Exceptional fishing in the first stages of winter
  |  First Published: July 2013

The fishing across the western flank of Port Phillip has been exceptional during the early stages of winter.

While the action is bound to slow up at some point, pinkie snapper, Australian salmon and squid should continue to present viable options across the inner reefs this month. In the rivers, school mulloway have been in terrific numbers this year. Each of the major systems, including the Barwon River just outside Port Phillip heads, as well as the Werribee, Maribyrnong, Yarra and Patterson rivers have been producing at least a few schoolie mulloway, from just undersized up to about 80cm, and sometimes beyond.


Resident pinkie snapper have been on the chew at Port Melbourne, Williamstown and Altona, particularly at first and last light when they quite often venture into very shallow water. During the day, you can generally find a few fish along the outer edge of the reef in depths ranging from 6-10m. Once the sun starts to set, however, it can be a fish a cast at times in less than 5m of water. Most range in size from barely legal, up to 35cm with just the odd fish nudging 40cm or better. Of course, there’s still a chance of picking up a larger red, particular under the cover of darkness a few days either side of the full or new moon.

A few King George whiting have been hanging around on the sand in between the patches of reef and rubble just out from Williamstown Football Ground. Similarly, flathead and red mullet have also been taken as by catch whilst casting soft plastics in search of pinkies.

Darren Weda and Rob Ward found reasonable numbers of pinkie snapper, bream and pinkie snapper casting soft plastics amongst the jetty pylons and moored boats either side of the Yarra River mouth. According to Darren, most of the fish of late have fallen to small 2.5” grubs, rigged on 1/8 and 1/4oz. jig-heads. The boys also missed a few larger snapper that made quick work of their light gear amongst the heavy structure. At times, the salmon have been thick around the jetty pylons, which Darren says has made it tough to get a lure or plastic down to the bream and snapper below. For most, this is not such a bad problem!


Further west, the squid fishing around at Point Cook has been exceptional of late. Launching just prior to sun up is the key, with the hottest action occurring well before midday. The shallow weed beds just out from the old RAAF pier and back toward the marine park are a good place to start. Slowing drifting small 2.5 size jigs in 3 -5m of water has been successful. Expect the squid to continue firing well into winter.


Hoping for a few more bream, Nathan Wright made a return trip to Docklands and didn’t go home disappointed. In an attempt to more closely resemble falling mussel shell, Nathan painted his vibes black and worked them adjacent to the jetting pylons. Allowing the lure to slowly sink beside the structure proved effective with more than a dozen bream taken on this method.

Interestingly, more brightly coloured patterns fished in the exactly the same fashion failed to produce a single hit! Once the tide bottomed out, the action ceased, forcing Nathan to change tact. Opting for baits of unweighted live crab also produced the goods in the shadows of the Bolte Bridge.

At this time of year, there’s always a chance of picking up a pinkie snapper or two within Victoria Harbour. Judging by the amount of bait fish and juvenile salmon throughout the system, there’s also a few mulloway available for those prepared to invest the time. Once again, there’s been a few schoolies to 80cm encountered on paddle tail soft plastics amongst the bridge pylons further upriver.


Bream continue to provide options for those fishing with live baits, including bass yabbies and local tube worms, in the middle to lower reaches of the Werribee River. Lure fishing can still be productive, though things are gradually starting to slow down. Filming a segment for an upcoming DVD, Bill Classon managed a few bream under the guidance of local tournament angler, Brad Hodges. Casting Berkley Gulp Sandworms, Turtle Back Worms and 3B Sub-Dogs in 2.5-3m of did all the damage in the bright conditions.

Fishing the system for the first time, Shayne Turner couldn’t believe his luck when a flurry of juvenile mulloway took an interest in his small metal vibes intended for bream. Launching at Werribee South and heading upriver, Shayne soon sounded some good marks and ended up with more than half a dozen jewie and just as many bream either side of high water.


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.

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