The past few weeks have seen some perfect clear sky days interrupted by wintery blasts and those keen enough to get out in the cold rough conditions have been rewarded with excellent scores of pinkies, while the calmer days have seen some really good fishing for squid and garfish.
The thing that is really amazing however is the quality of the water in the bay. A good dump of rain and some windy conditions creates some colour in the water, which clears up within a few days and the clarity allows anglers to see the bottom often in water up to 8m deep.
This is a far cry from years back when the suspended sediment would keep the water dirty for days on end after a blow. Depending on how you look at it, the clear or dirty water is a blessing in disguise with the cloudy coloured water generally producing first class pinkie fishing as they move onto the shallow reefs for mass feeding in the stirred up conditions. The clear water conditions seems to make the fish a bit timid to enter the shallows until the last light periods and then generally are gone after first light.
On the upside, the clear water makes perfect conditions for the calamari, which thrive on the shallow reefs in clear conditions.
Either way, it’s not a bad problem to have as at least anglers have a few choices with either the pinkies or squid and often time both at this time of the year.
The creek itself has been fishing quite well over the past weeks for the local winter mullet run. It will prove especially productive if the water has a bit of colour. The other good option has been to target patches of smaller-sized salmon that hang around the river mouth on the run-out tides and out on the pier itself. The garfish have made a bit of a return and some anglers have found good numbers of them on various days.
This month should see all these species continue to improve along with good numbers of squid that really move into the reef that lies on the right hand side of the pier.
Out in the boats the pinkie and squid fishing has been consistent from Mordialloc up to Rickets Point with the late afternoons producing some of the better fish for a few anglers who fish on the south or deeper side of the Parkdale Pinnacles in 8m of water. As an added bonus, several anglers have reported some good numbers of garfish.
Moving up into Beaumaris Bay this month should really see the big blue spot flathead start to fire up as they move into this corner of the bay in fairly solid numbers. If you’re keen to get out on them then try drift fishing with either a small paternoster style rig baited with whitebait, or if you’re more into casting lures, use a small plastic jigged across the bottom. You’ll find the more solid flathead generally range up to 60cm in length.
Good plastics to try are the ZMan 3” MinnowZ and the 3.75” Jerk ShadZ in colours such as motor oil and red bone glow. If you’re after a brighter colour it’s hard to go past the nuked chicken. As a bonus, all of these options are dynamite on pinkie snapper as well.
The pinkies have been quite good up off Ricketts Point and along to Black Rock, although a lot of anglers have reported capturing lots of smaller fish in the 27-32cm size but fingers crossed for some better-sized models in the 40cm+ range will turn up.
For the land-based anglers, there are some good pinkies to be caught with the area in front of the Half Moon Bay car park and the rocky shoreline up to Fourth Street producing some cracker fish to 3kg over the past weeks.
This month is a great time to get into land-based action with good numbers of pinkies on offer from the end of the Sandringham break wall and off the Hampton rock groynes. For the squid anglers – if the water is clear it’s also a prime area to cast jigs at the nearby weed patches, where you’re sure to find a few calamari.
Some serious-sized snook turn up out on the Anonyma Shoal around this reef patch. A great way to get stuck into them is to cast or troll a 70-90mm slim style hardbody lure, especially in silvery baitfish pattern. Work it through the water with a jerky retrieve and you will find good results.
Anglers have reported good numbers of better-sized pinkies in 3-5m of water with both bait and soft plastic anglers reporting success further to the north from Green Point up to Brighton. The best results have definitely come during the rougher conditions. During this time, bigger baits such as whole pilchards or squid strips and soft plastics in the 5-6” size have also caught better fish.
The only reports I have heard of recently up on the very shallow reefs from North Road to St Kilda are some good garfish in the calm conditions and some good red mullet caught by anglers fishing with bait.
As the water cools right down this month, the fishing will often slow down in this part of the bay. However, over the past weeks a few reports have come through of small salmon taken occasionally off the local piers, and if you’re keen to fish out in 5-9m of water between Kerford Road Pier and Station Pier, there can be some solid pinkies and even a resident big snapper to be found.
It’s also the time to get a big fresh bait out there as the big mulloway are going to be on the move up to the Yarra River and places like Lagood Pier are known to produce some thumping big fish over the coming weeks and months. If you’re in a boat, then a great area to try is also around the old Princess Pier as it tends to attract pinkies, snapper, trevally and big mulloway over the coming months.Reads: 330