Despite near freezing overnight temperatures, many days this winter have featured clear sunny skies and relatively light winds.
Whilst conditions are expected to take a turn for the worse at some point, so far there’s been no excuse not to be out on the water!
From pinkie snapper to garfish and almost everything in between, there’s still some great fishing right across the northwest of Port Phillip.
Pinkie snapper and Australia salmon continue to be the major draw card for those casting soft plastics on the drift either side of the Yarra River entrance. Interestingly, the odd school mulloway have also been turning up around the jetty pylons at Port Melbourne. After watching a silvery shadow follow his hooked salmon right back to the boat, Rob Ward quickly upgraded the size of his lure and began peppering away. Within just a few casts, a juvenile jewie of about 50cm in length was brought to the net and released after a few photographs.
Around at Altona, the inner reefs continue to produce good sport with a mixed bag of pinkie snapper, flathead, salmon and red mullet still available in numbers. Drifting in 5-8m of water and casting soft plastics, such as Gulp Minnows and Turtle Back Worms, ahead of the boat is the go. The period just prior to sunset generally results in the hottest bite, so it’s well worth sticking it out until dark.
The stretch from Point Cook through to Werribee South Beach continues to produce plenty of flathead. Worm and grub pattern soft plastics in natural tones rigged on 1/8 to 1/4 oz. jig-heads have been effective. Likewise, drifting baits of cut pilchard and pipi has also been highly successful. As the action in the shallows slows through the latter stages winter, don’t be afraid to move out wider. Speaking to a crew cleaning their catch at the ramp recently, it seems there’s an abundance of smaller flatties up to 35cm congregating along the shipping channel. These fish were responding positively to small pieces of fresh squid.
Further west, land-based anglers have been well catered for within the sheltered confines of Corio Bay. Garfish have been plentiful of late and they should continue schooling in this area well into spring. Depending on the wind direction, anywhere from St Helens through to Limeburners Point is worth a shot, but the key is to berley.
A breadcrumb based mixture, combined with a drop of tuna oil, a few handfuls of maggots and some finely chopped pilchards, is all you need. Rigs consist of a thin pencil style float, set about 1 to 2 m above a size 12 or 14 hook baited with a few maggots or small piece of silverfish. Try to keep the line and leader as thin as possible, say no heavier than 3-4lb breaking strain, and weight the float down with split shot so that only the very tip is visible above the surface.
Amongst the gars, anglers can also expect to catch yellow-eye mullet and snotty trevally, particularly along the Geelong waterfront. Pinkie snapper and salmon have also been prevalent in this area, along with the occasional school mulloway, which seem to be showing up almost everywhere this winter.
The lower Yarra River has been fishing well for pinkie snapper and salmon in recent weeks. Those casting flesh baits from the rock groins that line the Warmies boating channel have been picking up good pinkies to 2kg, along with some chunky salmon on metal slugs. Armed with live tube worms he’d collected earlier in the day, Graeme Bergin and his son, Cody, managed some quality bream to 39cm from the mouth of the Yarra River.
Reports from the Maribyrnong River have been few and far between, but that’s not because it isn’t fishing well. At this time of year, the stretch from Edgewater down to Flemington Race Course has been a consistent performer for those fishing with fresh mussel and live tube worm. Keen soft plastic enthusiast, Nelson Martins, managed a handful of bream ranging from 29-34cm casting Berkley Power Bait Hawgs in the Watermelon colour pattern. Working the plastic back along the rocky margins with a series of subtle twitches and pauses did the trick for Nelson on this occasion. Unfortunately, he also missed a few bream of similar proportions when the hook failed to stay connected.
Jeff Bice and his seven year old son, Jake, hit the Werribee River hoping for a feed of bream. Using live tube worms for bait, Jeff says there were quite a few around, the largest of which measured up at 43cm. Also fishing the Werribee River, Corey Gallagher managed a neat little 51cm jewie and a few small bream whilst prospecting the system for the first time.
Been fishing? Reports, including a general description of when, where and how the fish were caught, and photographs may be submitted via email to --e-mail address hidden-- .Reads: 1915