Sunshine boosts the bay
  |  First Published: October 2011

Recent warmer weather has definitely given the bay a bit of a boost lately, and has seen the numbers of anglers growing dramatically on the water, especially over the weekend.

Traditionally, the transitional time between the seasons is when the weather is at its most settled and consistent, which has certainly been the case for August and early September.

We all know the mighty snapper is the wheelhouse of the Victorian summer fishery, and this year will be no different with many anglers excitedly talking about their early season strategies, and getting gear ready for the months ahead. After plenty of winter rain and a food chain that has had a much-welcomed boost that hasn’t been seen for a few years, all indications point to a bumper summer ahead.

Super keen anglers are already getting amongst the action, although most snapper being caught are the smaller resident fish that are not necessarily part of any spawning migration. Nevertheless, enough quality fish are being taken to stir up some interest, with the biggest specimens reported coming in at 3-4kg.

Lightly weighted baits fished close to reefs and heavy bottom have been best, especially around the tide changes. These areas are also perfect for lure fishing as well with soft plastics and the increasingly popular vibration style hardbodies.

I have also received some very encouraging reports of a few snapper being taken from the rocks at Mount Martha and Safety Beach over the last couple of weeks during strong onshore conditions. Once again these fish have been around the 3kg mark, but have been quite consistent. The area has also turned up a few gummies, which is once again another great sign for the health and vitality of the bay in this area.

Most boating anglers are still focused on preparing for the months ahead, and have been concentrating on gathering quality and fresh baits. At the moment, the gars seem to be thick as thieves everywhere you throw a handful of berley, and are in good nick too. As usual, continuing the berley trail is vital to prolonging the action, as well as good bait presentation.

Recently I have found the gars to be cleaning off the hooks with lightning efficiency, and have some good results with small circle hooks. All of the inshore-protected areas are worth a try, as well as Frankston, Seaford and Daveys Bay piers. Access to Mornington pier is still a little restricted in the main arm, but the smaller finger is still worth a try, although you need to like a crowd!

The calamari have been a little more consistent over the past month especially in the slightly deeper reefs around 3-4m. This zone tends to discolour slower and hold more numbers of squid at the time of year, especially after recent times of rain. The kayak boys and bigger boats have both been doing plenty of damage.

The growth and popularity of squid fishing seems to get bigger and bigger each year, and we have even have tournaments now to prove it. Luckily this also means plenty of new stuff to play with and test on the water to keep the calamari guessing. Lately I have found louder colours doing the trick; no doubt this will change as the water clears a little more.

Hordes of small salmon are still hanging around the Mornington and Mount Martha reefs at the moment as well, and seem to be biting best towards dusk. These fish are a great fun for kids and less experienced anglers, and also provide some great fillets or whole baits for snapper.

Small plastics and metal lures work well, as does longer casting hardbodied minnows fished on light gear. Mornington Harbour, Fishies Beach and the mouth of the Martha Cove all seem to be worth a try.

A few whiting have also been on the chew, although the most consistent action is still right down south, and further east in Western Port. However, I have seen a few taken land-based over the past couple of weeks by anglers fishing the dusk bite off the beach. Expect this action to get better as summer rolls along.

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