Crisp, calm and full of promise
  |  First Published: June 2015

Sadly, the shorter and colder days are well and truly upon us, and the longer brighter days of the warmer months have been left behind. The cool days have continued this month and we have also been treated to some substantial rainfall. Hopefully the early months of winter will bring the crisp, calm days that make fishing on the south of the bay a rewarding (yet cold) experience.

At this time of year I always tend to be delivering the same motivational message about rugging up and getting amongst the action, but as Victorians we don’t have much choice. But seriously though, while the days (especially the mornings) can be a little chilly, the middle of the day is often very pleasant. Shorter daylight hours also tend to produce more condensed and frantic bite windows for some species, as they too will be changing their feeding habits to adjust to their environment or other seasonal influences like spawning, etc.

Specifically, there have still been plenty of encouraging snapper reports from this part of the bay, which is great to see. While no surprise to many, the presence and reliability of winter snapper fishing in PPB is starting to gain some real momentum in the bay amongst the bay’s anglers. Speaking to some anglers in the know recently, they have all said that you will catch fewer snapper at this time of year, but they are almost always better quality fish, and have better table qualities as well. These larger solitary snapper tend to be taken from the deeper marks out wide near the channel, and also over the vast mud areas south of Mount Martha.

The winter spin-off for many anglers is also the vast amounts of smaller school fish and pinkies that can be targeted close to, and right amongst the inshore reefs. These smaller fish are generally in greater numbers, can be located easily on your sounder, and will respond to a variety of methods. They will also readily take soft plastics and other sinking lures, and trolled lures as well. Fishing this way is not only great for anglers of all ages and skill levels, but also brings plenty of by-catch into the frame and can make for a very fun day over the cooler months.

The recent rain that we have received is great for the bay, and really gives the inshore areas and the bay’s food chain in general a good old shot in the arm. Although the water colour and clarity may be affected for a little while after rain, many species will make the most of the food on offer and really cash in. As a result many of the popular land-based locations can be a real hotspot, especially near the mouths of rivers and substantial drains for a variety of species, especially salmon and other predatory fish.

Specifically, the bream fishing in various locations has kicked up a notch over the last month, especially in the Patterson River. Bait fishing with garden or scrub worms can be very effective when the water is dirty, as well as using vibration style lures or plastics in the same areas and close to structure. There has still been plenty of reports of mulloway in the river as well, particularly amongst the dedicated crew of night live baiters, so be prepared to tangle with something a little bigger as well!

My little mate Mark Bolger has been doing very well of late on the bream down on the Peninsula as well, mainly using unweighted plastics in the local creeks and estuaries. He has landed some nice fish amongst lots of little ones.

Unfortunately, the recent rain and dirty water will slow down the squid, and garfish action in the shallows, but this will return when the water clears. The squid in particular will hold in areas of clean water, and will often school in large numbers. Sometimes they will also move onto deeper reefs as well, so don’t be shy to change things up a bit if you’re on the lookout.

Expect the eastern shores of PPB to really fire up over the next month for salmon as the water cools even more, as well as the local surf beaches. Recently, I have been following schools moving along the coast, even by car, and meeting up with them at various points along the way. They are easily spotted, and will respond well to a variety of lures and plastics, but you will often need to cast a fair way, so metal lures and sinking stick baits are your best bet. This is even more effective from a boat or kayak in calmer weather, but recent conditions have been more conducive to land-based missions.

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