Snapper still on, but many now chasing whiting
  |  First Published: December 2012

With the summer holidays in full swing it’s time to get out on the water.

The biggest problem is deciding what species to target in the warm summer weather.

Mordialloc To Black Rock

While the pier is busy on the warm days with loads of kids jumping off it, surprisingly this doesn’t seem to affect the fishing too much with the past weeks seeing good numbers of garfish and small salmon being taken. However it’s the late afternoon and into the evening that has seen some of the best fishing with anglers finding some very solid King George whiting to be found by the anglers fishing their baits into the sand holes between the reef on the right hand side of the pier.

For the best results it really pays to be there when there is still some light left so that you can see where the sand holes are. Best baits have been pipis, mussel or peeled prawn. Late evening has also seen pinkie snapper move into the same areas with anglers getting fish to 45cm in length on the same baits.

Out in the boats it really is such a great time of year with plenty of options from good numbers of garfish and whiting to be found anywhere from the Horse Paddock Reef, right up to Parkdale Pinnacles and even up around the mussel farm in Beaumaris Bay. For the whiting try baits of pipis and squid with a real favourite of mine being mussel.

As an added bonus there have been some sensational flathead being taken by those anglers who are throwing soft plastics around on the reef edges and drop offs in 4-8m of water, with a lot of these flatties coming in at around the 45-65cm size.

During the coming weeks and with the bay being so clean its also the time to get serious about finding a yellowtail kingfish as they will be starting to lurk around the garfish and salmon schools just waiting to frighten the daylights out of any unsuspecting anglers.

If you have a desire to get your arms stretched then it pays to always put a live garfish or small yakka out under a float while fishing for whiting or gars, the kings will come in on the commotion of any fish you are catching and by taking the time to get a live bait out you could be hooked up to one of these screamers.

Off Beaumaris Pier there should be plenty of garfish on offer over the coming weeks along with some solid whiting to be found late in the evening and into the night, especially when it is calm.

Up off Ricketts Point and through to Black Rock it’s now whiting time for the boat brigade, with the core of anglers working the reef edge in search of these tasty fellas. There has also been good numbers of salmon on offer over the past month and they should only get better as we roll through January. Just keep your eyes peeled for the birds as they give away the feeding salmon.

Then, as always, try not to drive through the school of fish, instead sit back and cast small metal lures and plastics into the feeding salmon.

Sandringham to St Kilda

Out wide there are still snapper reports coming in from the edge of the shipping channel at T1 and T2 up to the Fawkner Beacon and while the majority of the reds are in the 2-3kg size there are still enough 4-6kg fish on offer to keep it really interesting. Best baits at this time of the year are definitely pilchards and live baits such as garfish or small yakkas.

Back in closer the Anonyma shoal has been great for some very big snook for anglers trolling small divers such as Rapala Xrap 10 and Tilsan barra lures around the reef perimeter. January is also the time to find some very big whiting on this reef system, with my own success on the whiting over the years in this area definitely being attributed to the use of mussel baits.

Yorkies Reef has been holding a few whiting and good garfish along with squid and the odd red mullet. While further along at Brighton and up to North Road I have been hearing some great reports of solid pinkies to 45cm along with some anglers finding some nice whiting in the 35-40cm size, not to mention some welcome additions to the catch in the form of solid flathead and silver trevally.

As mentioned earlier about the kingfish this part of the bay also holds plenty of them, especially if the garfish are around so make sure you put out a live bait suspended under a float.

Finally up off North Road and through to Elwood kayak anglers have been finding some outstanding flathead with fish up to 75cm being taken in water less than 1m deep, which also makes it the perfect area to wade through casting soft plastics to any likely areas such as weed beds and small gaps in the reef edges.

ST Kilda To Port Melbourne.

Fingers crossed we will continue with warm weather and this will really see the top of the bay fire up as the past few years have seen heavy rainfall during December that has seen the top of the bay turn dirty and keep the clean water species like whiting from really pushing onto the reef in the area.

Finger crossed this summer will be different as there has already been a scattering of whiting reports. Asides from the whiting the area between St Kilda and Port Melbourne has been producing plenty of salmon which are best found by watching for the bust-ups and birds diving on them.

Some anglers have also reported catching some solid snook in the area as well with the best results coming on deep diving minnow pattern lures or garfish trolled slowly on gang hooks.

Up at Station Pier the coming weeks are well worth a try for any number of species with even the odd big snapper still to be found, especially at night and when it is blowing from the south.

Either way have a great Christmas break and make sure you get out on the water to experience some fantastic variety of species during this month.

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