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Doesn’t have to be all about tuna…
  |  First Published: March 2017



While many anglers have flocked to the southern end of Port Phillip Bay over the past month chasing yellowtail kingfish and southern bluefin tuna, the western and northern end of the bay continue to fish well. A huge plus to this time of year is the diverse variety that is on offer.

Continuing a similar fishing practice to last month of fishing shallow will certainly improve the odds of catching a fish or two. The mainstays that you encounter may not have the line-burning pull of a pelagic fish, but they are certainly plenty of fun and great to gather a feed of fresh fish.

BELLARINEPENINSULA

The western areas of the bay around St Leonards and Portarlington have continued to produce good size King George whiting around the change of tide and last light. The most productive baits have been mussel and pipi, but squid strips and cuttlefish is also a great option.

Shallow reef and weed bed areas throughout the western flank of the bay have continually produced great catches of calamari. From day to day, anglers have had to move around to locate numbers of calamari, but once located the fishing has been rapid. A good tactic is to explore depths, not just drifting the same depth area. As well as this, as soon as one angler hooks into one calamari, another angler should cast a jig in behind the hooked one. More often than not, a double hook up results quickly!

Fishing fast sinking artificial jigs and getting them right down close to the heavier reef bottom has seen some consistent catches of cuttlefish. Initially, it may feel like you have hooked the reef, as these guys are extremely strong in comparison to a calamari. Keep the jig in the strike zone close to the bottom to maximise your chances at catching a cuttle. Just remember that cuttlefish, calamari and arrow squid all account as one in your bag limit.

POINT WILSON TO POINT COOK

The shallow areas have seen large numbers of small snapper move in. These fish annually move into the shallow areas and will actively take a bait, especially with the addition of a little berley.

Mixed catches of flathead and pinkies have been around the reef areas of Point Wilson, with a few calamari around as well. If the fish are really small, try moving into slightly deeper water into about 5-9m and focus some effort here. This is a great area to come across some solid sized sand flathead and also a gummy shark to top off the catch for the trip.

Evening is a great time to focus in these areas. Whiting are still around, with most fish generally 30-34cm in length. The last half an hour before sunset has proved to be the best feeding time, but making a few moves to find the fish has been critical.

Moving towards the Werribee River, the mouth area has provided good catches of flathead around the sand flats. Bluebait is a stand out bait, but you can also try some squid strips. The ever-reliable Berkley Gulp Nemesis is hard to beat for anything in this area as far as lures go.

Point Cook, as always, is one of the most reliable areas to spend some time. The shallow reefs have been fishing extremely well for great bag limit catches of calamari. The Yamashita Live Search series of jigs with a specific sound frequency rattle has been producing sensational catches in the area. Areas of 2-4m in depth have been the most consistent, and early morning and the evenings have produced the best catches.

Anglers are also taking great mixed bag catches around Point Cook. Good sized flathead up to 40cm are taking squid and bluebait, with plenty of pinkie snapper as well. Similar to the Point Wilson area, many of the snapper are small and may see you having to move to get away from them and find some of the 35-45cm fish that are around.

ALTONA TO PORT MELBOURNE

Altona reefs all the way to Williamstown are loaded with pinkies and a few flathead mixed around the edges of the reefs. Salmon schools of small fish up to 700g have been on the deeper edges of the reefs, but they have been moving around quite fast. A small metal slug or soft plastic minnow cast ahead of the school is a good option to tempt them.

Moving deeper, isolated catches of quality sized snapper up to 7kg have been taken. Areas in 10-14m have seen these fish. Be prepared to work hard to berley them up at this time of year. The reward is worth it!

HOBSONS BAY

Late summer and the beginning of autumn will see the bream and other species such as salmon and mullet move into the lower reaches of the rivers. A productive, yet challenging location to fish is Hobsons Bay. Local AKS Hobie kayak team angler Corey Gallagher enjoyed some time recently in the moored boats of Hobson Bay. Using quality Polaroid sunglasses to spot the bream holding under the boat hulls, Cory reported that a great technique was to cast a Cranka Crab in spotted crab colour up tight to the shady side of the moored boat. Making use of the current, Corey allowed the crab to drift down under the hulls and this bought a good number of bream undone, with the biggest of them around 40cm.

BEEN FISHING?

I’d love to see and hear about your 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 and I’ll try get it in the magazine for you!

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