Fish still in holiday mode
  |  First Published: February 2008

As we anglers get back in to work mode and out of holiday mode, Port Phillip Bay has been producing some quality fishing. When it’s your first day back to work, the last thing you want to hear about is your mates smashing them out in the Bay!

A lot of anglers avoid the southern waters of the Bay around holiday time, mostly because of the high number of anglers on the water, but the fishing can still be great.

The weather has been top shelf too, with plenty of warm days and light winds keeping anglers on the water. Early morning and late evening sessions are still the most productive however, especially on the warmest days. These times can see frantic bites that may last less then an hour, so be prepared.

Trev and Lynette Hogan have been busier than a one legged man in a butt-kicking contest, but as usual have had plenty of quality fish presented back to the scales. Once again, Snapper Snatchers have been doing the damage on the smaller schooled fish. They have proven a handy tool for those who like to catch and release their snapper, as most fish are lip hooked with the circle-style hooks. Small baits of squid or fish fillet are good for sweetening the hooks.

In his latest report, Craig Seignor from Inline Charters summarised that most of his clients are landing smaller snapper of 2-3kg, with a few larger specimens around of 4-6kg. Northerly winds have made the bite a little fickle, which means some hooked fish are lost, but persistence will nearly always pay off. The most productive baits have been silver whiting and yellowtail scad.

Craig also reports that some great whiting have been caught in the middle reaches of the south of the Bay, but for these cagey critters an early start is an absolute must. Like further north in the Bay, where the shallow reef is most productive, look to target areas of rubble in 4-6m of water. Good areas to try are Wooleys Reef, Bird Rock, Rosebud Wreck, Bradford Road Reef and the mussel beds out from Mt Martha. Best baits are fresh mussels, pipis and squid fished on lightly weighted rigs.

Land-based anglers have had a variety of fish to test their skills on lately too, with plenty of squid, garfish, salmon and whiting around the piers. Early starts are best to beat the crowds, especially at Mornington and further south, but the rewards are generally worth it. I saw an angler at Mornington Pier recently with a few ripper whiting he tickled up during an early dawn session, using Bass yabbies near the Schnapper Point Reef. Plenty of jumbo salmon were about on this day too.

The bream fishing has been a little quiet, with a lot of small fish about, but there are some larger fish about if you persist. Some of the more switched on baits anglers have been getting some quality fish, especially after the water dirties a little around the Bay’s rivers and creeks.

Adam Royter and myself took young Dougie Bauer out for an early morning bream session in the Patterson Lakes recently on the morning of his birthday. We caught a few medium-sized fish and Doug was wrapped with the session, and having a ride in my new boat. He didn’t even mind standing in the rain for a couple of hours, and I reckon he is completely hooked on chucking surface lures around the shallows after he watched Adam and I testing the new Ecogear PX45 Walkbaits which will be released shortly. A big thanks to Dougie’s mum, Donna, who cooked up some ripper pancakes for breakfast.

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