Over the past few weeks there’s been a major shift in focus as many anglers turn their attention from all things snapper to King George whiting. King George whiting are in fantastic numbers.
Indeed, the whiting are set to hit their straps across the northwest flank of Port Phillip and already there have been some cracking bags sprawled across the cleaning benches at some of major boat ramps. A reduction in boat traffic this month should see even more fish feeding with greater confidence over the shallow patches of sand and weed at Point Cook, Werribee South, Point Wilson and Avalon. The best bait options include fresh mussel, pipi and small pieces of tenderised squid or cuttlefish amongst a steady stream of berley while at anchor in about 3-6m of water.
There’s plenty of squid on offer from Wyndham Harbour through to Point Cook and the bite should continue well into February. Fishing on the drift over reef and weed, again along the 3-6m line has been productive with small 2.5-3.5 size jigs in various natural colour tones producing most. If at all possible, try not to be in too much of a hurry to bring a hooked squid to the net. In most instances, there will be others following intently which can be easily coerced into taking a second jig. With two or more anglers on-board, a bag of squid can be achieved in double or triple time by incorporating this ‘piggybacking’ style technique. The key is to ensure a hooked squid remains at least a metre under the surface, which really seems to send any others in the pod into a frenzy.
Flathead averaging 30-40cm, as well as the odd larger specimen, are expected to remain active at Werribee South. The flats either side of the boating channel at the entrance to Werribee River have seen some thumpers turn up of late. Likewise, the stretch from the new marina rock wall off Duncans Road through to Campbells Cove seems to hold a greater concentration of these larger than average flatties.
Although the best of the snapper season seems to have well and truly passed, working the inshore shallow reef areas between Altona and Williamstown with soft plastics should see quality pinkie snapper turn up this month. By shallow, I’m talking depths of just 4-6m of water where those with smaller craft, including tinnies and kayaks, are in with an even chance of accessing the prime real-estate. The majority encountered from here on in are likely to be in the small to medium size bracket, ranging from just under size up to say 50cm or thereabouts and there’s always a chance of the odd larger red making an appearance. Soft plastics with wriggly tail actions, such as Gulp Turtle Back Worms and the Nemesis range rigged on a 1/6 or 1/8 Nitro Stealth jighead, get the job done.
Australian salmon have been active at times at the entrance to the Yarra River and the adjacent reefs. Again, casting soft plastics among a surface feeding frenzy is generally a sure bet. Trolling small metal lures or skirts also account for plenty of these feisty critters.
Bream have been active in the lower reaches of the Yarra River at Newport and the rock walls, channel markers and moored yachts have each produced some quality specimens for both bait and lure anglers alike. Avid bait fisherman, John Regali reports that bream to 35cm have taken maggots presented on a small hook and rigged in conjunction with a berley cage either side of the West Gate Bridge. Filling the berley cage with a breadcrumb based mixture and a handful of maggots helps bring and hold fish into the area. Once they start competing with one another for the loose offerings, it is only a matter of time before the hook bait is snaffled up. Light line of about 4lb breaking strain and small hooks no larger than say a 10 or 12 is the key when fishing for bream with maggots. John says pinkie snapper to 40cm and the odd small mulloway have also succumbed to this method.
Further upriver, Troy Longson says live yabbies have accounted for some good bream of late with the last of the incomings tides producing the hottest bite.
Victoria Harbour holds a few bream among the abundant jetty pylons and small grub pattern soft plastics, vibes and crab imitations worked vertically beside these structures prove to be consistently effective.
Aside from bream, school mulloway will no doubt be lurking about the bridge pylons in both the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers again this month. Casting paddle-tail soft plastics and larger metal vibe patterns into the shade of these structures, either side of high or low water, is a tried and trusted method, but of course there are no guarantees when it comes to fishing for mulloway.
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