The onset of winter generally sees a reduction in angler activity across the western shores of Port Phillip, but that’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom. In fact, now is prime time on the inner reefs to tangle with a few pinkie snapper.
Likewise, Australian salmon are expected to be on the prowl this month, while the resident bream and school mulloway should continue to keep the river fishos busy.
During the cooler months, loads of juvenile pinkie snapper, ranging from well below the legal 28cm size limit up to 40cm or thereabouts, gather in the shallows. Feeding on mussels, scallops, marine worms, crabs and the abundant bait schools, which also seek refuge across the inner reefs at this time of year. Pinkies can offer some entertaining action through winter.
Lurking on the outskirts, the odd larger specimen can also be expected. For those who prefer to fish on the drift with lures and soft plastics, give the Berkley Gulp! Turtle Back Worms a whirl. Rigged on a 1/12-1/8oz jighead and connected to 8lb leader material and 6lb Fireline, it’s tough to beat this combination.
Anglers fishing at anchor also do well at times on small flesh baits presented amongst a berley trail.
Given the right conditions, many of the local piers and jetties offer excellent access for land-based anglers, while pockets of pinkie snapper are also available in the lower to middle reaches of both the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers, including Victoria Harbour and the Docklands precinct.
Recent reports indicate there’s still quite a few flathead on offer across the inner reefs from Williamstown through to Altona, although pinkie snapper and Australian salmon will feature more prominently as the water temperature continues to drop over the coming month.
Try casting soft plastics on the drift through the early part of the morning or late in the evening, particularly when these times coincide with the change of tide. Even better still, a slight to moderate chop and overcast conditions are just about perfect. Any sign of birds diving at bait schools is worthy of investigation. Salmon are usually not too far away, while sneaky scavengers, including pinkie snapper, can often be found mopping up the scraps below.
Southern calamari continue to offer the most consistent sport around at Point Cook with small to medium size jigs in natural tones providing all the action along the 5-6m line.
Although there’s still a few King George whiting on the go, they are gradually making a move further south along the Bellarine Peninsula where they should fire over winter. The outer Corio Bay harbour region has been fishing well of late for pinkie snapper and flathead on worm pattern soft plastics. Trolling diving minnows and metal slugs has also resulted in plenty of salmon either side of Point Henry and in through Stingaree Bay.
For those willing to fish through the night, it won’t be long before the big winter reds arrive in Geelong.
As the last of autumn slides on by, bream can be expected to become less active along the edges of the metropolitan rivers and a more viable target down deep. Top baits include live tube worms, Bass yabbies and fresh mussel, while sinking stick minnows and metal blades are also productive on schooled up winter bream.
Reports of some decent size pinkie snapper have been filtering through with the fish spread throughout the system from the entrance to the Yarra River right through to Docklands, and no doubt well up the Maribyrnong River.
John and Joey Regali have been putting in some time on the rivers of late and not without reward either. After several fruitless hours while fishing for mulloway in the lead up to the new moon, Joey decided to change tact, replacing a live mullet with an unweighted pilchard.
This proved to be a good move when just five minutes later his baitrunner screamed to the tune of a 4kg Docklands snapper! According to Joe, the big inner city red put up a mean fight and it was a challenge lifting it up onto the jetty. The boys have also encountered a few juvenile mulloway in recent weeks, along with quite a few bust offs and stories of the one that got away…
Down at Werribee South, the resident bream have been a little patchy with the odd good fish taken on sinking stick baits and crab imitations amongst the moorings. Further upriver, live tube worms and Bass yabbies have been producing some reasonable bags around the pines on the incoming tides.
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