Gale force winds and torrential rain swept across the state last month, flooding rivers and filling many of our inland lakes and reservoirs.
Despite the inclement weather, those prepared to brave the elements and make the most of limited opportunities have reported increasing numbers of bream in some of the rivers, while schools of pinkie snapper and Australian salmon have kept anglers occupied on the inshore reefs. Looking back to this time last year, most of the major snapper marks from Williamstown through to Werribee were firing by early October.
Local anglers will be pleased to know that the installation of floating pontoons and general improvement works at both Hobsons Bay Boat Ramps is now complete, just in time for the snapper season. Please be aware, however, that maintenance dredging of the Altona Safe Harbour entrance and eastern rockwall is expected to continue well into October. During this period the launching facilities will be operational but there are likely to be some delays.
WILLIAMSTOWN TO ALTONA
James and Ben Laverty headed out off Altona recently where plenty of pinkies from 35-40cm kept them entertained. The boys had a great session casting worm pattern soft plastics in 3-6m of water during the last of the run-out tide. Returning a week later, James found himself amongst a school of salmon, after spotting them herding up baitfish at the back of the Williamstown Football Ground. While salmon up to about a kilo ploughed through the bait school from all directions, pinkie snapper were also working them over from below. It was action aplenty for 30 minutes or thereabouts before the fish moved on.
Salmon have also been patrolling the inshore reefs from Altona through to Point Cook, occasionally pushing bait up against the shoreline to within casting distance of land-based anglers. The kayak brigade have enjoyed a few shallow water sessions, particularly in the area just out from Apex Park. Large schools of salmon have also been spotted feeding heavily within just a few 100m of the Altona Boat Ramp. Any sign of birds working in this area is certainly worthy of investigation.
The tailor finally showed up at the Warmies during late winter, albeit briefly, with some anglers reporting up to a dozen fish per session. It certainly wasn’t red-hot action by any stretch of the imagination and most fish were been taken well after dark.
PoinT COOK TO AVALON
Schools of small salmon have been lurking around the inshore reefs at Point Cook and occasionally turning up at Werribee South. While the average size is just 25-30cm, anglers have been stocking up their bait supply for an assault on the snapper over the coming months.
Michael Felsovary from Hooked on Bait and Tackle reports that some decent gummy sharks have been taken in 5-6m of water at Campbells Cove on fresh salmon fillets. According to Mick, fish up to 7kg have been reported of late, although the average size has been about 3-4kg.
During a traditionally difficult time of the year for fishing in the bay, the metropolitan rivers were a real saviour for many anglers this winter, with consistent reports of bream, pinkie snapper, mullet, silver trevally and even the odd school mulloway. Since the early spring deluge, however, reports from the both the Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers have been few and far between. After a significant influx of freshwater, most tidal estuaries, rivers and creeks usually shut down for a period of time, depending of course on the volume of water entering the system. Often the fishing can be much better after a decent flush, but it does take some time for it to settle and the fish to resume feeding in areas we generally expect.
When the rivers are in semi-flood and discoloured, try fishing a little deeper in the water column and concentrate your efforts around the higher tides. After a substantial downpour, it may pay to search further downstream, towards the mouth of the system at Newport and Williamstown. Metal blades and scented soft plastics that create plenty of vibration are good options in murky conditions. For the bait anglers, freshwater yabbies and scrub worms are also known to produce some good fish after rain.
While millions of litres of stormwater run off have put things on hold in the rivers, it hasn’t affected the fishing at Victoria Harbour. Again pinkie snapper have been on the chew with fish up to 55cm taken on fresh mussel and worm pattern soft plastics. Some hefty bream up to 39cm and small silver trevally have been taken on similar techniques. Casting small vibration style lures up against the jetty pylons has also been productive for bream. River2Sea Baby Vibes (35mm) and Strikepro Micro Vibes (25mm) have been the standouts, but it does take some persistence to master this technique.
Yellow-eye mullet and salmon have been reasonably consistent in the lower estuary, while bream to 38cm have succumbed to tube worms up around the Pines. Further upstream, some solid redfin nudging 40cm were taken on earthworms and soft plastics during early spring.
History shows that your best chance to secure a Port Phillip red is from October through to December. If you’d like to see your name and perhaps a picture of your catch in print over the coming months, please forward your reports and images to --e-mail address hidden--
After launching from Altona, James Laverty picked up a few pinkie snapper in the shallows during the last of the run-out tide.
On holidays from England, Jonathon scored his first pinkie snapper on the inshore reefs off Altona.
Pinkie snapper have been providing some entertainment inside Victoria Harbour over the past month with fish up to 55cm taken on fresh mussel and worm pattern soft plastics.
After months of dedication, Joey Regali and his father John had a day to remember at Docklands, as bream, pinkie snapper and silver trevally were on the chew for most of the day.Reads: 1853