How to catch gummy shark
The offshore waters of Gippsland offer executional opportunities to catch gummy sharks, which are delicious to eat and more commonly encountered as flake from fish and chip shops. A significant population of gummy sharks reside off Ninety Mile Beach, which is home to lots of sand crabs, a favourite food of gummies. While these sharks can be caught in shallow water near the beach, they are more confident swimming the shallows in the dark.
For boat-based fishing, the optimal zone for catching gummies is in 15-30 metres of water. Drifting is a popular technique, but anchoring and setting baits with a light berley trail can prove more effective for targeting a gummy as they will swim up-current if they smell potential food. Although this approach requires patience and may yield bycatch, persistence will eventually reward you with a gummy. Another excellent spot is the edge of offshore reefs where gummy sharks patrol. They also show up in flathead catches at various depths.
When pursuing a hard fighting gummy, a 7-foot rod rated at 10-15kg with a 5000 or larger sized spin reel, or equivalent overhead, will work fine. The main line should be 30-50lb braid with a rod length leader of 60lb monofilament. It’s widely accepted that an Ezi Rig allows you to change bomb sinker sizes to suit the strength of the tide. A single 6/0 or 7/0 circle hook is ideal. Don’t forget a large and sturdy landing net. You will need it! A paternoster rig is also ideal for deeper drifts. Squid, eel, fish fillets and pilchards are all effective baits, though fresh salmon or trevally are favourites.
Catching a good-sized gummy shark from a surf beach is an exhilarating experience. On a high tide at night, gummy sharks cruise into shallow water, using their excellent sense of smell to search for crabs. This is the best time for shore-based fishers to target them. A long cast will reach at least a metre or so of water depth where gummies patrol gutter edges.
To fish for gummies from the beach, a 12-14 foot surf rod is required. The longer length helps with bigger casts and keeps the line out of the waves to some extent. It's important to use braided fishing line in the surf as it reduces the effects of side current. Combine this with pyramid or grapnel sinkers to hold bottom.
A single dropper paternoster rig, tied in 60-pound monofilament with a 7/0 circle hook is ideal. Baits of squid or fish fillet are good however if crabs are rampant in the area, eel makes a better option because it’s tougher. Add a rod holder made of PVC pipe to keep your outfit out of the sand. The smell of your bait should attract any gummy shark in the area, or you can lightly berley from the shore. Be prepared for bycatch of large rays and skates so take spare leader, hooks and sinkers to rerig, and a head torch!