At this stage, January is shaping up as a month to remember right across the western shores of Port Phillip. While the snapper bite generally starts to slow in the lead up to Christmas, the New Year is sure to bring many more memorable moments for those fishing out wide from Altona, Point Cook and Werribee South.
Early mornings coupled with a change in tide are your best bet with silver whiting and pilchard still the go-to baits in amongst a steady stream of berley.
For those casting soft plastics on the inner reefs, smaller pinkie snapper should start to make more of an appearance, particularly of an evening just prior to sunset, which can on occasion produce fish-a-cast action.
Anglers pitching lures and soft plastics ahead of a drifting boat can also reasonably expect to encounter flathead, snook, Australian salmon, and even the odd King George whiting in the shallows, sometimes all in one day!
Corio Bay’s outer harbour region is a prime target area for each of these species with the first two hours of the run-off tide generally bringing about the hottest bite.
The snapper fired in a big way during the early to middle stages of the season and although the hot bite has slowed somewhat of late, there are still some solid reds to be had.
Fishing at anchor in 16m of water off Altona, Jonathon Balfour secured a personal best snapper in amongst a hot early morning bite. Jonno says reds ranging from 3-5.1kg came on the chew just prior to sunrise and the action continued for a few hours. Although a bag limit of just three snapper in excess of 40cm could have achieved within just a few minutes, Jonno opted to keep just two and released more than a dozen others. All fish were taken on silver whiting and pilchard either side of a high tide change.
Mark Moseley emailed through a few photographs of his bag limit catch while fishing with his six year old son. Launching from Altona in the early hours of the morning, Mark headed out towards Fawkner Beacon, which has been a productive patch for him in the past. Apparently conditions were quite choppy so it took quite a while to get out. Once settled in position the action commenced at first light and within just 90 minutes the boys had secured their bag. Mark says they used pilchards rigged on a single 6/0 hook combined with a small running sinker. Cubed pilchards were also used as berley, with a handful or two introduced every 15 minutes or thereabouts.
Fishing from his pedal powered kayak, Dave Agius picked up quite a few Australian salmon while flicking soft plastics relatively close to Altona Boat Ramp. Dave says Gulp! Camo Sandworms and various paddle-tails did the trick on the salmon, which were spotted herding baitfish and put up a great fight on light gear.
Down at Corio Bay, Nick Whelan managed four ripping reds, the smallest of which went a healthy 5kg. Fishing with fresh squid, taken earlier in the afternoon, Nick also managed a personal best snapper with his first knobby-nose drawing the scales down to 7.51kg.
Andrew Dellaca and Corey Gallagher managed to get out for a good session on the Corio Bay snapper. Casting soft plastics on the drift, the boys finished with 6 reds between them, each weighing in at 3-5kg. According to Andrew, they were both well and truly smoked by some larger specimens, which proved far too powerful for their relatively light lure casting outfits.
At this time of year, Melbourne’s river systems are often overlooked by anglers searching for Port Phillip snapper and whiting. Nevertheless, plenty of bream will be on offer this month and those planning to compete in Round 1 of the 2013 Vic Bream Classic Series are no doubt finalising preparations before the two week pre-fish ban commences in mid-January. A more comprehensive round up of the metro rivers bream scene will be made available next month.
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.
I’d also like to wish V&TFM readers all the best for the year ahead. Thank you to those who have taken the time to email reports and images over the past 12 months. It is always very much appreciated and I look forward to hearing more about your success stories in 2014.Reads: 617