On a warm summers afternoon, the Tackle Shack is buzzing with keen anglers heading out for a fish, be it off the beach or in the tinny. If you were to ask one of these anglers where they’re planning to fish, the answer is quite often Killarney Beach. So what’s so special about Killarney?
Easy access is a good start. A good gravel road leads to a beach launch for boats, whilst outer reefs calm the inshore lagoon and make clean, still beaches ideal for land based anglers. In most weather conditions, Killarney offers protected fishing options while many other beaches are blown out. Being halfway between Warrnambool and Port Fairy, it is close to home for many anglers, and not far off the highway for travelling anglers. A range of species are on offer at all times of the year, whether you’re looking for a feed or a few hard-pulling sports fish.
Whiting are easily the most sought after target at Killarney over summer. The most common way to target the King George Whiting that frequent the bay is to beach launch a boat or kayak. Find a patch of reef with a sand border (which isn’t too hard) in 2-8m of water. Use some burley, either pellets or a frozen log, and fish pippies/squid on a light paternoster rig. Black Magic Whiting Snatchers are very popular and effective. Many anglers will drift with the current, and anchor once they find the fish. Make sure you have several baits pre cut, as the fishing can get very fast-paced once the fish are found. Evenings are the most popular time, and often the best. However, many anglers do fish in the daytime and still get plenty of fish. There isn’t many real hotspots for these fish as they do move a lot, so any of the shallow sandy reefs inside the bay are quite productive. Beach anglers, targeting the same reefs with the same baits, can also do quite well on the whiting.
Squid can often be targeted in the same locations as the whiting. With whiting fishing however, you are targeting the sandy parts of the reef, whilst with squid the reefy areas are more productive. A small jig of size 3.0 in the boat, or size 3.5 land based (for casting distance) is ideal. Colour is really whatever you prefer as everyone has their own favourites, but it’s hard to deny the effectiveness of black, brown and white jigs. The sand spit to the left of the boat ramp leading to the point is quite popular for land based squid anglers. Clear, calm waters are preferred with not too much tidal movement. Squid also make a great whiting bait if you get onto a few!
The salmon are more of a seasonal target than the resident squid and whiting, coming in schools through the year and moving quickly. Winter is the most consistent time to get yourself a salmon or two, however we have just experienced a fantastic summer run of fish last December and January with fish to nearly 4kg. The sandy point and open surf beaches to the east are the most popular spots, but these fish are fast swimmers and follow the food so they can be found anywhere inside the bay. During summer, large salmon also congregate on the back of the outside reefs and can be seen on the surface. The most popular salmon tactic is beach casting with metal lures of 40-60g, and a 9 foot rod. Increasing numbers of anglers are now switching to lighter tackle and stick bait lures, catching just as many fish but having more fun doing it. Trolling in a tinny is extremely effective, as a lot of water can be covered quickly. A small skirt, or metal lure, trolled with a fair amount of speed inside the bay is perfect.
These three targets, whilst the most popular, aren’t the only species on offer at Killarney; there are also snapper, flathead, kingfish, mullet, garfish, flounder… the list goes on! So why not rig the rods and give it a crack one night?