March is something of a transition time for Port Phillip Bay anglers. The snapper and whiting are still around, but anglers should start coming into contact with winter species like salmon and snook. All in all, it makes for a great variety of angling action.
The past weeks have seen a few squid caught from the Mordialloc Pier. Anglers fishing both shallow and deep have also caught excellent numbers of garfish. The odd whiting has been caught around dark by anglers fishing on the broken bottom that abounds on the north side of the Pier.
Not to be left out, boat anglers are taking decent numbers of whiting from the Parkdale Pinnacles and the small reefy lump known as Brickies. These are also prime spots to berley up the gars and then put one out live for a marauding kingfish.
In Beaumaris Bay, the squid are starting to fire up off the Beaumaris Pier and over the surrounding reefy areas. The coming weeks will hopefully see big salmon schools take up residence around the mussel farms, so keep an eye out for them.
Up through Ricketts Point, Wayne Wright from Southern Sportfishing in Black Rock reports scattered catches of whiting throughout the area, as well as a smattering of pinkies to 40cm. The next month should see them start to move onto the reefs in numbers. There are a few schools of salmon in the area, and although they are not up and feeding every day, they are there so keep and eye out for them.
For those who like trolling, now is the time to get out a few small minnow pattern lures and troll them along the outside edge of the Marine Park. Here you should find plenty of snook, with some real thumpers amongst them. It is also a good time of year for catching pinky snapper on the same lures. My favourite lures include the Tilsan Barra, Rapala Shad Rap (8cm) and Manns Stretch 10+.
Land-based fishing is improving as garfish numbers increase around the rock groynes in front of Hampton. Anglers fishing the area known as The Gully are also finding success on the whiting and pinkies, especially around dusk and into dark.
Working the shallow reefs is also starting to produce a few red mullet. Try fishing with small soft plastics and you will find they are good fun to catch and top eating.
Out round the Anonyma Shoal, it is a great time to continue your trolling from Black Rock. Often the really big snook will be schooling up around this offshore reef. It is also a top place to anchor up, berley and fish with fresh mussels for some really big whiting.
Down towards St Kilda and around the North Road area, some good fishing can be had in March for whiting on the shallow reef areas.
Towards St Kilda and out off places such as the drain at Elwood, get into the shallow water (4-8m) during darkness, and you can find yourself in contact with some big angry shallow water snapper. There has also been a few squid in the area, so get out and get a few of them for bait. The reds just love them, either in pieces or live.
Out deeper along the edge of the shipping channel, especially towards the Yarra, is a good place to concentrate your efforts on finding a mulloway. In between, you may just find some snapper or gummy sharks.
The Yarra River continues to produce good numbers of bream, and while the overall size is down a little of late, that is sure to change over the coming weeks. In the early mornings and late afternoons, you should see the big bream up high in the water column, chewing all the good bits off the pylons.
Over the next few weeks, numbers of mullet should begin to increase in the river. Those who don’t like sleep will be getting excited, as this will begin to herald the arrival of those mysterious chrome bars called mulloway.
In the Maribyrnong River, bream have been in good numbers. Again, although the size has been down a little, the big ones are there somewhere, so it may be worth trying some different spots.
Out in the deep water off P2, Allan from Newport Bait and Tackle reports some good catches of snapper, with most of these fish around 5-6kg. He told me that the key to success has been to fish around dawn and dusk.
For the land-based anglers, there have also been good numbers of whiting along the rockwalls at Williamstown, with best baits being pipis and mussels.
In the main channel at the Newport Boat Ramp, anglers are finding a few bream, trevally and mullet, although over the coming weeks this area will really begin to fire up.
Further along the coast, anglers are finding good numbers of whiting and pinkies from the ‘black stick’ area at Altona. Matt Hunt, from Matthew Hunt Fishing Services, reports excellent numbers of whiting all through Point Cook, Altona Bay and down around St Leonards.
All through this broken ground is a prime area for other species such as squid and flathead. For the angler who likes a bit of active fishing, casting soft plastics or a squid jug around will usually pay off with a very tasty reward. You can also run a small squid jig on a paternoster rig just off the bottom while whiting fishing - you may just be surprised at how many squid you catch.Reads: 2023