Despite the recent decline in both air and water temperature, the fishing remains steady across Port Phillip west.
This month, expect Melbourne’s resident population of school mulloway to make more of an appearance in the metropolitan rivers. Over the past few years, May seems to have been a trigger point for these silver beasts and this season I’m predicting there will be some whoppers caught (or at least hooked) in each of the major tributaries. Pinkie snapper should also be active in the lower reaches of the Yarra River, whilst bream will gradually start to move away from the shallow edges in search of deeper haunts.
Squid have been the mainstay at Avalon and much of the Bellarine Peninsula over the past month with bag limit catches still on offer in 3-5m of water. I took my 2-year-old daughter, Zoe, out for go on the squid recently and she had an absolute blast putting her new rod and reel into action. Dark coloured jigs were the standout and at times up to half a dozen squid could be spotted below the boat following their hooked counterpart to the net.
Phil Waters reports that the rescheduled Portarlington Mussel Festival Flathead Challenge took place in near perfect conditions at Clifton Springs Boat Harbour, after strong westerly winds forced the postponement. Daniel Johnson started at dawn, fishing soft plastics at Maddens Lane, where during the week he landed a 68cm specimen. However, the best he could muster on the day of the event was a 700g flatty. Fortunately, this was enough to secure first place and the $100 cash prize and trophy.
More recently, Phil and good mate, Ray Beeden, headed out wide from Indented Head where setting the anchor in 23m of water resulted in a relatively slow start until a few flatties and salmon were taken on pilchard. Soon after transforming the small but legal size sambos into fillet baits and berley, the action heated up with a series of runs producing a couple of small seven-gill sharks, a gummy of 6.1kg and some thrilling bust ups and bite offs!
Over the past month, pinkie snapper of just a few hundred grams and up to 2kg have been taken with reasonable consistency from the mouth of the Yarra River through to Point Gellibrand. Casting soft plastics in 3-6m of water over the section of reef in front of the Williamstown Football Ground has been successful, particularly during early morning or late afternoon high tides.
Pinkie snapper are expected to provide some entertainment in the lower reaches of the metropolitan rivers this month. Already there have been fish to 1.5kg taken at the entrance to the Yarra River and don’t be surprised to see some larger specimens arrive in the lead up to winter. Fresh mussel meat and flesh baits such as cut pilchard and striped tuna often account for these river-run reds at this time of year.
For those pitching soft plastics, worm imitations rigged on 1/8-1/4oz jigheads and worked along the edge of the channel and are the go. Tried and trusted target areas include the jetties and swing moorings at Williamstown, as well as the rock groins that line the warm water outlet at Newport, especially when the power station is operating. A series of jetties and pontoons dotted along the western shoreline from the mouth through to the West Gate Bridge are popular with land-based anglers.
Similarly, the passenger ferry jetty just downstream of Pier 35 on the eastern bank also provides a shore-based option. Further upriver, the area surrounding the base of the Bolte Bridge adjacent to North Wharf is a popular location. Somewhat surprisingly, a good run of juvenile reds also venture well up into the calm waters of Victoria Harbour.
Bream tournament specialists, including Dale Baxter and Toby McClure to name a few, have been giving the Maribyrnong River a serious working over of late. Sight casting at fish averaging either side of 1kg has been common, particularly along the rocky banks in the middle reaches of the system. Edgewater Estate has been a bit of a hotspot, though at times the fish can be lethargic and reluctant to chase down a lure. As the cooler weather gradually takes hold, expect the resident bream to move away from the edges and start to school up around the base of the bridge pylons and deeper holes.
According to Michael Felsovary from Hooked on Bait and Tackle, the mouth of the Werribee River at Werribee South has been fishing well for bream. Interestingly, a few mulloway have been reported further along the beach towards the jet ski ramp. No doubt the new marina area and adjacent rock groins at the end of Duncan’s Road is attracting its share of baitfish and, of course, some larger predators.
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