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New year, new options
  |  First Published: December 2016



The holidays are still hot here and with options aplenty! The next few months provide countless opportunities on Port Phillip Bay and surrounding rivers. Get out there and enjoy!

The late snapper season saw plenty of people enjoying the signature fish of Port Phillip Bay during spring. From now on, there are still snapper around, maybe not in the same numbers as November and early December, but if you concentrate on the shallow reefs around Williamstown, Altona and Point Cook, you’ve a great chance. Numbers of smaller pinkies move into the shallows during summer, and can provide plenty of action, particularly around sunset and sunrise. Half pillies and blue bait are great ways to tempt a pinkie. If you’re after a big snapper, upsize the bait – whole pillies, whole squid or even a big frame or head bait of a mullet or salmon is a good option.

Point Wilson to Werribee South

The shallow flats and weed beds are gaining some boat traffic. King George whiting are the main target, providing great sport and sensational eating as well. Quality berley trails provide an advantage when targeting these roaming fish. Position your boat near the edge of a sand patch, focus your berley effort and cast your bait into the edge area. Once you get some whiting going, keep them feeding and try hard not to lose a fish. Once one spooks, it can take the entire school with it! Ideal baits are the ever-popular mussel, pipi and squid. Most whiting caught are on one of these baits. However, pilchard fillet, sandworm and Bass yabbies (nippers) are also great options and have produced plenty of fish over the years. If fishing slows, simply move 100m or so and start the berley again. Often the fish don’t move too far.

It always pays to have a squid jig at the ready, as where you find whiting, you will find calamari as well.

Good size flathead are also a regular and welcome by-catch on the whiting grounds, try a whole bluebait or a 4” soft plastic grub worm to maximise your chances.

Werribee South to Point Cook

This area really fires up during summer. Fishing shallow (2-4m) can produce bag limits of King George whiting –the river mouth is a hot spot! Great catches of calamari and flathead can be taken from the same areas. For land-based anglers, the shallow flat areas at the river mouth and around to Wyndham Harbour produce great flathead at this time of year and evenings are a standout. Be ready for a chance at a small gummy shark as a by-catch option.

As you move deeper, whiting and flathead will be great targets all the way out to 9m. This water also holds some fantastic gummy shark fishing throughout the warmer weather. Fish big oily baits with plenty of smell to maximise your chances.

Drifting around the reef at Point Cook produces flathead, pinkies to 60cm and calamari in closer around the shallow reefs. The Berkley Gulp Nemesis is a sensational option, with some magnificent pinkies and snapper being taken on these recently.

Altona to Port Melbourne

The northern end of Port Phillip Bay has produced sensational fishing for the last two months and this has continued. Anglers fishing shallow reefs like the Cardinal have encountered solid snapper to 6kg on pilchards and also silver whiting. Rare numbers of pinkies are moving into these areas right now and are great fun.

You should put together a feed of fish – just be sure to release any undersize snapper if they are small. A good option is to move spots if the small fish are in big numbers. A solid onshore wind or summer storm tends to really push fish into this area and fire them up.

Wider parts of the bay have produced magnificent snapper. Matthew Calleja has continued his great snapper season over the recent month. Fishing after a strong southwesterly blow, Matty reported he had excellent fishing for three consistent days. The bite times were all early morning, from 4-7am with snapper averaging 5-6kg. Matty’s best fish went 7.5kg and the best bait over the three days was whole silver whiting.

Stephen and David Puopolo, recognised local gamefishing enthusiasts have also had some great snapper fishing. Amongst several sessions with quality catches, the brothers have landed some great fish on silver whiting and the ever-reliable pilchard.

Metropolitan Rivers

January should see continued improvement in the quality of fishing of both the Maribyrnong and Yarra River estuaries. The lower reaches are consistent for salmon, pinkies and bream at this time of year. Focus your efforts around tide changes to maximise your chances.

Renowned kayak angler and Daiwa pro staffer Dale Baxter knows these rivers well. Dale has worked hard recently and his efforts have paid reward in the ‘Nong. The ever-increasing numbers of estuary perch are certainly growing in size. Summer will see them really fire up. Dale managed a great size fish recently in the early morning. Soft plastics and hardbodies with a heavy vibration are great lures to target these fish. Surface lures are also a great option along the edges during the high tide and also at dawn and dusk.

The resident bream will continue to improve after the floods we had during winter. Hopping sinking stick minnows down the faces of jetties and pylons is irresistible to these guys and provides sensational sportfishing in tight structure. Dale has also landed some solid bream in recent sessions. If this summer is like last, then be ready for the fishing to really fire!

Fisheries Blitz Continues

It’s great to see Victorian Fisheries present over the last few months undertaking Operation Venture. No doubt a continued presence will exist over the summer period. Make sure your fishing licence is up to date along with all your required safety equipment and grab a copy of the latest Fisheries regulations from the local tackle store or download the Fisheries Victoria App for your mobile. Don’t forget, anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing can ring 13FISH (13 3474).

BEEN FISHING?

I’d love to see and hear fishing experiences in the local area! Send through fishing reports and high resolution photos of your great catches to --e-mail address hidden-- with as much detail as you are happy to share.

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