With the days cooling off and the water starting to do the same, this month really sees the start of the winter cycle in the bay. However don’t be fooled as the coming month or two can produce some of the best fishing of the year. Snapper can come back on the bite, pinkies and calamari invade the shallow reefs and even some surface feeders like salmon and even kingfish are still around.
The pier has been a little quiet on the garfish front but April usually always produces good numbers of these wrigglers, so it should only be a matter of time until they are around for everyone to enjoy.
While a bottom set up such as a paternoster rig with two droppers, then baiting one with pilchard tail and one with squid has seen plenty of smaller sized pinkies on offer of an evening and this should only get better as this month rolls by.
Up between Mentone and Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron now is also big flathead time with local anglers getting some lovely fish to 60cm on plastics and whitebait fished along the bottom in the 8-12m areas.
In the boats anglers are getting good numbers of pinkies along the reef edges, with lots of fish in the 30-35cm size, which are mostly being taken by anglers fishing for whiting. Speaking of which, the old Chinese fish has been a bit hot and cold to say the least. Some days good numbers of fish have been taken off locations such as the Horse Paddock Reef, Parkdale Pinnacles and Brickies Reef, and then the next not a fish to be seen.
As a bonus however, with the water getting really clear as it does at this time of the year, the squid are really starting to turn up in numbers. Land-based anglers are getting them off the Mordialloc and Beaumaris piers, while boat anglers are finding them on all the broken reefs.
Up Between Ricketts Point and Black Rock there are plenty of options on offer, with good numbers of pinkies to 40cm, the odd whiting and some decent salmon kicking around. With this in mind it may pay to take a few different outfits along when you head out.
This month will also see the bigger snapper turn up again among the rubble reefs. The 15-16m areas off Ricketts Point and towards Black Rock are the key areas to generally look. While it can be a numbers game as you work your way through the pinkies, it can be well worth it with more than the occasional red of 3-5kg lurking around. I have always found that the bigger harder baits, such as Californian squid or silver whiting will help to get the bigger fish, while for the lure guys try a 7” plastic.
The Anonyma Shoal has fished well all through March for a variety of species with anglers reporting everything from whiting and pinkies to squid, salmon and even some kingfish. By the looks of it, the kingies should hopefully stay around for another couple of weeks.
The reef that extends out under the cliffs at the Red Bluff Hotel, known as Yorkies, has produced the occasional whiting catch at dawn and dusk over the past weeks, along with a few squid and some decent numbers of pinkies, which should continue and even get better over the coming weeks.
Off the Sandringham breakwall and the Rock Groynes at Hampton, anglers have been having success on pinkies and flathead while fishing with small paternoster rigs baited with pipi and squid. For the lure fishers we have started to hear of plenty of squid moving onto the nearby reefs.
Along the shoreline at Green Point, it’s garfish time. This big shallow rock and reef area is a prime area to target garfish at this time of the year. If you’re in a boat, then just anchor on the reef edge, and if land-based just wade out to knee deep water then berley up – have shoulder bag with a few spare bits of tackle and you can have a ball catching a sack of big garfish.
At Brighton there have been good numbers of pinkies for the boat anglers who are prepared to move around to locate the schools of fish. It is also proving beneficial to keep moving until you find better-sized fish rather than just settling on the schools that are usually in the 30-35cm size.
Up Between North Road and St Kilda breakwall I haven’t heard a lot of reports over the past weeks. But one thing that I do know, is that the shallow reefs produce some huge garfish for the anglers who berley up in the slightly warmer water during April. The deeper areas in 4-8m are also ideal for red mullet as they get very active in the cooling water.
Now is the time to spend a few hours chasing some late season big snapper at night behind the breakwall at St Kilda. While the numbers many not be big, the fish certainly can be. Even though this is considered a night affair, the daylight hours can and have been producing some good bream for anglers flicking lures and unweighted baits around the moored boats.
As April rolls by, it also means time to put some effort in on the local mulloway population with some very big fish being a possibility for land-based and boat anglers, especially off locations such as Lagoon and Kerford Road piers, with best baits being either small live mullet or fresh squid.
For the kayak guys now is also a great time to get out along the foreshore between St Kilda and Station piers and troll small diving minnows in 4-10m of water in search of pinkies, salmon and some solid late season flathead.Reads: 1225