Those anglers who have been waiting for the rewards of the winter months to arrive on the bay have certainly been given an early present! Although some unusually warm and mild days have occurred over the last month or so, the cold weather trend of crisp early mornings and late evenings on the bay are here to stay, at the very least for the next few months or so.
I really enjoy fishing PPB at this time of year as the water temperatures cool, and the food chain alters along the shoreline areas. Some species become more regular and achievable encounters, while others require a lot more effort, planning and persistence for success. The good thing for those who put in the time is that the table qualities of the species on offer at this time of year is generally better than during the cooler months.
Scattered reports of late run snapper have still continued to filter in over the last month, but to be honest I haven’t seen the number of anglers on the bay targeting snapper at the moment. No doubt a result of the inconsistency of recent months, many of the bay’s snapper anglers have looked towards the bay next door and west for a tuna as an alternative option over the last month.
Those that have stayed are still getting it done in the shallower marks in 8-12m, particularly on bigger and more substantial baits, much like last month. Reports have been most consistent early mornings and around the high tide change.
Plenty of pinkies and even a few early winter whiting have been around in these areas as well, particularly around Mount Martha and further south towards Dromana.
One of the more interesting turn of events over the past month was the seemingly sudden arrival of big numbers of bream in Mornington Harbour. Where these fish came from is anyone’s guess, most likely from one of the nearby estuaries after recent heavy rain, but the end result was some frantic sessions with bait and lure anglers getting amongst the action. Bass yabbies were the standout bait, and vibes and noisy deep crankbaits got it done for the lure boys.
The power of social media was in full swing once the word got out, and it was amazing how my local pier had changed into a sudden and productive bream fishery. Some nice bream were landed too, I saw more than a few 40cm models taken.
And in more exciting news, the reports from the Patterson River have been coming in thick and fast as well. Last season was the beginning of some reliable sports fishing for mulloway in the Patto post-Easter, and this has continued in earnest again this season. Once again most of the fish have been smaller 60cm models, but some much bigger models have been landed, and lost as well.
Scott Lovig and the crew from SLH have been doing very well from their Hobie’s early morning in the main river system. Slim profile minnows and the stealthy approach of the kayaks have produced some nice mulloway to 75cm. I have been told that the mulloway fishing we are currently experiencing both in PPB and in Western Port at the moment are a result of some particularly good recent recruitment in the Coorong, SA. I guess it makes sense.
Land-based anglers have also been getting amongst the action as well with heaps of small to medium models falling to hardbodied lures and soft plastics, mainly at night. I also saw a photo today of an 18kg brute that was landed under the rail bridge, and took a live mullet at slack tide. It’s worth noting that this is the prime time to fish for mulloway in the river as they become more active during this time, and move higher in the water column to feed. Keep your eyes, and ears peeled for and signs of surface feeding cast and hang on.
As far as the rest of the usual suspects go, there are still plenty of squid on the inshore reefs, and this will continue into the cooler months, although they will become a little less active. Gars have been a little scarce this autumn, but some good signs further north in the bay might see this change. Salmon will remain in big numbers, as will the pinkies and flathead in the shallow areas.Reads: 851