The welcome change of pace over the cooler months has definitely arrived, and many anglers are looking forward to the run up to winter on the bay. While some of the bay’s anglers are not huge fans of fishing during the cooler months, I certainly enjoy this season on our great bay. While the days can certainly be cool, the fishing is definitely worth it.
The biggest misconception is that the snapper disappear as we move towards winter. While it is true that currently the late season grazers we have come to expect off Mount Martha are not in great numbers yet, let’s hope this changes. For the most part, the eastern snapper season has been very different this year; hopefully a strong Easter run will return the balance.
Most of the snapper reports of late have been coming from the inshore reefs and from larger solitary fish being taken from shallow areas nearby. Anglers targeting these locations with bigger baits have been doing best with most of these bigger models around 5-6kg in size. Baits of salmon fillet, whiting and couta heads and other substantial offerings are all worth a try. Productive spots have been the Frankston Wreck, Wooleys Reef, The Royal Reef off Mornington and the Pinnacles at Mount Martha.
The shallow feeding pattern is also the best time for the pier and rock anglers to get amongst some late season action as well. My suggestion would be to employ the same big bait theory, and also fish during windier conditions and also at first and last light during a rising tide.
In addition there are always plenty of pinkies to keep the kids busy on the reefs as well, and these little guys are great fun on light gear. While there is no shortage of undersized fish, first and last light missions drifting with baits and casting lures is likely to produce some nice pinkies to 2kg with some patience, persistence and paying close attention to your sounder. Smaller pinkies tend to show up as a total mass, but larger fish will normally have some separation between them and the bottom, and will also have a darker colour return.
The shallow reefs have also been turning up a real mixed bag of other species as well, on top of the normal bags of squid that most anglers are targeting. My good mate Josh Dentry has been hitting the shallows with the little ruggies in tow of late and turning over all sorts of surprises including leatherjacket, banjo sharks, rock flathead and red mullet.
As we start to receive some more regular and substantial rain, the bait and forage fish populations will feed and populate more heavily along the inshore areas, and closer to the reefs, which is one of the main reasons that we normally experience snapper action in these areas at this time of year. Expect salmon and other predators to never be too far away either, especially nearby the outfall of storm water drains and pipes.
The Patterson River has certainly been given a recharge over the past month or so, with plenty of bread and butter action in the river itself with gars, mullet, salmon and also some quality bream all being taken by what seems to be an ever growing bunch of anglers lining the banks. The bream lure fishing has also been pretty good as well, especially amongst the kayak anglers in particular who have been fooling a few of the older and smarter models on the new Cranka Crabs.
It’s also that time of year again when the Patto turns on some great light tackle action for smaller school sized mulloway, and already I have had several recent reports of fish to around 55-60cm in length being taken on a variety of lures, and also a few being taken on live baits.
Larger 5-15cm soft plastics seem to be most effective at the moment, especially while the tide is not running at full strength. A few anglers have also been doing pretty well walking along the length of the river casting shallow running barra hardbodies at fist light, especially when fish can be seen actively feeding on bait on the surface.
With all this and more to look forward to on the bay, now’s the time to get out and get amongst the action.
Josh Dentry got the kids amongst the action in the new family boat off Mount Martha recently. The mixed bag also included flathead, leatherjacket and squid.
Naomi Coveney with a lovely pinkie snapper taken on a soft plastic off Mount Martha. Photo courtesy Doug Phayer.
Winter is a great time for the family on the water.Reads: 870