Kings, whiting and more snapper
  |  First Published: March 2012

Plenty of warm summer days have been spent looking over the water, and there certainly is no shortage of boat traffic on the bay at the moment of all shapes and sizes.

It has been great to see so many boats, kayaks and all manner of watercraft enjoying the bay and the great fishing on offer over the past couple of summer months.

Snapper Surge

Snapper reports have gathered more momentum over the past few weeks, with a strong surge in activity when the water temperature begun to really spike upwards.

Although water temperatures now are well over 20C across most of Port Phillip, and spawning urges will be forefront in the snappers’ minds there is still enough feeding fish to reward anglers efforts.

In contrast to many times during the height of summer, better bite windows tend to occur during rougher weather at this time of year, especially in shallower water.

Reef areas also tend to hold more oxygenated water during these times, which can trigger migratory or spawning snapper to feed. It’s worth noting that a wide variety of baits, and other methods are worth pursuing as well, as the fish can be quite fussy and tend to zone in on a particular food source.

Light line can also be a big factor, but can also lead to lost fish around structure, but I guarantee you’ll get more bites.

Yellowtail Kingfish

High water temperatures and the strong moon phases over the next couple of months are also prime to target kingfish. While most kingie captures and encounters are more accidental for most anglers, some switched on anglers have targeted them in Port Phillip with good success, even along the eastern seaboard. And no wonder, with acres of bait and squid to feed on, and dominant structure for ambush attacks, all the factors are present.

I watched a couple of kingies smashing bait in close at Bird Rock beach recently, which was an awesome sight, and definitely got me keen to have a go. And since speaking to anglers who have had recent success, and monumental bust offs as well, the inshore reefs all the way from Frankston to Mount Martha are all worth a go.

Trolling lures and baits at varying depths is an excellent searching method, in conjunction with a depth sounder. Live squid, salmon and garfish are the bait of choice as well. Most anglers like to locate feeding fish as well if possible, much like you would chasing salmon or other predators.


The past months have also provided some very consistent and reliable whiting fishing as well, which has gone from strength to strength over the last couple of seasons. The best feature for many is the way whiting appeal to boat and land based anglers, as whiting schools will move in very close to shore to feed around dawn and dusk.

Mark ‘muscles’ Bolger, has been doing really well out of his Hobie recently as well, and is still yet to deliver the fillets he promised me a week ago.


Mulloway should also be on the cards over the next month or so, as the seasons start to change as we head towards Easter.

Talking to Rick Massie from Juro recently, he reckons March is the prime time and was the best period of his success last season.

Expect areas like Patterson River to produce some consistent action, as well as prominent offshore structure like the Inner and Outer Artificial, and Frankston and Mount Eliza reefs. The hospital pinnacle is also a known area.

Mulloway will respond well to most snapper methods, and will also readily take live baits and artificial lures in estuary areas.

And with some great light tackle sport fishing and bread and butter fishing on offer for salmon, gars, pinkies, flathead and squid over the next few months we’ve got a pretty full play list on the bay over the next month or so. Grab your rods and get out there and get amongst the action.

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