Despite a sliding shift in temperature, local anglers need not pack their gear away just yet.
May generally offers a stable weather pattern and ideal conditions for fishing, be it on the shallow reefs, out wide or in the metropolitan rivers.
The inshore reefs have been inundated with pinkie snapper and while many are still on the small side, there’s likely to be a few larger fish lurking nearby this month. Areas of broken ground from the Yarra River around to Kororoit Creek and Altona through to Point Cook are a sure bet with fish averaging 30-35cm available on worm pattern soft plastics. Those who prefer to fish at anchor will also be in the mix with baits of fresh squid and cut pilchards likely to attract plenty of attention.
Salmon have been visibly harassing baitfish most days around top end of the bay, particularly along the stretch from Sandringham through to Port Melbourne, as well as Williamstown to Altona. Keep an eye out for birds diving or hovering above the surface. They're almost always tracking bait and more often than not, there will be Australian salmon or at least pinkies lurking nearby.
After launching from Carrum, Brooke Ellis and her father headed across to Williamstown where they anchored over reef in 9m of water. On the run-out tide, a sizeable snapper took off with Brooke’s saury and headed for the horizon. A short time later, a healthy 6kg red was brought on board, followed by a few legal length pinkies and a handful of garfish.
Land-based local, John Regali, experienced a purple patch at Beaumaris Pier and surrounding areas with garfish, pinkies, salmon, pike, flathead, yellowtail scad, squid and even a few bream making up his catch.
John says the bream were encountered after berley, intended for garfish, fell through the pier and into the water below. A short time later he noticed a few fish mopping up the free offerings and soon set about landing some bonus bay bream.
Flathead continue to provide anglers with a worthy alternate when the snapper and whiting are off the bite. Michael Felsovary from Hooked on Bait and Tackle reports that fish to 65cm have been taken on bluebait from the new Wyndham Harbour rock structure.
Drifting in 4m of water just off Werribee South has also been productive. Schools of baitfish and juvenile salmon have been gathering in the shallows where large flathead have been on the prowl. Setting up a slow drift, aided by the use of a drogue, enables you to keep the bait on or close to the bottom while still covering ground. The best baits have been pipi, cuttlefish, cut pilchards, and fresh garfish, along with a berley mixture of bread and old fish frames.
King George whiting to 38cm are still on the go in the shallows, although they are showing signs of slowing down. While it has been tough at times during the day, the hour before dusk has been producing plenty of action with pipi and mussel the baits of choice.
Fishing from his kayak in less than 1.5m of water, Colin Keenbone managed a feed on most occasions. Again, pipi has been the standout, but Col plans to revisit the whiting grounds with small poppers in an attempt to nail one on the surface!
Pinkie snapper have been congregating at the mouth of the Yarra River for some time now with a few schools also making their way well up river. Those fishing from the rock walls that line the warm water outlet at Newport usually do well casting bluebait and pilchards into the main channel at this time of year.
Similarly, fresh mussel dropped down beside the jetty pylons at Docklands is another proven method for both pinkie snapper and resident bream.
Ryan Scarborough says the Maribyrnong River is still highly discoloured, but there’s still enough fish being caught to make the effort. Pinkie snapper have been on the chew first thing in the morning as far up river as Footscray.
Bream averaging 30-32cm have been taken on small diving minnows. While those pitching lures have been finding a few fish, the bait anglers have been faring best with freshwater yabbies and scrub worms accounting for most.
Quality bream have been taken on soft plastics, sinking stick-baits and tubeworms from the lower reaches of the Werribee River. Brad Hodges has been peppering the system of late with fish to 40cm plus taken during the incoming tides. Matt Faro also did well casting small vibes and dehydrated tubeworms from the shore at Werribee South.
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