Wind fires up fishing
  |  First Published: May 2008

Periods of strong wind have churned the Bay up somewhat over the past few weeks. This has caused the water to become a little discoloured, especially on the southwestern shoreline, but this has not decreased the quality of the fishing nor the options on offer to both boat and land-based anglers.

The peak of the strong westerly and southwesterly winds was felt with a thud at Mornington recently, especially in the harbour itself. Over 20 yachts were blasted from their moorings. Some were not recoverable and had to be written off. I visited the harbour the day after the big blow. A few of the yacht club members said that winds were recorded at nearly 80 knots. Consequently, many of the harbour’s yachts finished up high and dry on the beach, and a couple were swamped in the water nearby. Luckily, most of the beached vessels were salvaged by crane, and the sunken vessels recovered.

As expected, this weather fired up the fishing on some of the inshore marks, especially around Mornington, Mount Martha and Frankston. Pier anglers brave enough to tackle the conditions at the time reported good captures of salmon and pinky snapper using heavy duty surf tackle. After the blow, the good land-based fishing continued, especially Mornington Pier where some quality pinkies to 3kg were taken. In April, the inshore waters around Mornington and other locations in the south were still quite turbid, but such water is alive with food and many target species will venture right in close to capitalise on an easy meal.

Cashing in on the quality land-based action at Mornington Pier recently was Chris Sfris, from Kew, who landed some nice pinkies from the Pier on pilchards. Chris was fishing with his wife and enjoyed some great fishing on dusk.

Close inshore marks, and some of the deeper land-based spots, have also been producing some great whiting over the last month, especially for those switched on anglers using fresh or live baits. I spoke to a couple of anglers at Frankston Boat Ramp recently who had a great bag of whiting they caught on fresh pipis on Caltex Reef. Most of these fish were around 40cm in length. I also witnessed the capture of some lovely whiting on Bass yabbies from the charter boat pier at Mornington, These fish were of a similar size.

The schools of big salmon that have been around the south of the bay lately are still on the chew too, and have been providing plenty of fun for switched-on anglers. Because there is so much bait around the inshore reefs, the schools will not always bust up on the surface, and can be a little hard to find. The best method is to troll minnow lures around likely areas, and use your sounder to locate deeper fish as well. This technique has the benefit of producing plenty of by-catch like flathead, pinkies, pike, barracouta and snook - plus it is great fun. Salmon are a great sportfish, but can also be great eating if bled immediately after capture. Personally, I chase salmon for sport, and never cease to be amazed by their fighting qualities and willingness to eat all sorts of lures.

Squid are still around in good numbers, but will be a little harder to find in the dirtier water. The best thing to try is scent or bait attached to your squid jigs, and fish deeper reefs in around 3-5m of water. Your sounder can be very helpful in this regard to locate the bait schools that squid feed on.

On the bream scene, the bait fishers have continued to get some great fish out of the Patterson River, especially using shrimp and prawns. Interestingly, some nice bream have also been taken close to the Frankston Pier, which no doubt came out of Kananook Creek. Lure fishing for the local bream has been pretty quiet lately, but a few good fish have been taken. I would advise breamers to fish light lines and leaders, and fish a bit slower and more deliberately than normal.

As the weather and water cools over the next few months, the fishing for quality table fish will continue in the south of the bay. Traditionally, fishing traffic is much lighter, so now is a great time to get out and have a go.

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