Much of the unsettled and unpredictable weather patterns that were a big factor in the early months of spring have continued for the past month on the bay. Small windows of fishable conditions have prevailed once again, providing boat anglers with limited opportunities. Conversely, dedicated land-based anglers have had the advantage. Expect this pattern to change as we move properly into the warmer months, and the unpredictable and changing winds become less of a factor for the bay’s anglers.
Recent reports are suggesting that big numbers of snapper are moving into the shallower areas in the north of the bay, as they tend to do once they move away from reef and structure early in the season. Expect them to migrate back along the eastern seaboard and closer in over the next month. The traditional summer areas will start to produce good numbers of fish. Many anglers have already reported sounding big numbers of fish, but short and sometimes infrequent bite windows are still the norm.
Areas of bait right throughout the bay will do little to help this as we move into summer, so the use good quality fresh bait and the smart use of berley (and your sounder). I also encourage anglers to think outside the square – try live baits and other methods when the reds won’t play the game, and are harder to tempt.
The land-based snapper trend that seemed to come back into vogue in a big way last year has gained even more popularity so far this year, due to the weather. Strong onshore winds bring feeding snapper close to shore and within reach of dedicated anglers that put up with pretty ordinary conditions to chase their prize. It’s worth noting at this point that care must always be taken during adverse weather. My advice is to always fish with a mate or two, and no matter what happens, don’t risk your neck for a fish. No matter how big it is, no snapper is worth it.
Most of the more popular rock and pier locations have been productive during the right winds, and some lesser-known locations as well. Like those fishing from boat further offshore, the successful land-based anglers have put in the hours during the right times and tides, with the best quality bait. While it’s obvious that feeding fish will be more opportunistic during rougher weather and low light, the better baits and even locally caught offerings will always be best.
Dylan Sutherland has landed several nice snapper already this year from the rocks at Mount Martha, including a 5.5kg fish taken on a fresh yakka. I’ve recently seen a snapper in the freezer at Tackleworld Mornington well in excess of 10kg that was taken from the rocks at Mount Martha on fresh local bait – that’s a top effort from the rocks.
These are good signs for the rest of the year and beyond, with solid numbers of whiting reported by many anglers (that will tell me anyway), from many of the usual areas, especially Olivers Hill and Safety Beach. Expect the whiting to become more prevalent as we move further into the summer months. Also expect the calamari to do the same in our local areas, as water temperatures rise and the inshore reefs come to life. This will bring many of the other bread and butter species in closer to our shores as well, so there’s plenty to look forward to in PPB over the summer months.
Lee Calabrese with an impressive 11kg snapper caught on a squid strip off Mount Eliza recently.
Dylan Sutherland’s ripper 5.5kg red taken land-based from the rocks at Mount Martha on a fresh yakka.Reads: 575