Just as anglers’ expected
  |  First Published: April 2015

Lower than normal temperatures have continued the trend from the end of summer right through to the beginning of autumn, as many of the bay’s anglers had expected.

While this has provided some very consistent fishing along many of the inshore areas and reefs in our part of the bay, the spin-off has been inconsistent and varied fishing in the deeper areas for the more popular target species. The prolonged hot weather we have become used to at this time of year, hasn’t happen so far – maybe a hot Easter is on the cards?

The patchy snapper fishing has continued for the most part this month, but I reckon part of the reason for the lack of good snapper reports has been that less anglers are chasing them at the moment. Instead they are looking further afield, and who can blame them with several game and sportfishing options now available along the east and west coast, as well as other options closer to home as well.

The lower water temperatures of this year have also made the snapper fishing harder work, but the most productive area still seems to be the wider grounds out from Mount Martha to Safety Beach in 20-22m. Most of the snapper feeding in these areas are larger more solitary fish that graze across the mud bottom, and therefore respond well to a patient approach, quality bait and a nice steady flow of berley.

As the water temperatures cool down even further as we move closer to winter, the reds will put on more condition, and become a little less active, but sometime spent on your sounder and the use of some fresh bait will certainly put some nice fish in the boat.

Plenty of quality whiting have also been taken throughout the last month on the bay, and as per normal, the land-based anglers have been doing just as well as the boaties in many areas. Daveys Bay, Canadian Bay, Bird Rock, Woolleys Reef and Sunnyside have all been productive, especially during times of low light and even at night on the right tides. Whiting always respond well to good quality bait, and fresh pipis, mussels, Bass yabbies and squid are all worth a try. A bit of berley also helps at times although this can also bring the ‘picker’ fish around as well. It’s a good bet to have a float amongst the action, especially in the more sheltered bays. Even though the gars have been a little patchy this year, they have been in good numbers and size when they finally show up.

Steady and cooler water temperatures have kept the squid fishing very consistent all summer, and the last month has been no exception. I reckon that the average size seems to be much better this year as well, with plenty of kilo-plus squid being taken by anglers along various reefs and inshore areas, even from the heavily fished piers and rock areas. The clear and clean water, and the abundance of bait in these areas is a big help as well. I have been doing best on red, green and gold coloured squid jigs, and have even been catching a few on surface lures and unweighted jigs when the conditions are right!

Talking to Shaun and the crew down at Launching Way, there still has been plenty of action on mulloway and bream in the Patto over the past month. Most of the mulloway are being taken on live baits, and the boys have been putting in plenty of hours on the water gathering bait and fishing the prime tides and times in the river. Most of the fish being taken are averaging 3-5kg with a few larger models giving anglers a lesson or two on the local river structure when they are hooked.

Seething schools of feeding salmon have also been a big feature over the past month or so, with a few kingies still hanging around them for good measure. Small 2-4” stickbait style soft plastics have been very effective as they closely match the bait the salmon are feeding on. Kayak anglers and boats with electric motors are most effective and they can follow feeding schools without spooking them. Conventional boat set-ups are best served to approach a feeding school from up-wind, as the salmon will generally feed into the wind.

Photo courtesy of Mark Bolger.

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