Options abound for local anglers at this time of year with a range of species occupying the warm inshore reefs from Williamstown right through to Avalon.
After a sensational snapper season in the west, the bite is gradually tapering off but there are still fish being caught out wide. Closer to shore, King George whiting have descended upon the shallows over the past month with many anglers returning to the ramp with a feed.
Whiting will be high on the agenda in February, but there are still a few reds around for those who wish to hedge their bets. Keen anglers often set out in search of snapper at first light before returning to the whiting grounds around mid-morning. Fresh mussel has been by far the most productive bait, followed closely by pipi and small pieces of tenderised squid.
Once you’ve located a few fish, the use of berley such as chook pellets, minced fish scraps or empty mussel shells helps to keep the school close to the boat. The most consistent action generally occurs in just 3m of water in areas that offer a mixture of sand, reef and rubble.
While most of the reports have come from the Point Cook region, expect Kirks Point, Point Wilson and Avalon to fire over the coming month. Garfish are also likely to show up in a berley trail while some hefty flathead were encountered in the shallows at this time last year.
As the metropolitan rivers settle after an extended period of heavy rain, the resident bream have come back online and should continue feeding hard from February through to Easter. As the month progresses, pinkie snapper are also expected to make an appearance in the lower reaches of the Yarra River.
Darren Ryan ventured out off Williamstown in his kayak and found himself back at the beach with a bag of snapper within just 40 minutes! Pedalling out to the 8m line, fresh squid accounted for a solid fish almost immediately. Shortly after rebaiting, all three of Darren’s rods buckled over simultaneously. Fortunately he managed to land two of those fish and headed back to the beach before sundown with three snapper up to 4.5kg.
Casting soft plastics in 6m of water has produced the odd pinkie snapper to 2kg, although there are plenty of juveniles to sort through. Flathead to 50cm and some very large snook are also available in the shallows.
Sam and Louisa Ira bagged six snapper to 3kg in 16m of water off Point Cook. Teaming up with Jason Corbo, Sam managed a few more snapper the following day before returning to the shallows in search of whiting. Battling strong southeasterly winds, Sam and Jason secured their bag of whiting either side of the low tide change in 3m of water.
Squid have also been taken in reasonable numbers but they are a little on the small side. Jig size is perhaps more important than colour at them moment. For the best results the smaller 2.5 size patterns in natural tones are recommended.
Tony Spiteri from Two Up Charters had a great afternoon session with clients in 20m of water off Werribee South. Heading out towards Carrum, baits of sliver whiting accounted for 15 snapper to 4kg within the first hour in the lead up to a storm. While it was a little slow for the remainder of the session, consistent berleying with cubed pilchards produced a few more fish in perfectly calm conditions.
Water clarity has improved in both the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers and the fish have responded with bream to 35cm taken on small hardbodied lures cast along the rocky shoreline. Walking the banks of the Maribyrnong River has been productive for the lure brigade with increasing numbers of legal-size bream taken amongst plenty of small models. Interestingly, the odd juvenile mulloway of less than 40cm has been taken on lures intended for bream.
Since the December floods, life has been restored to the upper reaches of our local rivers that have largely remained stagnant for much of the past decade. Redfin have been taken in reasonable numbers on soft plastics and bladed lures in the both Maribyrnong and Werribee rivers.
Ryan Scarborough reports that some huge carp have been taken on worms and corn at Brimbank Park, while Werribee residents have also caught carp on bread from above the Weir right through to Bungies Hole. Further down the highway, Hovells Creek at Lara has produced carp on bread, corn and small single tailed soft plastics.
Scheduled to coincide with the Melbourne International Boat and Lifestyle Festival held at New Quay Docklands, the 2011 Vic Bream Classic Series gets underway during the first weekend in February. Competitors are permitted to fish the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers or may choose to venture out into Port Phillip to target bream holding around jetty pylons and moored boats.
Weather permitting anglers can also make the run across to the Werribee River or Patterson Lakes system in search of their tournament-winning bag. More information is available at www.vicbreamclassics.com.au .
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