSW sales reps for Gan Craft products. Sydney fisho's  are at the same stage of progression that Victorian squid fishers were at about 5 years ago, believing that a size 2.5 was the biggest egi we could use to catch squid, looking at the trend in Victoria now days most people are going to the 3.5 and size 4.0 jigs as they have realized that small squid can be caught on big jigs and big squid are not as interested in small jigs.
So the battle I had on my hands was going to be proving to the people in Sydney that you can use a size 3 egi in the harbour and still catch squid, not only catch a few squid but the quality of the squid and general numbers of squid caught would be better. On our way to our first spot I was going to be put to the ultimate test catch squid on size 3 jigs in the harbour, normally this is a no brainer but reports from around the traps was that the squid had shut down and it was going to be a tough day. I set up Loius with one of the Australian exclusive colors, #08 Hero as looking at the light conditions and the water conditions it was a cracking choice for a starter. I turned my back to set up and out fit for my self and what would you know......... second cast and the hero color was the hero. Loius landed a squid of about 600g, both the charter operator and Louis seemed some what suprised but the hero was cast out and again landed another squid of about the same size.

For me the size was some what ordinary but apparently for Sydney Harbour they are nice squid. The pattern continued and more squid were landed by all on the size 3 Gan Craft EGI-JYA's. Although down her a size 3 jig is considered the smallest size to use for most of us I can not explain how much of a big deal it was and foreign to be using size 3 jigs in Sydney Harbour and producing squid. Marg had decided it was time to take the next step and whack on a size 3.5 Gan Craft UO-JYA in #19 Flushing Halfbeak, and in rather short time she had landed the best for the day on it.

Harbour Bag
By the end of the trip we had landed 20 squid to a kilo and changed some attitudes about jig size along the way. I was a tad shagged so Steve took me to my hotel so I could take some photo's off my camera and put them into the presentation for the night and have a shower and change. I was fading away to a shadow from starvation (ok well maybe not fading away but I was hungry) and was in desperate need for a feed so when Steve picked me up again we made a quick stop to Mad Pizza in Darlighurst, is you are ever in the area well worth the stop, one of the best pizza's I have consumed or should i say devoured, we got the the shop at about 1800 to get ready for the 1900 gathering. I met most of the staff at the shop who by tackle store staff were up there with some of the better blokes I have met, they were able to help me with all I needed to get set up. As people started to arrive it was good to see a few familiar faces Dan, Mel and Todd and a few of the face book friends I have been talking online with for ages but now managed to put some faces to names. It was a good turn out with about 80 people squeezed into the store for the talk.

The crowd at Otto's
 Loius had orginised some of his fresh caught squid to be cooked as people arrived and also kept a couple of his pride an joy bigger models to be paraded around for all to see as proof they were caught to the suprise of many. We got the talk underway, was great to get heaps of questions, it means there is a great interest in what we were doing. Half way through we had a quick intermission so people could enjoy some more fresh cooked squid, pizza chips and nibbles. about 30 minutes later we got into the rest of the presentation. I think it was well received I guess the only people who can decide that were the people who where there. I enjoyed the talk and even more so the questions that followed, heaps of questions mean heaps of interest.
Louis, me and Steve Blackmore
A massive thanks to the team at Otto's Tackleworld for having me and a big thanks for every one who made there way in to hear what I had to say, if any one is after any Gan Craft products in Sydney this is the place to go to stock up. I got back to the hotel late and pretty much went straight to bed and I knew I had to be up kind of early to get back on a plane and back to Melbourne as I had an appointment to keep and some squid to chase.

Western Port dont get much better than this
After sorting out my appointment I met with Andrew Smith from Hooked on Bait and Tackle in Hoppers Crossing and sponsored Mega Bass angler. We made our way to Hasting to head to the deep south area's of Western Port on a recon mission so to speak, it is about this time of the year when we expect to see the big girls come into the Port and in the southern area in particular, we had fished for about 2 hours without a sniff and then came across a patch of ground that looked promising after a few casts I found this Cuttle fish weighing in at 2.7kg on the scales, they are an awesome creature and it was placed in the live well as Mick who is Andrews boss is apparently a big fan of cuttle fish as a tasty table treat. We spent ages on ground that is normally some of the ports most productive at this time of the year for not a sniff so before we lost light it was decided a move was in order, we made a 40km dash to the middle ground of the Tyabb bank and started a drift, the problem with starting the drift was there was no drift, wind was zero and the port looked more like the Gippsland lakes on a spring morning than Western Port on a winters night. We spent a further hour on the bank for nothing.

Cuttle fish on 3.0 EGI-JYA Sardine color
This is a first time thing for me, I can not remember ever squidding and not catching any squid at all. Its all a learning curve for me and not catching is more important than catching some times, it gives me a better understanding of what not to do the next time I fish in the same conditions. Defeated Andrew and I headed back to the ramp with thoughts on our next trip. It had been a big few days so once fed and home in my recliner I passed out in my chair while we had guests, err sorry for falling asleep on you guys.

Click on pic for full size to see the jig hiding in the web of tentacles