‘Tis the silly season, and it seems the fish are still going a little silly too. Best of all, many anglers have had their fill of snapper pre-Christmas, so now it’s time to get serious about chasing a few different species. It’s not that there are no snapper on offer though – in fact it’s quite the opposite. For those who just love the red fish, now is a great time to target some seriously big snapper in shallow water, during first and last light and at night.
Now is one of the best times of the year to fish the area between Mordialloc and Black Rock. With the water temperature climbing rapidly, numbers of garfish and smaller baitfish such as whitebait will move back into the shallows. Right behind them will be the bigger predators, such as salmon and the often frustrating yellowtail kingfish.
Summer time is also whiting time, and anglers fishing around Parkdale Pinnacles, and any of the other shallow reef patches that abound between Mordialloc and Beaumaris, should start to see good success on these slippery customers. Even though there is almost no tide in the area, it still pays to use a bit of berley to bring the whiting around. The other trick I learnt many years ago, from my great mate Ray Varcoe, was to not rely on pipis for bait. Always have a few fresh mussels, as often the whiting in this area prefer them.
While chasing the whiting, the berley should attract plenty of fat garfish. From now on it pays to get a live one out there, suspended under a bobby cork. Kingfish can show up out of nowhere, harass the garfish, then disappear just as quickly. If you have a livie out you just may turn one of those raids into a hook-up.
The past month has seen a few schools of salmon move into the area. The best results have come from anglers casting soft plastics to the feeding schools.
Moving up towards Ricketts Point and onto Black Rock, anglers should also find whiting, pinkie snapper and some big leatherjackets invading their berley trail. There has also been a lot of yakkas and slimy mackerel out in slightly deeper water, for those anglers who take the time to berley and fish with small Sabiki bait jigs.
For something different, there have been some big snook on the Anonyma Shoal, for anglers trolling with diving minnows or garfish on gang hooks. Out wide on marks such as the Gasso, there are still some quality snapper on offer, and a fair sprinkling of gummy sharks of 3-8kg.
The shallow reefs through the Sandringham to Port Melbourne area are beginning to produce whiting and a few squid, as well as garfish. The coming weeks should see the fishing through here really fire, especially in areas such as Yorkies Reef, Green Point and down off Brighton.
Anglers fishing the gully area out in front of the groynes at Hampton late at night should find some very big snapper on offer.
Moving towards St Kilda, there has been more than the occasional snapper caught in shallow water in front of Elwood Drain, and just off St Kilda Marina, especially by anglers fishing late at night. Here the name of the game is to be quiet and fish in water as shallow as 4m.
Out deeper off Brighton and St Kilda, along the edge of the channel, there are some big snapper to be found as well as the odd mulloway.
It’s an exciting time of year as the water temperature climbs rapidly and the baitfish invade the rivers. This activates the big bream and they become more willing to chase lures. There have been good reports of anglers having some great bream fishing along the wharves while casting small hard-bodied lures such as Bushys Stiffys, especially in places such as the Bolte and Charles Grimes bridges, and up toward the casino
Up in the Maribyrnong, the fishing for bream and mullet continues to be good around the bridge pylons and other structure. Best of all is the scattering of reports that anglers are beginning to hook school mulloway on baits of worm and Bass yabbies.
If you are heading to the Yarra or Maribyrnong, I would strongly suggest dropping into Newport Bait and Tackle. The staff there can let you know exactly what is happening, and the best baits or lures to use on the fish.
The Williamston to Altona area has fished well for snapper this season, with loads of big fish on offer for those who love to chase them. However, there have also been good reports of anglers catching plenty of yakkas and slimy mackerel. If you want to get into battle with a truly big snapper, get hold of a few of these for bait. Fish them live, dead or in pieces – just so long as they are fresh, they will get eaten.
In behind the footy oval, anglers are finding some pinkie snapper during first and last light, as well as some squid, while heading up towards Werribee there are good number of whiting showing themselves.
So there you have it. Summer is great time of year to get out there and experience a variety of fish species, especially those tasty whiting, so get out there and grab a feed of them.Reads: 1865