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Bay becomes reds rally
  |  First Published: December 2014



The settled and mild weather conditions have continued over the past month or so, after what was the second warmest spring on average ever recorded in Melbourne. Calm and clear weather conditions for the most part have been interspersed with some ripper storms and strong onshore blows that have kept many of the bay’s keen anglers waiting a little longer to get out amongst the action.

The last month on the bay has been all about snapper, and after a frustrating couple of months for many anglers; the reds have really started to play the game, especially over the last few weeks. Many anglers had been reporting, and lamenting, massive schools of bait surrounding the snapper, which has made them a little more difficult to catch. This trend has changed over the past couple of weeks, and at the time of writing the bite windows have been getting longer and more snapper are being taken right throughout the day.

The presence of bait is a great sign for the health and vitality of our bay, and its food chain, and the mountain of food on offer for the grazing snapper has forced anglers to change things up a little to put some fish in the boat or on the bank. Lure fishing has been very productive, as well as trolling lures and other searching methods. More successful bait anglers have also been rotating their baits regularly to find the right one to tempt the snapper, that have plenty of natural offerings swimming around them already.

Specifically, most of the reports have been coming out from Carrum and Seaford in the deeper areas from 18-21m of water. The bite windows have been concentrated around first light and closer to the tide change, but this period has lengthened over recent weeks. More snapper are now being caught later in the day as the water temperature rises.

The size range of the snapper being caught in these areas has been quite varied, with many fish between 1.5-6kg, and a few bigger specimens thrown in as well. Of the reports that I have received, 6.8kg is the biggest red so far this month, but I have also heard of a couple of fish around the 8kg mark too. My mate Russ Horner has been sending me lots of photos and reports of late, keep the photos coming.

The most productive baits have been the good old pilchard, and it’s little wonder with the amount of pillies that are swimming around with the reds at the moment. Fresh squid, and silver whiting have also been good bait as well. I have not heard many reports of anglers using fillet baits, but I would always recommend the use of a fresh salmon or small tuna fillet to change things up a little.

At the moment, large numbers of fish have moved into the deeper grounds out from Mornington as well, especially out wider in the 20-22m range. Expect this area to keep producing right through summer as the smaller schooling snapper tend to hold in this area for long periods, and can bite right through the day at times.

As I mentioned earlier, lure fishing has been very productive, with some frustrated anglers turning to artificials to try and tempt the reds that they can see on their sounders out wide. The inshore areas have also been great, especially out from Seaford, Frankston and Mount Eliza in 8-12m of water. I reckon early mornings are the best time for these areas, but late arvo bait sessions can also be very productive, especially right on dusk as the snapper move in closer to feed.

Land-based anglers are still getting amongst the snapper action, especially off the various rock platforms along the esplanade from Mount Martha to Safety Beach, and around Mornington and Frankston. I have also heard a few early reports of some good whiting in the local areas as well, which is very promising moving into the height of summer ahead.

There are plenty of other options around too on the east of the bay at the moment, there’s just not enough room in this report! The Patto is turning over some nice bream, and still a few mulloway as well, and I have also had a few reports of some nice bream at Dromana Pier too.

The squid have been very thick along the usual areas, and a few gars have shown up around Canadian and Daveys Bay too. The salmon schools are also still around if you need to gather some fresh bait, or have some fun with the kids!

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