A burst of warmer than expected weather leading in to winter certainly seems to have set the scene for some amazing fishing in and around Melbourne this month, and hopefully beyond.
Many pinkie snapper, along with the odd larger specimen, have been pushing well up into the Yarra River with some making off with baits and lures intended for bream. These fish are expected to remain in the system for quite some time, particularly with the amount of bait in the form of yellow-eye mullet currently on offer.
School mulloway are another species for anglers who chase bream are likely to encounter through winter. Indeed, some dedicated crew specifically target these silver shadows with live baits, metal vibes and paddle-tail soft plastics, and we’re now finding they’re beginning to show up more regularly on the inner reefs and around piers and jetties within the bay itself, as well as the metropolitan rivers.
Pinkies averaging 30-40cm and at times up to 60cm, which is approaching fully fledged snapper proportions, are on the go just outside the mouth of the Yarra River at Port Melbourne. Soft plastics and flesh baits presented in depths of 4-6m, especially early in the morning and late evening, have been effective.
Darren Weda from indepthangler.com.au spent a morning casting soft plastics in amongst the ruined remains of Princess Pier where he managed a dozen pinkie snapper to 48cm in relatively quick succession. Once the sun was on the water however, the bite slowed considerably.
Andre Lindsey from Melbourne Fishing Charters put clients on to a session to remember when a school of late season reds to 4kg turned up at the same location. Andre says he was actually targeting school mulloway, which have been frequenting the area of late, but the snapper soon took centre stage with multiple double hook ups and some blistering bust ups amongst the dense wooden structure. The unexpected hot bite occurred at dawn, which coupled with overcast conditions and high barometric pressure, proved a winning formula. The best bait on this occasion was the humble pilchard.
Little more than a few casts further west at Williamstown, reasonable numbers of pinkies have been taken on baits of fresh squid and half pilchards presented amongst a berley trail. The main reef just out from the football ground in 4 to 5m of water is the go, especially of evening.
Around at Altona, squid have been gathering in numbers across the inner reefs and weed beds with bag limits catches available on most outings. Among those to do well, Ray Caruana and his son Mason had no trouble putting a meal of calamari on the table after drifting the shallows with both white and green prawn imitation jigs.
Flathead and squid have been absolutely on fire from Point Cook through to Werribee South as most anglers seem to be returning to the ramp with a feed. Aided by a light to moderate breeze, drifting squid strips and blue bait in 4-6m of water out from the RAAF base has been producing some cracking flathead averaging 30-45cm, with some pushing 55cm, which is terrific sport for winter!
Aaron Bradbury says casting soft plastics in just 3m of water off Duncans Road has been highly effective on the flatties, while the squid have equally responsive towards small jigs in a range of colours.
Bream and pinkie snapper continue to provide entertainment within both the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers, but the highlight to date has been the number of school mulloway currently residing in the system. Either side of a change in tide, when the current slows to a trickle, is undoubtedly prime time for schoolies, most of which have been averaging 55-75cm in length.
Targeting the base of bridges, jetty pylons and even patches of rubble in between the more obvious structures, has been producing and where you find one, there are generally a few more nearby.
Michael Felsovary from Hooked on Bait and Tackle reports the Werribee River bream have been a little inconsistent of late, but those who take the time to source quality live baits are definitely faring best. Mick has a good supply of live bloodworm in stock, along with plenty of small freshwater yabbies, which can be dynamite at times, especially after a decent drop of rain.
Fishing from both the fixed wooden jetty and the floating pontoons at Werribee South has been effective for some, particularly after dark when bream to 35cm are responding well on the run-in tides.
Yellow-eye mullet have also been keeping land-based anglers busy with raw chicken, bread and various dough mixtures accounting for most.
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