After an inconsistent and windy lead up to summer this year, it was pleasing to finally get some warm and settled weather on the bay early last month. While the usual holiday crowds and traffic prevailed, making boat ramps and many popular locations busier than usual, it seems that a good number of anglers have come back to fishing on the bay. With the reports and conditions over the last month, who can blame them? Let’s hope this trend continues in the coming months as well.
Excellent snapper reports have been coming in for the past month. Many anglers are still finding truckloads of fish on their sounders, but they are proving difficult to tempt at times. Tide changes and changes of light have been peak bite times. Changing locations and finding new fish, if you are sitting on inactive snapper, has also helped anglers. The use of berley is always a big help too. Always use the freshest bait you can get your hands on. Live bait, locally caught squid and other fish baits like garfish and salmon are always your best options.
Recently, most reports have come from the wider marks out from Carrum, Seaford and Frankston, particularly in depths of 18-22m. The fish are in the 3-4.5kg range and take a wide variety of baits. Some larger fish have also been taken in closer. These fish have been coming in before first light for the dedicated anglers. Expect these larger groups of fish to move further south as the summer months pass and the water temperature begins to cool again.
Local snapper diehard Colin Shelley had a great session recently after a couple of years away from the action. Col landed a ripper 11kg fish, which measured 104cm and was taken in the middle of a stinking hot 37°C day in 20m of water out from Mornington. The successful bait was a whole silver whiting. Colin said they marked up several solid fish in the area before dropping anchor and laying out the rods. The big fish came aboard shortly after this with a couple of screaming runs.
Kingfish reports have been very encouraging over the last month. Several anglers landed and lost kingies around the local areas, especially close to Mornington. I was down the beach with the kids after dinner recently and witnessed a spearfisher nab a ripper 80cm kingfish from the reef at Bird Rock – not a bad effort.
Mornington Pier has a strong population of smaller kingies hanging around at the moment, and is a great option for those anglers without a boat to try and catch one. Fresh squid and live baits are the best, as well as lures and plastics imitating similar foods. For the boating anglers, trolling squid strips near reef edges and fishing live baits around the same areas will bring the most success.
Without a doubt, the presence of kingfish in our local areas is largely due to the food sources on offer for them, namely good numbers of squid and garfish loading up along the inshore areas. Some gars are also out wide as well. After a slow start to the season, it’s good to see these quality table (and bait) species back on the agenda for local anglers. Mornington, Mount Martha and Frankston provide options for land-based anglers, and the same territory right through from Frankston to Safety Beach for boating anglers as well.
While we’re talking table fish, what about the whiting? There have been big numbers around the inshore areas right along the eastern shoreline since the warmer weather began. The great thing is that plenty of land-based anglers are getting amongst the action as well, especially from Mornington Pier, and Mount Martha Rocks.
Close to dawn and dusk are prime times for land-based anglers. Try fresh baits like mussels, squid, pipis and better still, Bass yabbies if you can get hold of them. Boating anglers can fish deeper areas during the day, but will always do best with the use of berley and the same quality baits.
The Patto has been fishing really well over the past month, especially for the bait fishers fishing the main river. Some really nice perch have been landed as well, and I’ve also had reports of solid mulloway. The canals have been a bit choked with weed of late and got a good flush of heavy rain just after Christmas, so expect these areas to fire over the next month or so for the boat and kayak anglers fishing amongst the moored boats and rock walls.Reads: 847