Melbourne has certainly lived up to its wet and windy winter tag. Welcome rainfall brought much needed water for our waterways and bay health. When the sun comes out and the winds back off, we can get amongst it and enjoy a rewarding fishing season!
September defines spring, as the snapper season begins. The reds aren’t in huge numbers, but the keen and seasoned anglers target big quality fish early in the season. You may have to put in serious time on the water, so make sure you’re on the prime areas at the right times for a solid chance at snapper. Hit the water early and have your berley established before the dawn change of light. Couple this with a tide change as well to really maximise your chances.
Before you get fired up, grab the gear and give it all a good once over. Thoroughly check rod guides for hairline cracks or chips that need replacing – it can save you lost fish and spools of wasted line! Strip the old line off your reels and re-spool. Make sure bearings are run smoothly and reels are serviced as well. Give the local tackle store a call, as most stores are happy to spool reels for you. This will save your dollars, rather than buying a handful of ‘one shot’ size spools.
While you’re at the local tackle store, and you’ve gotten out of mowing the lawn, grab some leader, hooks, swivels and lumo beads to pre-tie plenty of rigs. There’s nothing more frustrating or heartbreaking than a fish lost to an easily preventable rigging error. As the saying goes, ‘proper preparation prevents poor performance.’ For lure anglers, this time of year is fantastic, as the new season releases from the annual trade show are starting to hit stores.
While the winter blast has made it difficult in the motivation stakes, those who braved the local conditions have had some quality fishing.
Werribee River has turned on classic fishing after a decent flush of fresh water. The initial flows in winter saw fish move down the system, but after steady flows and consistent rain, fish have revelled in the conditions. Bream spread throughout the river and quality fish up to 40cm+ in length have been taken. Bait anglers excelled with freshwater yabbies and tubeworm or sandworm baits. Lure anglers fishing sandworm imitation and OSP Shrimp or OSP Craws have been taking their share also. The incoming tide has delivered the most results.
Mulloway have shown up, as big as 6kg and have been taken with small live baits, and 4-6” paddle-tail soft plastics. Lunkerhunt Swim Bentos, Squidgy Fish and OSP DoLive Shads are definite standouts and have been extremely successful. Local Werribee Angling Club members, Chris Abbott and Peter Aldersea, both landed mulloway while targeting bream in a recent competition. Tide changes and dusk have been productive times.
Schooling bream in the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers are targeted with vibes very well at this time of year. Fish them slow and make use of your sounder to locate schools and patches of feeding fish. However, another ideal technique is to target them with Crab style lures. The Cranka Crab is an extraordinary lure and brings in many bream. Go slow and deliberate, even a slow drag can produce the goods.
Land-based anglers should see success on pinkies and nice salmon around the Warmies area, once the rain and freshwater flow back off. Williamstown, as always, provides a great opportunity for a mixed bag of species.
The winter staple fishery of pinkies around the reefs continues to be a great option throughout the area. Reports have been a little slower than usual from the area due to the windy, Antarctic conditions we have experienced. Searching the reefs from the Williamstown Anglers Club, Millers Road and Altona area should provide results. Half pilchard is always reliable, but don’t rule out large oily baits such as saury, to tempt a solid snapper.
We should rename this stretch of water Squid City. Over the last year, it’s continued to produce great catches for anglers. Recently, fishing depths ranging 4-5m have seen the main catches. Red, orange and other dark foil jigs continue to produce. Local Werribee South anglers have continued to do well across the whole area, but as you drift and find pockets of larger concentrations, use your sounder or GPS and return to the area. Where there’s one, there’s more. Never rule out a feed of flatties, local angler Rob Kriz has landed some great fish up to 46cm with the ever-reliable Berkley Gulp Turtle Back Worm.
Land-based anglers have the ability to make use of the Werribee South Marina wall. Please ensure you take your rubbish home and leave this awesome platform clean for everyone. Fantastic catches and access have been given to fishers, so let’s make sure we don’t spoil it! Bream, salmon, pinkies, snapper, whiting, gummies, calamari and more, are all likely targets here at any time.
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Winter and spring are prime mulloway times in the Port Phillip rivers.
Calamari continue to fish exceptionally well across western Port Phillip Bay.
The Cranka Crab has redefined metropolitan bream fishing.Reads: 160