Change seasons, new opportunities
  |  First Published: March 2014

It seems like only yesterday that we were all getting ready for Christmas and the hot weather, and now here we are looking down the barrel of autumn and a change in the fishing season.

Nevertheless, I think it’s for the better with this month and April often producing some of the best fishing for the whole year. And best of all this generally coincides with some awesome weather, which often sees cooler mornings and perfect days. To this I say bring it on!

Mordialloc To Black Rock

The past few weeks have been a real mixed bag off the Mordialloc Pier with each day often producing something different, with anything from garfish to salmon and pinkies and even a few good sessions on the squid thrown in.

This month however we should really see a big influx in squid numbers moving in on the reef next to the pier. Add to this the odd small kingfish lurking around the nearby reefs, it’s well worth putting a live squid or garfish out under a float while you chase other species.

In the boats there are plenty of options, with a few whiting reports still filtering through from the Parkdale pinnacles, and up off the Horse Paddock Reef. The same areas are also holding good numbers of calamari with quite a few of them being of much better size.

While the same story is happening off Beaumaris Pier with squid starting to show up in better numbers and the odd decent pinkie being caught of an evening.

In along the edge of the reef that runs from the scout hall, around Ricketts Point and towards Black Rock we have been getting some excellent reports of some better sized pinkies moving back onto the reef. Some anglers have also been getting good numbers and some thumping big snook on trolled deep diving lures, which is generally the case over the coming months as the water starts to cool off.

During this month we should also start to see more consistent schools of salmon poking their heads up along the edge of the reef, and with them will still be a few kingfish, which were around in February for those anglers who were willing to target them.

For a change of pace I have also found the next two months to always be good for the very tasty red mullet in these parts. I have had success fishing smaller soft plastics close to the bottom in the reef areas, with the best plastics generally being the 100mm Squidgy Wrigglers or any of the 3” baitfish pattern plastics, such as the Gulp 3”minnows, especially in the brighter colours.

If bait is your thing then it’s very hard to go past a bit of cured sandworm, this stuff drives the red mullet bonkers.

Sandringham To St Kilda

As the water now starts to cool off just a little, the land-based fishing in this part of the bay really begins to shine once again. An influx of pinkies move back in on the shallow reefs, along with the squid and a few leftover schools of whiting from the past few months, it can make for some really great fishing and some very nice mixed bags of fish.

If I can offer one tip at this time of the year it’s to really make sure you have a few baits out as it can make all the difference, and that’s where a two dropper paternoster rig can be so handy. Bait one dropper with pipi or squid and the other with a bit of pilchard or bluebait; this way you can find yourself with a pinkie snapper one minute and a solid whiting the next. Try locations such as the Rock Groynes off Hampton but especially the Brighton breakwall as it just seems to produce some great fishing over the coming months.

Further to the north the water will still be a little warmer so it can and will still offer up some great flathead fishing if you can work the areas where the reef meets the sand with either baits or soft plastics.

Trolling the reef edge between Brighton and North Road is also a top place to find some snook over the coming month.

Over the past weeks I have also heard a few sneaky whiting reports from this part of the bay and fingers-crossed if we don’t get any dramatic rain to dirty the water we may see some good whiting action this month.

Out wider it may take a bit of looking but there will still be some good schools of snapper along the edge of the shipping channel up around the Fawkner Beacon and a slight drop in temperature it’s all that it will take to get them feeding once again.

St Kilda To Port Melbourne

If we continue to move into some nice settled weather over the coming weeks then this area will have some good fishing on offer. March and April often produce some great salmon schools and plenty of garfish action for both boat and land-based anglers.

The coming month will also see the bream activity start to fire up with the moored boats behind the breakwall and Station and Princess Piers offering up good fish for the lure fisher, or those who flick unweighted baits into the shadows.

Fishing at night with larger baits out between Kerford Road and Station Piers can see you with a big late season snapper, but for the most part there will be decent numbers of 1-3kg reds on offer.

It’s also the time of year anglers will start to see the odd ling turn up in their catches, and what these ugly fellas lack in the looks department they sure make up for in the tasty stakes.

Either way, as I mentioned before the fishing over the coming months can be sensational, it just means you now need a jumper!

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