Squid flock to the Bay
  |  First Published: May 2016

Cooler winter weather brings with it the squid and pinkie season, and anglers are now getting out on the water and getting into plenty of good-eating fish.

The other great thing about the coming months, is that the land-based fishing options in this part of the world really start to come into their own, in fact many anglers who have boats tend to find themselves heading to a rocky bit of shoreline to cast a squid jig around for some calamari late in the afternoon on their way home from work.

Mordialloc To Black Rock

With the water cooling down, it’s now getting to that time of the year when the creek starts to really fire with big schools of mullet. The best way to catch them is with a fine float carefully balanced with a split shot. Use small hooks in size 8-10 and bait with tiny pieces of peeled prawn, dough or bits of chicken. From there you will also need a fine berley of mashed bread or a fine bran and pollard style powder mixed with tuna oil.

On the pier itself, the mullet will often be out, keep in mind that fishing with the same method could also see you catch good numbers of garfish, which have started turning up in good numbers over the past weeks. Late in the evening pinkies have been caught on baits of half pilchards or small squid strips – this will only get better in the coming weeks and months.

Out on the boats, anglers are getting into good numbers of pinkies and squid at locations such as the Parkdale Pinnacles and up towards Rickets Point.

This month will see the return of those solid blue spot flathead that move into Beaumaris Bay. Either drift with a small paternoster rig baited with whitebait, or with small soft plastics bounced along the bottom. The Zman 3” Minnow in motor oil and bad shad patterns has worked particularly well.

I’m unsure as to what makes the flathead come to this area at this time of the year but there are some great fish on offer and often in reasonable numbers. I would just ask that anglers show some restraint and not keep too many of the bigger fish, to ensure there are plenty more for the future.

Beaumaris Pier has had a few squid caught off it each evening but it should really fire up this month as the water temperatures drop quickly.

From Ricketts Point to Black Rock it’s now definitely pinkie season with any reasonable evening seeing a bunch of boats fishing the edge of the reef through here, and if the past weeks are anything to go by, then this month should be great with good numbers of 30-35cm fish on offer and some anglers reporting that they have found fair numbers of fish around 45cm on bigger baits or 5-6” plastics.

Sandringham to St Kilda

In this part of the world there are plenty of land-based options at this time of the year, everywhere from Sandringham Breakwall to the Hampton rock groynes and up off Brighton Breakwall are all top locations to set you up for some solid land-based pinkies.

One of my favourite places is the end of the Sandringham Breakwall, as it drops into relatively deep water and on a southerly blow the waves push everything around the end of the point and the pinkies tend to gather. It’s also a perfect time to fish for calamari on the rough ground that runs all along this part of the bay, as they are currently in good numbers. This will only get better as they increase in size over the coming weeks. A good tip in this area is to fish with larger, lightly weighted jigs such as the Evergreen 3.5XS – it’s a 3.5 sized jig but only weighs 15g so sinks super slowly so you can fish it easily in even just 1m of water. It’s also one of the best jigs I’ve ever used as a drifting jig out the back of the boat. As for colours, try brown and gold patterns or clear prawn colours during the day and dark red patterns during low light periods.

Up at Brighton, either off the breakwall or out in the boats, the shallow reef areas have come into their own on the pinkies with some solid fish to over 2kg taken over the past weeks, while on the inside of the breakwall a few anglers have found good success on trevally when they berley with a fine bran style or just mashed up pilchards, then cast unweighted pilchard fillets or whitebait out and allow it to slowly sink through the water column.

As you move further north this month, you will see the local red mullet population become very active, and the shallow reefs from Brighton through to North Road area are excellent places to chase them. It’s also worth establishing a good fine berley trail, as there should be good numbers of garfish in the area also.

St Kilda To Port Melbourne

Now is the time to start looking for bream as they become quite active in this part of the bay in May. The prime areas to look are along the breakwalls, as the bream will patrol the edges where the rock meets the sand. Work these areas with small plastics or Cranka Crabs.

The other option is to berley with mashed pilchards or crushed up mussel shell and use unweighted mussel as bait. This can also be done around the moored boats, where the bream love to hang around.

Out in the boats, the extensive cunjevoi beds in the area will provide anglers with some big pinkies and even late season snapper for those anglers willing to fish into the evenings. If the water stays clean there should also be some good numbers of garfish available over the coming weeks and months for both boat and land-based anglers fishing off Lagoon and Kerford Rd piers.

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