To say that the arrival of spring this year is very welcome would have to be the understatement of the century!
And this is not only because the intensity and severity of this year’s winter has finally taken a back seat. The promise of what a big winter brings to the following spring and summer’s fishing is what anglers are anticipating most.
Taking a glance over the bay at the moment, I would have to say that it feels more alive and raring to go than I can ever remember. There are countless patches (more like acres) of bait schools, and plenty of predators, birds and others keeping a close eye on the action. The reefs and inshore areas are the most vibrant and alive that I can recall, I can’t wait for the summer months to come.
After taking to local Hobie dealer Scott Lovig recently, it’s nice to know that there are still a few crazy individuals willing to brave a cold late winters morning on the bay.
Getting together for the annual VYak social kayak tournament at Patterson Lakes were 46 kayaking lunatics, many with little or no experience catching bream on lures.
The ‘Patto’ kept it’s tough reputation intact, only giving up 12 bream to the anglers, but those taken were in prime condition, and ripper examples of a thriving population.
I’ve always been a big fan of this system as it represents many unique challenges to bream anglers in the one small system, but the bream are rarely easy to catch, and they really make you earn your stripes, especially as the weather gets warmer and the water clears.
Most of the fish taken by the boys in the yaks came from structure, with small micro-vibes, blades and 100mm squidgy wrigglers doing the trick. Scott Brownless and Matt Petrie finished equal first, Scott Baker 2nd and Neil Carstairs 3rd.
Big bream went to Craig Matthews with 41cm total length (38 fork) 1.2kg specimen. A big thanks to Matt Petrie and Scott Baker for the reports and photos from the event, and to Scott Lovig for his ongoing support.
As far as reports go, things have been a little quiet lately, and we have been experiencing some very ordinary weather. But the usual stand-bys are ever-reliable during these times with salmon, garfish, squid, pinkies and whiting all being a realistic options when conditions are right.
Many anglers are still enjoying the hoards of pinkies on the shallow reefs, but as always the size and numbers of undersized fish can be annoying. Calamari have been a little patchy in the shallow reefs, but somewhat more reliable in slightly deeper areas around the 5m mark.
Smaller Australian salmon have been hanging around the mouth of the Safety Beach marina over the past month, and provide good sport on light tackle and small lures and plastics.
These are one of my favourite snapper and gummy baits, and are great when vacuum packed whole or in fillets. They are also OK to eat if treated well and bled immediately after capture. They make pretty good fish cakes too, especially Thai or Vietnamese style.
While we are on the bait-gathering subject, there are plenty of gars on offer during the calmer days, but this season those days have been rare indeed.
Once again these guys are primo bait, and preferred number one of many of the best snapper anglers I know. Maggots, silver fish and small pieces of peeled prawn or flathead fillet are the best baits, presented under small stick floats. Berley is also essential to prolong bites and keep the gars interested.
I have found the squid very challenging from my normal land-based honey holes close to home over the past few months, but I have had a few consistent reports from anglers fishing wider reefs. Squid are definitely not as thick, or as active at this time of year, but the fishing for them will improve the closer the summer months get.
With the promise of so much great fishing to come over the following months, I am looking forward to big days on the water.Reads: 1220