May be time to fish Melbourne
  |  First Published: May 2017

Autumn continues to produce the goods in and around the western half of Melbourne’s waterways. May usually sees the fishing really fire up and produce plenty of options for anglers. All the signs are pointing that this May is going to be no different.

Our autumn has lived up to its tradition of producing quality results from wide and varied locations, with something on offer for all anglers. Generally speaking, there are a couple of clear standout areas. These are the inshore shallow areas of Port Phillip Bay’s western half and also our metropolitan rivers. Also try the ever-consistent shallow reefs and sand flat areas that stretch from Williamstown all the way to Corio Bay.

The shallow reefs of Williamstown and also Point Cook are renowned hotspots and probably the two most consistent areas along the western flank of the bay. During May, with plenty of baitfish present in the bay, schools of Australian salmon patrol the reefs. A great area to search is 500-800m wide of the reefs. The salmon will usually hold the outside edge areas to hunt the bay’s baitfish. Have a small metal lure or a soft plastic at the ready.

Juvenile snapper hold a little closer along the reefs. The usual blue bait or half pillie is a great way to target them on bait. Soft plastic paddle-tails are hard to beat, with the ever-reliable curl-tail a great second option. These two types of plastics are regularly mentioned as they simply continue to produce fish! A huge bonus is the great-eating sand flathead we encounter in Port Phillip Bay also can’t resist these styles.

Daiwa pro staff angler Jessie Rotin has had great success recently around Point Cook reporting he has found plenty of great-sized flathead. Fishing soft plastics over reef and mud in 3-8m of water has been the best for Jesse and he noted that bigger fish have been sitting down deep, so make sure you allow the plastic to go all the way to the bottom.

ProLure Fishtails in mangrove gold and Squidgy Fish in killer tomato are catching Jesse their fair share fished on 1/8-3/8oz jigheads. Jesse also mentioned he has encountered Australian salmon in great numbers, although captures have been sporadic on locations and time with the fish moving around fast. Once found they can offer hours of enjoyment.

King George whiting catches further west from Werribee to Point Wilson are still worthwhile, but numbers of fish will generally slow and become less consistent as the temperature drops in the top of the bay. Heading towards Portarlington, St Leonards and Queenscliff will see catches increase over the winter months.

Glenn Greene has had a great time lately getting his twins Violet and Dallas out amongst some great eating-sized whiting. Exploring the shallow areas of Wedge Spit in around 2m water depth proved productive with a range of King George whiting sized from 28-44cm. Glenn mentioned that they used pipis for bait, with the most productive bite period being the last hour before dark then they shut off.

Moving towards the rivers, the river mouth transition areas of Williamstown and Hobsons Bay are great options for a variety of species such as bream, flathead, salmon and trevally. A huge plus is they provide shelter from any southwesterly storm fronts that we receive and the piers around Port Melbourne and St Kilda can fish well in the rough weather. This area is a viable location during the windy periods and still produces good fishing opportunities.

As winter creeps closer, the winter mulloway season will kick into gear. Initially the fish encountered are usually school-sized fish, but provide great sport and can be taken on a range of lures and baits. These schoolies (also known as soapies) up to 6kg are often a warm up for the upcoming season of bigger fish that have become a winter staple in Melbourne’s fishing calendar.

Worm or paddle style soft plastics and small to medium sized metal vibes are great lures to target these fish. Bait anglers always maximise chances with small live baits and if you can’t catch any, a fresh squid strip is a worthwhile secondary option.

Moving into the rivers, the quality autumn bream fishing along the edges of the rivers continues. The Maribyrnong River has been a standout from the mouth up to Flemington, with local bream specialists enjoying great catches. Toby McClure was enjoying a great session recently, with a red hot edge bite on small hardbodies along the river edge.

Imakatsu Wasp 50s were the standout lure for Toby fished on a twitch and pause style retrieve. Toby mentioned maximising the time in the strike zone with these suspending lures was a cracker technique to encourage a bite from one of the wily resident bream.

Jesse Rotin has also spent plenty of time in the Maribyrnong River enjoying red hot fishing. Jesse reported the river has been firing on all cylinders, with bream moving up on the edges and taking a range of lures. Shallow and medium diving hardbodies have been accounting for the best results for Jesse. When conditions suit, even sight casting with surface lures was an option.

Jesse’s most productive lures have been Daiwa Wise Minnows and Yogiris, fished around structure and the rocks that line the edges of the river. Jesse has had good fishing all the way from the mouth to right up into the upper reaches of the river. Lightly weighted ZMan and ProLure Grubs have been also working well, especially when the bream are flighty.


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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