Despite the cooler weather, the action only seems to get better across the inshore reefs at time of year with plenty of pinkie snapper and Australian salmon.
First and last light present the best opportunity to tangle with a few pinkies and while most are generally quite small, averaging just 25-35cm, there’s always a chance of picking up a larger specimen. The sambos could pop up at any time of day, though the run-out tide is often a trigger for some thrilling surface bust ups.
The arrival of large bait schools have kicked the inner western reefs into gear over the past month as Australian salmon to 45cm gorge themselves silly. Most reports have come from Altona Bay, Williamstown reef and the Yarra River mouth at Newport, but it’s generally a case of find the bait and you’ll find the fish. While trolling straight through a school always seems to produce a few hook-ups, the fish will remain up on the surface for longer if you cut the engine, hang out wider and cast lures or soft plastics towards the commotion.
Use the breeze to help line up the target and you’ll soon have salmon swarming all around the boat. Pinkie snapper, flathead and even a few King George whiting and red mullet have been busy, cashing in on the free feed from below. Worm and baitfish pattern soft plastics generally provide the most consistent action in the shallows, especially when fishing on the drift.
Fishing for bream within the bay itself has been popular of late with several boats spotted prospecting various structures from Williamstown through to St Kilda. Corey Gallagher has been doing exceptionally well in this area, securing several bream on micro vibes cast hard up against the rotting pylons at Port Melbourne.
Also lurking amongst the timber, pinkie snapper have added some spice for the local bream on lures brigade. Getting them to bite seems to be the easy part, but landing them is a different story altogether. Even in relatively modest proportions, these fish are a real handful around heavy cover. On average, two out of every three pinkies hooked amongst the poles escape with an expensive lip piercing!
Ben Laverty says the squid are on the go from Point Cook to Werribee South. Fishing alongside his wife and kids, Ben and the family secured 15 calamari in less than an hour. A range of jigs did the trick and it really didn’t seem to matter where they tried. As long as there was a patch or weed or reef nearby, so were the squid!
Out wider, it shouldn’t be long before a few big winter reds start to turn up on the deep mud and spoil grounds. They’re also likely to arrive in Corio Bay later this month.
Massive schools of baitfish have been gradually making their way up the Yarra River. As was the case at this time last year, juvenile salmon are also thick throughout the lower to middle reaches of the system, including Victoria Harbour at Docklands. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few mulloway eyeing off these bite-sized morsels. Further upriver, there’s been a few schoolies to 80cm encountered on soft plastics and blades cast amongst the bridge pylons. Hopefully those putting in the hours with live baits either side of the next full moon phase will be rewarded with one of these silver monsters.
Silver trevally are an option over winter with a few fish taken recently on raw chicken just outside the Yarra River mouth. Expect these fish to push further upriver over the coming month and make more of an appearance around the local land-based platforms.
Corey Gallagher has also been peppering the Yarra River of late where many of the resident bream still seem to be holding high in the water column, either underneath floating pontoons or beside the supporting jetty pylons. Once again, slow sinking vibes and stick minnows have been successful.
Nathan Wright has been picking up quite a few nice bream while pier hopping around the Docklands precinct. Dropping lipless cranks-baits down beside the jetty pylons to imitate falling shell proved successful. Nathan says he painted his vibe black to more closely resemble a piece of broken mussel. He also mentioned pinkie snapper to about 45cm have been taken on sandworm pattern soft plastics.
Members of the Werribee and District Anglers Club accounted for plenty of bream during a recent weekend competition. Gary Warren weighed in the largest bream for the event which pulled the scales down to 830g. Gary’s six-year-old daughter, Charlie, also took out the junior section with the heaviest bag. Small freshwater yabbies were the most productive bait on this occasion, followed by local tubeworms.
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