Late summer an appealing possibility
  |  First Published: March 2015

More mild weather has continued for the past month on the bay. And although daytime temperatures have been down considerably from what we are used to for this time of year, that hasn’t seemed to stop the wind blowing.

Consistent onshore winds have made angling and boating opportunities a bit limited at times, but some longer windows and warmer days seem to be on the horizon for the near future. In fact, recently we have just had our first string of consecutive hot days in a row for a long time. Some people I have spoken to in recent times believe that we will have a late summer, perhaps they are right.

Snapper reports have slowed over the past month or so, as many of the bays anglers are looking further afield towards Western Port to chase the whiting, or down south of the bay to the Rip to tangle with a kingie or two (more on that later).

One of the best snapper reports I have received of late came from Colac local Dan Makerell, who ventured over from the western districts region to try his hand at a few snapper in the bay. Going by a general location report provided by a few mates, Dan sounded some solid fish out wide from Mornington and Mount Martha in 22m and went to work fishing 4” Atomic Prongs on Seekers jigheads slowly along the bottom, as well as using baits of fresh whiting heads on 5/0 hooks.

In awesome conditions, Dan and his mate Declan ‘Head’ Betts landed some ripper fish up to and above 6kg and had a ball of a time in the process. The wider marks out from the shipping channel are prime locations to have a look for a snapper at the moment if you’re keen, and the big key is to spend time using your sounder to locate good numbers of fish before setting your baits or lures in the zone.

Just like Dan reported, often the reds at this time of year respond well to very little movement and drift, so patience with your baits and subtle movement of your lures will often work best.

As has been the trend for the last couple of seasons, the mulloway have turned up at the Patterson River in a big way. It seems to me to be much earlier this year, but who’s complaining! Many of the mulloway landed have been taken by anglers fishing with live mullet and salmon at night, or during tide changes close to the beginning or end of the day. It’s easy to look at the glory shots of old mate holding up a mulloway for a happy snap, but often hours of preparation and effort have gone into gathering bait, waiting for your reward and hopefully success.

Shaun at Launchingway told me recently that the best part of the action has definitely been around the tide change, and also during the early morning hours when most sane people are safely tucked away in bed. Some anglers have also been doing pretty well chucking lures and soft plastics around the flood gate entrances on dusk as well.

The Patto has also been fishing very well for some quality bream for bait and lure anglers. Your humble author even got amongst the action recently, re-introducing himself to some of his pets in the canals. Plenty of mullet, small salmon and even the odd squid have been around the lower reaches of the river during the right tides.

While the kingfish mayhem continues in the far south of the bay, and right along the east and west coast of the state, there’s still quite a few around my part of the bay as well. The best place to find them is swimming with the enormous schools of salmon that are around at the moment, they will often be directly underneath them! The hardest thing is getting a lure or bait to them before the salmon get it first. The use of a livebait like a small salmon or squid is a good start, or even try a massive soft plastic or surface stick bait to tempt them to bite.

I have received a few reports of smaller rat kings being landed from the Mornington Pier again this month, as well as a few monumental ‘big ones that got away’ stories that may have involved larger kingies. Mornington Pier has also been producing plenty of gars on the calmer days, and squid during the night and early and late in the day.

While I haven’t received many reports of late and haven’t run into my regular anglers that I see along my local beaches, don’t forget that now is prime time to catch some tasty whiting from your local beach or rocks. Approaching dusk and just into dark is the best time, and fresh mussels, pipis and squid are the best baits.

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