The most pleasing aspect of the last months fishing has been the stable and predictable autumn weather transition we have experienced.
In the chaotic changeable patterns of the past few years this transition period has lasted as little as a week and then bang, it’s on with the jumpers and beanies! The gradual change we have enjoyed this year is more in line with weather changes of the past.
It seems that the fish have enjoyed this time as well, as things have really started to fire up along the bay’s eastern seaboard.
The food chain has really got a big shot in the arm over that past few weeks, and when you spend time on or near the water, you can really notice the difference to a month or so ago.
Snapper reports have slowed considerably in recent times, but if you still want to catch yourself a red, it’s definitely still worth the effort. In reality, snapper are caught by both recreational and professional anglers right through the winter months, so if you’re willing to put in the hours, the rewards will be there.
The smaller pinkie snapper have dominated most snapper catches recently, and expect this trend to continue right through the winter months. Pinkies are classic dawn and dusk feeders, and can become positively annoying at times, especially if they are undersized and are pinching baits intended for other species like whiting.
They also make for some great light tackle sport, and have gained a real following amongst soft plastic and lure fishers over recent times.
Dense reef structures close to deep water are great places to start, as well as prominent solitary structures like pinnacles or small bommies. Frankston, Mount Eliza and Mornington all have suitable areas, and the local piers in these areas are worth a shot as well.
The other great feature of the past month has been the size and quantity of the Australian salmon hunting our shores. These great fish are sometimes scorned for their poor eating qualities, but nobody can question their sporting abilities, and responsiveness to a wide range of angling techniques.
I’ve caught salmon in the bay on fly, lures and bait and they are all just as much fun. I reckon that surface poppers and plastics have to be the winner as you get see everything unfold right in front of you.
Recently, the salmon have been very consistently patrolling the outer boundaries of the mussel farm in front of Mount Martha, as well as the inshore reefs of Fisheries, Ranaleagh and Canadian Bay beaches. Salmon are being taken by both land-based and boat anglers at the moment and some are reaching 2.5kg in size.
When fishing from a boat try to locate the school using birds or your sounder and avoid driving over them. Plastics, metal slugs and flies flung into the froth will generally draw a strike. When fishing land-based, use some berley to keep the school around longer and cast lures around while your baited rod is set.
And don’t be put off by anglers telling you they are no good to eat, if you bleed them immediately and fillet and skin them, salmon aren’t too bad.
Squid fishing has gone off the hook over that last month as well, with all the usual areas producing good numbers of calamari. The real surprise so far this year has been the size and quality of the squid regularly coming from Mornington Pier. I reckon you’d be hard pressed to find a more heavily fished pier in the bay, but possibly the pier closure earlier last year allowed the recent generation of squid to grow to the bigger size we are enjoying now without the normal pressure from anglers?
Inshore reefs right along from Frankston to Mount Martha have all been productive, although I have noticed recently that the squid have been holding a little deeper than usual.
These deeper margins have also been turning over a few nice cuttlefish as well to add to the mix. 2.5-3.0 size jigs in green, brown and purple have all been popular.
The bream fishing I spoke about last month has continued to fire, and should remain consistent right through the winter months, especially in the Patterson River.
Expect the whiting fishing to be excellent this winter in the southern reaches of the bay. With all this too look forward to, get out there and go fishingReads: 1022