Want to catch a Gummy Shark….here are all the tricks & tips
With the cooler months of the year upon us there are now different fishing opportunities that present themselves to those that still want to fish through the cooler months.
One species that falls into this category is the Gummy Shark. There’s an abundance of Gummy Sharks around in a number of areas around the west coast and they aren’t that hard to catch. They are the best eating out of all Sharks and can be caught from both boat and land based.
We’ll talk about how to catch a Gummy, where and also when.
Gummy Sharks can be caught all year round but I really like the colder months as they seem to be in really good condition, they do move to closer inshore grounds over this time of the year which makes them easy to target. There’s less crowds and often you will have a big area all to yourself weather your in the boat or off of the beach.
Coffin Bay would have to be one the best areas to target Gummy Sharks and there are a multitude of areas to fish for them. In the boat you can fish them from Kellidie Bay all the way to Coles Point, there’s just so many areas that hold Gummy Sharks.
Land based fishers also have plenty of options, there is a stack of good ledges around Dutton Bay but they also can be caught from beaches in the national park and from the rocks at Coles Point and Frenchman’s. Most surf beaches all the way past Ceduna also hold good numbers of Gummy Sharks at this time of year with areas like Tuckermore, Scotts and the Dog Fence being quite good over winter. Around Port Lincoln from Carcase Rocks to Memory Cove holds a few and also out at the Group at Tumby is another area where Gummy Sharks can be caught in reliable numbers.
The best times vary to catch Gummy Sharks, I’ve caught them at all times of the day and night and different stages of the tide but the consistent time to target Gummy Sharks would have to be late afternoon and into the first few hours of darkness, this is when they seem to be most active. The best time to fish in any given spot can vary generally, I do like calm weather in the boat for night fishing and the full moon also gets the Gummies out about, they will come into quite shallow water on a calm day and full moon. For beach fishing it’s best when the swell is down and an offshore wind also helps, they will bite quite strongly in rough water if you prefer those conditions.
Areas to look at for Gummy Sharks are areas that have quite a lot of sand. Gummy Sharks love eating sand crabs so if you can fish an area with sand crabs or even rock crabs you are on the right course. Big sand holes and sandy channels are good starting points for those in the boats. If you are fishing in rocky areas try fishing off the rocks and into the sand. For beach fishers, look for big gutters on the surf beaches, there will almost certainly be sand crabs in those gutters and the Gummy Sharks will be there.
Rods and reels vary and with boat fishing you don’t have to have the best of the best to target Gummy Sharks, they can be caught on quite light gear and many Gummy Sharks on the Eyre Peninsula are caught on Whiting gear. My preferred Gummy Shark gear for boat fishing is the Shimano Baitrunner 6000 reels or Shimano Saragosa 6000 matched with a Shimano Sentire Stealth PE 2-3 rod which have a white tip and can be easily seen at night for any bite indication. I use a 6kg or 8kg mono which is quite light but many others will use 30-50lb braid if you don’t want to muck around.
Beach and rock fishers will need heavier rod and reel setups. 12-13 foot rods that have a line rating between 15-20kg should be the starting point. Good rods to look at are a new range of Assassin rods that originate from South Africa, Penn Prevails and Daiwa Sand Storm or Sensor Surf rods. Pretty much what you would use to target Mulloway would be best as you do often need to cast out heavy baits and sinkers. For surf reels any of the larger reels from Shimano, Daiwa or Penn will be fine, all these brands have dedicated long cast surf reels that will get the job done and 30lb mono is the best line for surf fishing. Braid can be problem if weed is around and knots up far worse than mono.
Rigs are simple, for boat fishing I use an 8/0 or 10/0 Shinto octopus circle hook with 100cm of 80lb mono leader with a sliding ball sinker running between the hook and swivel. The size of the ball sinker depends on the current and depth of water but usually a 30gm sinker is all that’s needed. In the surf you will need either a big star or grapnel sinker 6-8oz depending on surf conditions with a set ganged 8/0 or 10/0, around 50-60cm above the sinker very much the same as you would use for Mulloway or Salmon.
Baits for Gummy Sharks is pretty simple, fresh is best and Salmon fillets are on the top of the list. Tuna is also a great bait and any off cuts from when you have caught a Tuna will work well, Squid is the next best option and is always a good bait, but most other fish baits work including Tommies, Garfish, Snook fillet, Mackerel and Mullet are also worth trying.
Burley also can make a huge difference and I use it as often as I can, it can be as little as a block of pilchards or fish heads from last time you went out Whiting fishing, as well as Salmon heads and Tuna heads which have the best smell and Gummies come from everywhere to sniff these out. Either chop everything up and throw out the burley or put it all in scaling bag and let it sit on the bottom or of the beach peg the bag down with a star picket and let the waves disperse all the scent around.
Often you will hook lots of Rays when out fishing for Gummy Sharks, you can tell the difference between the two when hooked. Rays will initially take a strong run first up but with Gummy Sharks you can feel the head shakes and also the tail rubs on the line that feel much different to Rays. They also fight a lot closer to the boat where a Ray may take a long run far from your boat.
Once you have the Shark on the beach or on the boat you can choose to release or keep. If you do choose to keep bag and boat limits do apply. A size limit of 45cm applies for Gummy Sharks and this is measured from the 5th gill slit to the base of the tail. There is a personnel daily bag limit of 2 per person and a maximum boat limit of 6 with 3 or more people on board. This is a combined limit with school Sharks, full details can be viewed on the PIRSA website.
Gummy Sharks are great eating, probably the best out of all Sharks caught in South Australia and its important to look after your catch correctly. Sharks do have an ammonia content and it’s best to dispatch the Shark promptly. I have always taken off the head, fins and guts as soon as possible for any Sharks that I choose to keep, they will taste much better and make sure you always ice down your catch. One good sized Shark is plenty and there’s plenty of fillets on one to take home, it is good practice to release any big fat females. Usually, they will be full of pups. Gummy Sharks are well worth braving the colder weather and they are quite good fun and the kids will love catching them.
If you want to give it a go then head instore and ask the team about catching Gummy Sharks over winter.