Spring in full swing
  |  First Published: November 2011

The warmth and wonder of spring seemed to slowly creep up on us this season, but is now in full swing on the bay.

The onset of daylight saving has lengthened our fishing days, providing windows for some quick trips after work, and early morning sorties to your favourite fishing spot. As the days get even longer, and warmer as we get ready for summer, I know many anglers are looking forward to the prime fishing months ahead.

Snapper Chaos

The yearly snapper chaos is well and truly underway. At the time of writing, reports and captures along the eastern shoreline have been a little patchy, but still encouraging, Some great early season captures of snapper to 6kg have been reported, as well as plenty of mid-sized fish thrown in.

The pattern at this stage of the year rarely changes, as fish tend to hold close to structure and reef. I’m not sure whether this is a decision made for dietary or behavioural reasons, but early in the season if you can find the right structure and you’ll find snapper.

This is definitely true further north in the bay at the moment, as the reefy shores around Black Rock and further are producing some lovely fish of 4-5kg on a variety of methods, including trolled lures and unweighted baits.

Your choice of bait and lure is always varied, but my advice would be to go with fresh local bait, with a strong smell and attraction. This is more likely to attract structure dwelling fish that may not yet be grazing and covering more water. The use of berley is a key as well, using a steady trail of small offerings. Pilchards, red rockets, salmon, garfish and squid are all worth a run.

When lure fishing, try to imitate the bays bait schools with 3-5” minnow plastics, and longer profiled vibration baits. Personally, I’m keen to give the new Jackall Transam Mask Vibes a go on my home waters this year, as they have proven very successful on snapper and other species up north.

Other than snapper

While many anglers are well and truly dialled into the snapper channel, and will be for the next few months to come, the bread and butter fishing for the more mainstream species has been top class over the past month.

Garfish are about in some massive schools, but always seem to keep one eye open for salmon and other predators, so keep the berley flowing. Seaford and Frankston pier have both been great, as well as targeting the sheltered bay pockets from the boat.

Squid have been a little patchy, but it seems when you find a few they are about in big numbers. This has made them very aggressive and willing to take a variety of jigs, and even lures meant for other species!

I would still lean toward more natural colour jigs, and light line if you can get away with it. I know my kids are going to enjoy plenty of hours of squidding this year. It’s about time too; because Dad needs a hand to keep up at the rate they eat calamari rings back at the dinner table.


Closer to my heart has been the quality bream fishing available after months of solid rain boosting estuaries. Even more encouraging has been reports from some lesser-known systems along my part of the bay like Kananook and Balcombe creeks.

These systems have always contained bream, but I’m here to tell you they are never easy to catch or fool on a lure! No doubt the flush of fresh water and boost to the food chain has boosted the ecology of these small systems, and brought the bream on the chew as well.

It’s worth mentioning that both the systems mentioned are small and easily pressured, and catch and release is definitely the way to go. No harm in taking a photo though.

Patterson River

The Patterson River has also been producing some lovely bream as well through the main river system, as well as plenty of mullet and smaller salmon on the incoming tide. Most of the larger bream are falling victim to lightly weighted or unweighted baits, especially after recent rain.

The canals have also been turning it on recently, with some ripper fish being taken on a variety of lures. Even your good author tickled up a dozen or so the other day while out testing some new products.

With plenty going on, and even more action around the corner, now is a great time to spend a day on the water.

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