The seemingly endless stiff summer south-easterlies generally begin to ease during March, which usually makes for more favourable conditions on the western shores of Port Phillip.
The inshore flathead fishery should hit its peak this month as increasing numbers of larger than average specimens continue to gather on warmer sand flats. At this stage last year, Werribee South was absolutely on fire as big numbers of both southern blue spot and rock flathead hung around in the shallows for several weeks. Drifting baits of pilchard fillet and pipi can be highly effective, while those pitching worm and paddle tail soft plastics should also do well.
The Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers are also likely to liven up this month as pinkie snapper venture into the lower reaches of the system. At about the same time as many of the larger snapper are thought to leave the bay, some seem to get their directional wires crossed and head up river. These fish range in size from barely legal up to about 55cm or 2kg in weight, with the odd 3-4kg red amongst them. They generally hold close to various forms of manmade structure south of the central business district.
Jetty pylons, channel markers, yacht moorings and any other areas that house extensive marine growth, such as tube worms, mussels and barnacles, are the prime locations. Berkley Gulp Turtleback Worms and Craws rigged on 1/12-1/6Oz jig heads have accounted for most of the snapper I’ve encountered in the metropolitan rivers. Pinkie snapper are also a common catch on fresh mussel presented close to structure, while oily flesh baits such as striped tuna fillets or pilchards tend to be more consistent in open water. Local mulloway experts fishing with live baits also encounter reasonable numbers of larger snapper, some of which are taken well upriver several kilometres from the mouth.
Speaking of mulloway, the next few months offer dedicated anglers the best chance of tempting one of these urban beasts. Already there have been a few taken by those fishing well into the night with both live and dead mullet. Half an hour before and after slack water, be it the low or high tide, appears to be the prime time. In saying that though, successful anglers tend to spend endless hours on the banks with baits in the water.
Anthony Power, Jason Crotty and Glen Hewitt set out in search of snapper early in the New Year and although it was a little slow at times, they still managed some quality fish. Starting near the P2 marker off Altona, it wasn’t until the boys decided to pull anchor and drift that the action livened up.
Moving in relatively close in behind the Williamstown Football Ground, all four rods buckled over within a 30 second window, resulting in a quartet of solid snapper to 4kg. These fish were taken on pilchards and other than this brief moment of excitement, unfortunately it was slim pickings for the remainder of the session.
Daniel Mizzi says there are plenty of gummy sharks congregating off Werribee South. During his most recent session, Dan and a mate snared four gummies from 5-17kg on pilchards while anchored approximately 7km off Werribee towards Portarlington.
Over at Point Wilson, the Corio Bay outer harbour has been producing some nice eating size rock flathead, as well as a few pinkie snapper and snook, on soft plastics.
After four fruitless years, Abdul Azman finally hit the jackpot when his reel screamed to the tune of a big urban jewie during a mid-summer night on the banks of the Yarra River. After heading down earlier in the evening to catch a few mullet for bait, Abz didn’t get a touch for five hours until out of nowhere his rod buckled and line began disappearing rapidly from the reel. Although he’d never caught a mulloway, there was no mistaking the thumping headshakes and powerful surges…it could only be one thing.
After a relatively short but intense battle, Abdul landed the beast which was quickly released after a few photographs. Still on a high, he decided to try again the next day and went on to land yet another mulloway of about the same size. A week later, Abz was at it again, this time securing his third mulloway in just seven days! What a week! Each of these fish were taken on fresh-dead mullet rigged on a 6/0 hook and 60lb trace.
If you would like to see your name and/or photograph published, please forward reports and images to --e-mail address hidden-- . You’re certainly not obliged to give away your secret spot, but a please include a general description of when, where, the technique and bait used, and who caught the fish.Reads: 2133