As a more traditional Melbourne winter gradually comes to an end, a greater range of species start to look for a feed.
Once September rolls around, anglers from all parts of the state will no doubt be gearing up for the much-anticipated Port Phillip snapper season that’s just around the corner. For those searching for an early season red this month, fish to 3kg were taken along the edge of the inshore reefs at Williamstown, Altona and Point Cook at this time last year.
Anchoring in 6-9m of water just prior to sunrise and berleying hard with cubed pilchards during the incoming tide is a proven method. Casting baitfish profile soft plastics, such as Squidgy Flick-baits and Berkley Minnows or Jerk Shads in pilchard colour patterns, is another worthwhile option.
Smaller pinkies are also expected to continue feeding in the shallows. Out wider, P2 and Fawkner Beacon are more likely to produce later in the month, as schools of snapper averaging 2-4kg start to mill around these marks.
As is often the case, those who put in the hard yards and make the most of limited opportunities are generally rewarded for their efforts. In particular, Michael Kaos landed an impressive winter snapper from Lagoon Pier at Port Melbourne. The fish weighed in at 11.2lb (or about 5kg) and was taken on fresh squid late at night, four days prior to the full moon.
It had been quite a while since Ben Laverty was last on the water, but he did manage to get out off Williamstown recently, albeit in windy conditions. Accompanied by his brother James, the boys set about finding a few pinkie snapper while drifting in 4-6m of water just out from Point Gellibrand. Casting Berkley Turtleback Worms in the Camo colour pattern produced plenty of undersize fish along the edge of the reef. Moving in closer to shore provided some protection from the building northerly wind and also resulted in a dozen larger specimens ranging from 35-55cm.
Chris Boyne headed out off Williamstown in his kayak and managed a few pinkie snapper to 35cm during the last few hours of the run-in tide. Once again, casting worm pattern soft plastics over broken ground produced the goods.
Similar success has been experienced around at Altona where some anglers are reporting huge catch and release bags of 40-50 pinkies in a session. Admittedly, many of these fish have been undersize with a few keepers up around the 35-40cm mark taken on various soft plastics.
Flathead numbers should be on the rise as we move into spring and there’s likely to be a few Australian salmon lurking in the shallows just out from Apex Park at Altona.
According to Andre Lindsey from Melbourne Fishing Charters, it has been tough going of late, with just a few rock ling to 40cm taken during their last trip for the season. He also mentioned that it was the quietest winter in years, although the inclement weather hasn’t helped their cause. Frequent cold fronts and plenty of wind and rain have certainly made for a frustrating period, but Andre and his crew will be back on the water in September, just in time for the snapper season.
Pinkie snapper are also providing entertainment on the inshore reefs at Point Cook, while a few squid are starting to make a comeback in this area.
After speaking to a few anglers at the Werribee South boat ramp recently, it seems flathead have been about in good numbers with fish from 25-55cm taken on bluebait, squid, soft plastics and blades in 8-12m of water.
Yellow-eye mullet have been a reliable target in the lower Yarra River with fish up to 35cm taken on maggots, dough and chicken throughout the cooler months. Nick Vasiljevic reports that large schools of mullet have moved into the warm water outlet at Newport. At this stage, only a handful of tailor have reportedly been caught at the Warmies, but local anglers are confident they will show up again in early spring.
Ryan Scarborough from Noel Clarks Tackle Bar reports that bream have been taken on bibbed minnows and soft plastics in the upper reaches of the Maribyrnong River. A good friend and regular customer of Ryan’s also landed what he thought was either an estuary perch or a bass, right up near the ford at Avondale Heights, which is interesting news!
According to my fishing diary, Docklands and the Werribee River were the standouts as far as the local rivers are concerned with some cracking bream to 40cm plus taken from these areas last year. Fresh or live baits such as mussel, tube worms and Bass yabbies presented close to structure during the latter stages of a rising tide are your best options.
Outside of these hours, repeatedly casting carefully presented lures or soft plastics into areas known to hold bream may induce a reaction bite.
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