Quality catches in store for winter
  |  First Published: April 2008

Some ripper weather has, once again, dictated the setting for the past month in the south of the bay. After returning home from a two-week trip to Tassie, it has been hard to turn a blind eye to a glassy calm bay and even a few empty parks at the ramp!

The imminent threat of dredging has not dampened the quality of the fishing, and the variety of fishing options on offer has continued this month. The calm and warm weather has kept the inshore waters very clear, and alive with all manner of fish and forage species. And the same has to be said for the deeper areas of the bay, judging by the great reports I have had over the past month.

Similar to the previous month, there are still good numbers of snapper out wide, although they can be a little patchy and hard to find at times. Funnily enough, the hottest and calmest days seem to be the best, but some quality time is still needed studying the sounder to find the better concentrations. My advice is to try and find better quality marks that are closer to the bottom and not hanging in mid water, these fish are most likely to be feeding. The 21m mark, out from Frankston down to Mornington, seems to be the most productive at the moment.

Craig from Victorian Sports fishing Adventures once again reports that the most success his customers are having at present is casting and retrieving jighead weighted soft plastics. Berkley 4” minnows in smelt and pearl watermelon are the hot lures, but Craig’s clients have also had success using 100mm Squidgy flick baits and 5.5” Ecogear minnows. Many of these fish are in the 1-2kg bracket, but some better specimens up to 4kg are keeping the anglers interested.

Not to be outdone by the lure anglers, some of the bait fishers have also been doing well, particularly wide out from Carrum. Daniel and Tom Hogan landed a ripper 3.6kg red around the 22m mark out from Carrum recently while out with Pro Red Fishing Charters. The boys used a combination of baits during the trip, with the most productive being silver whiting.

The boaties fishing out from the wider marks have also been doing well on fresh garfish, which are in virtual plague proportions on the inshore reefs, particularly around Seaford, Frankston, Mt Eliza, Mornington and Mt Martha. These guys are not only great bait, but make pretty good tucker too, and are great fun for kids. They also respond to a wide variety of techniques, especially when there is plenty of burley in the water. Best baits are maggots, peeled prawn, silverfish and small sliver of flathead. If you like a challenge, crack out the fly gear or try small 1-2” soft plastics and small hooks.

The land-based crew are not missing out on the garfish action either, as well as plenty of squid, pinkies and small salmon. I saw a bloke cleaning up on the Seaford Pier recently, landing some real elbow slappers on his secret bait. He wouldn’t tell me what it was, but it looked a lot like chicken, at least that’s what it tasted like!

Further south, pier anglers are still getting amongst the whiting, although some very clear water has made them a little fussy, especially during the brighter times of the day. Try using lighter line and fresh baits and you should have better success. I would also recommend using small circle hooks to increase your hook up rate. Bass yabbies would be my number one choice of bait.

If you’re after a bit of arm stretching, then there’s plenty of big salmon around, and most of them are popping up whiting spitting distance of the shore.

I watched a big school working the beach at Mt Martha recently, herding big baitfish right up against the shore. Funnily enough, my young mate, Mark Bolger, tangled with a couple in the same area a couple of days later, and is now about 125 yards of Fireline lighter on one of his spinning reels. I would have paid money to watch his little legs running along the sand after the fish, but his phone replay only minutes later was reward enough.

Anyone who’s caught big salmon on light tackle knows how much fun it can be, and how much they love a fast retrieved lure plastic or fly. Most of the schools are presently around Mornington and further south around the rip.

Further kingfish sightings have continued this month, with a few smaller specimens being landed off the pier at Mornington and the rocks at Bradford Road. The boys at Cranbourne fishing Tackle weighed two small kingies about 3kg each last week, and there have been a few reports of much larger fish hooked and promptly lost. My advice would be to stay close to the other predators, like salmon, or food sources, like schools of garfish.

Remember to be prepared, landing a big king in the bay takes time, the right tackle and plenty of hours on the water, just ask Lee Rayner next time you speak to him.

It’s been a few weeks since I chucked a lure in my beloved patto, but I have had some solid reports from other bream spinners who have visited. Some of the bait fishers have also been landing some nice bream, as well as mullet, garfish and even squid have been venturing under the bridge during the night.

Well, that’s all I have room for this month. Hope to see you on the water.

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