The winter beginnings of the last month or so have well and truly given way to some chilly days on the bay over the last month.
Even though we have had some glamour days for boating and fishing, the lower mercury levels have kept many anglers off the water. Can’t say I disagree with them when the wind is howling and the rain is hosing down; I reckon a session on the couch watching the footy sounds pretty good indeed.
But when the finer and calmer conditions do prevail, you are definitely missing out on some good fishing and quality table fish if you don’t have a go.
Some anglers haven’t even been waiting for the weather to settle before they wet a line. I have had several reports this month of some real rod bending action from the piers. Big salmon up to 3kg have been hunting bait around Seaford, Frankston and Mt Eliza during the strong onshore afternoon westerly blows.
These great sport fish are great fun on light tackle, and will really pull the kinks out of your line when they get a little bigger. They will also frequently venture into quite shallow water, even the shoreline gutters right along the beach.
Working birds are normally a good sign of fish, and they can be easily seen at times swimming in big schools. Fast retrieved metal lures and soft plastics are very effective, as well as baits rigged unweighted or under floats.
During calmer conditions in the same areas between Carrum to Mornington, there have also been plenty of garfish on offer, although they have been a little hard to keep on the chew for any length of time. As usual, good berley and bait is essential, as well as lighter weighted floats.
The presence of predators like salmon and others tend to keep the gars a little wary, but persistence and timing your trips during the lower light periods is always best.
Snapper reports have been very sparse over the past month, especially as many of the snapper anglers have turned their cars west in search of the mighty SBT. And who can blame them, but there are still plenty of reds in the bay, but getting them to take the gas is a whole different story.
Although a large number of snapper will have left Port Phillip for Bass Strait at the end of their spawning migration, a few persistent anglers are still catching quality snapper with good regularity.
I have had a few reports of 3-4kg fish being taken, as well as a ripper 6kg specimen taken by Mick Sewell, right on the gong of winter.
Some ripper gummies continue to come in as well, especially further south in the bay. It is worth mentioning that larger females are likely to be carrying pups at this time of year, so be sure to return these fish, and their mums back to the water unharmed, so they can provide fish for our future.
The southern areas have also been turning on the whiting action, especially towards the rip, but there are still a few good patches of fish in my neck of the woods, especially around Ranelagh and Bird Rock reefs.
These whiting have only been coming on the bite for less than an hour on dusk, and have been responding well to fresh mussel and pipi baits. If you’re still keen for a few nice fillets of whiting, you better be quick, I don’t reckon this action will last much longer.
But with the season we have had so far, who knows, they might even hang around until next summer.
The southern reaches of the bay have been turning on some ripper squid action over the past month, and this will only get better over the next couple of months as spawning females move in to drop their eggs on the reefs.
Squid fishing is a crazy and funky sport these days and is really gaining some huge popularity. Personally, I love my squid fishing, and I have been getting some quality calamari land-based recently around Mornington and Mount Martha. I also landed a ripper cuttlefish just before the time of writing, which is a first for me from the rocks.
Lately the squid have been responding well to red and orange jigs with plenty of scent on them. Numbers are generally down, but the fish are in great condition and better than average size.
And to top things off for another month, there are hoards of pinkies around the inshore reefs for the lure and bait anglers, but many are undersized. These fish are generally very willing, and small metal blade style lures have been very effective.
Lightly weighted fillet baits are also good, but circle hooks are recommended for the safe release of smaller fish.Reads: 1998