As we enter the final month of the calendar year, the fishing is really heating up across the western shores of Port Phillip. After a somewhat slow start, snapper are firing, but that’s not all! Expect to see some solid blue spot flathead this month, along with plenty of King George whiting, snook and even more squid.
So, if you haven’t already, now is definitely the time to make the most of the fishing opportunities before the end of year festivities.
Squid are still in abundance on the Bellarine Peninsula, particularly along the stretch from Queenscliff through to St Leonards, with quite a few also on the go amongst the patches of weed just out from the boat ramp at Clifton Springs.
Increasing numbers of snapper have been turning up inside Corio Bay over the past few weeks with both bait and soft plastics producing fish. Most of the larger reds have fallen to baits of pilchard and silver whiting of an evening and well into the night under the cover of darkness. Those casting soft plastics over the various spoil grounds between Point Henry and Clifton Springs will also be in with a shot at a decent snapper this month; along with some good flathead, snook and smaller pinkies.
There is already plenty of bait stationed just out from the caravan parks at Leopold in 5-6m of water. Hopefully the commercial crew can give the area a break over the summer period and with any luck it will fire as it did this time a few years back.
Flathead, pinkies and bream continue to remain active within the channel and amongst the moorings at Limeburners Lagoon. Fishing either side of the high tide change is essential in this area, with the first hour of the run off generally producing the hottest bite. Scented wriggly tail soft plastics, such as Gulp Turtle Back Worms and the new Nemesis range presented on a light 1/16 to 1/8oz jighead will be a good option over the summer months.
Pipi and mussel baits should continue to account for King George whiting from Werribee South through to Point Cook. Try setting the anchor out a little wider in 5-7m of water for the best results at this stage. As the water temperature continues to rise, expect these fish to become more active in the shallow areas of sand and seagrass, pushing into just 2-4m at times, particularly at dawn and dusk.
Squid have also been a regular target at Point Cook with both red and gold foil jigs producing relatively consistent catches of squid for those drifting along the 3-6m line.
A seemingly endless stream of social media reports and images suggests many anglers have been snaring at least a few reds over the past few weeks. The local charter operators in particular have been setting the bar high and putting clients on to some great fish across northern parts of the bay. Indeed, most of the inner reef systems from Altona around to Port Melbourne and beyond have been highly productive.
For those launching from Altona, reds have been firing in close at Millers Road and the cardinal marker, as well as the outer anchorage and P2 area. Snapper between 1-5kg have been a common catch on pilchards, silver whiting and squid heads drifted down through a berley trail of cubed pilchard.
Among those to do well, Phil Jordan and Michael Kilpatrick have taken reds to 4kg on the drift in 10m of water casting a range of Berkley soft plastics, including Gulp Crazy Legs Jerk Shads and 3” minnows. Phil says the period just prior to sun down has been the most productive, particularly when this coincides with a change in tide.
Darren Ryan and Dan Mizzi have been picking off a few reds at Altona and Williamstown respectively. Further east, Pete Mesto kicked off his season in style with a hot bite at Black Rock, also in 10m of water at sunset.
Local lure casting enthusiast, Joel Bramble, emailed through a few photographs of his recent efforts on the Maribyrnong River where the bream are starting to move with vigour. Whether fishing from his trusty pedal powered kayak or teaming up with Blake Gallagher on board his small sports fishing rig, the technique has remained the same for Joel with small crab imitations cast tight up against structure bringing many of the bream undone.
Spawning activity has made the Werribee River bream somewhat difficult to predict over the past few weeks, though there have been quite a few caught well upstream of the K-Road cliff area. Live sand or tubeworm has been a standout of late for the bait anglers, while lightly weighted worm pattern soft plastics are also well worth a shot amongst the patches of cabbage weed.
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