Bream numbers surge
  |  First Published: April 2012

The milder and more settled weather patterns of autumn have set in over the last month or so and have provided some excellent conditions for fishing and boating on the bay.

The strong prevailing easterly winds have persisted through much of the month, as they did for most of the summer, which has also given anglers good inshore angling opportunities, even when winds have been very strong.

These offshore winds have also given the inshore reefs a chance to really load up with food and life, making them prime hunting areas for predatory fish and residents alike.


Of great encouragement has been the quality of the bream fishing from the bays creeks and rivers over the past month.

As the weather and water cools, the smaller bream tend to move into prime areas with the larger adults and compete for food.

This gives the whole population a shot in the arm, and makes for some great fishing, especially for lure anglers. Apart from the mainstay areas throughout the Patterson Lakes system, I have also received reports of bream from Kananook Creek, Seaford and Frankston Pier and along the bay shoreline in Shark Bay, Mount Martha!

The same report from this general area also featured some luderick and flounder as well which is very encouraging indeed.

Autumn snapper

The predicted and much awaited autumn run of snapper has prolonged for a while longer this season, and at the time of writing, consistent reports of snapper are still being recorded from many areas. The general pattern seems to be that the shallower marks of 11-15m have been producing well, especially those nearby to structure. The Inner Artificial and nearby reef areas have been fishing well, so too Seaford, Frankston, Mount Eliza and Mornington in similar depths.

Key bite times have definitely been around the change of tide, and also with a shift in wind direction. Early morning sessions have also been very productive with peak bite periods occurring close to sun up.

As always choice of bait is varied, but consistent producers of snapper of late have been silver whiting, pilchards, squid and fresh fillets of salmon and barracouta. Most of the fish captured have been around 1.5-3kg, but some bigger specimens to 6kg have also been reported. Expect this trend of smaller fish inhabiting the reefs to continue right throughout the winter months too, giving the lure and plastics angler a great shot at some quality light tackle sports fishing action.

King George whiting

The other consistent and very encouraging species has been the mighty King George whiting, and it’s fair to say that amongst many of Port Phillip’s regulars, this tasty little scrapper is high on the catch list.

Consistent captures are still being reported from Frankston right though to Mornington by the boating anglers, and land-based reports have been spread from Seaford all the way through to Safety Beach.

Land-based action is definitely best around dusk and dawn, and a quiet approach is needed to target whiting during the brighter times of the day out wide. Consequently, kayak anglers have been doing really well, especially those using fresh bait, and paying close attention to their sounder. Try to look for clear patches of sand around reef and weed and pinpoint your presentation to this area.

Don’t be shy to try a few plastics as well; whiting will readily accept artificial lures and flies, especially those that imitate worms and shrimp. Again, expect the whiting to remain a viable target species right through winter this year, as they move further south along the bays shoreline towards the rip.


The usual suspects have also been very prevalent over the past month, and the fishing will continue and get even better as the water temperatures fall further as we move into winter.

Squid fishing has been excellent over recent times, with some good-sized specimens being taken. I have found recently that regular changes in jig colour have been producing the goods; maybe the squid get bored easily like me?

Prime areas seem to be from Frankston to Mount Martha, but try and look for more broken areas of reef that the calamari use for ambush areas to hunt their prey.


The gars have been a little scratchy of late, but last season they continued right until the cooler months so I would expect a resurgence from then over the next month or so.

Australian salmon and flathead

Lastly, salmon and flathead fishing has also been excellent, and expect this to improve closer to the winter months.

Calm cool days are the prime times to target these two species, and they can both provide hours of sport for light tackle anglers.

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