We’re into winter now with that icy chill on even the slightest of winds, not to mention the nasty way a strong blow cuts straight through you. In between the chills there has been some really good weather thrown our way. That’s the joy of living in Melbourne; you never get sick of the weather because it changes so much that you never get a chance to get sick of it.
While the winter days and weather have set in, it also brings on some really good fishing opportunities. This month may not produce a lot of huge fish, but what they lack in size is certainly made up for in numbers. In many ways it’s the perfect time to be on the water with some red hot fishing available in the shorter fishing hours. It’s cooler out there and it’s my favourite time to get the kids out on the water, as the late afternoons usually produce heaps of action on the pinkie snapper all through this part of the bay.
It’s now mullet season in the creek with each day seeing local anglers having a ball on the big mullet that move into the area during winter. Best of all, anyone can get into them in calm conditions. Recently the pier fished well for a few salmon and pinkies when the weather has been ordinary, which has been a fair bit over the past weeks.
This month should also see good numbers of garfish on offer on the pier. On most days they will also be mixed up with some good-sized mullet. When the water is clear and calm it’s also a great time to be fishing for the calamari that get over the reef on the north side of the pier. While a lot of anglers focus at dawn and dusk there are generally good numbers of calamari on offer all day long.
For bait anglers, pinkies have been going well of an afternoon and into the evening with numbers of smaller sized fish on offer in the 28-32cm size. However, among the smaller pinkies there have also been some nice fish in the 40-45cm size with the best baits being pilly tails or small squid strips fished on paternoster rigs.
With a bit of dirty water the salmon just seem to turn up. They haven’t been huge, but they have certainly provided plenty of fun for those anglers casting small metal lures around when the wind is stirring up the water around the pier. In the dirty water, gold colours have been a killer and weights of 14-25g have been dynamite.
For the boat anglers there are plenty of options at the moment and best of all you don’t need to go far to find fish. The shallow reefs around the Parkdale Pinnacles and between the Scout Hall Pier and Ricketts Point produce good numbers of pinkie snapper and solid squid to over a kilo in weight. It’s also worth keeping your eyes peeled as the local salmon population is still around and providing anglers with plenty of action when they stick their heads up.
As for Beaumaris Pier the squid are back on and should hopefully continue for the rest of winter. If you’re after a good spot to fish, especially in a northerly, it’s well worth taking a look at this area. The pier is great and the rocks either side of the pier also produce good squid.
Out from the pier and all around the old mussel farm boat anglers are still getting some very good blue-spot flathead. Anglers are slowly bouncing plastics across the bottom to get the best results.
Ricketts Point to Black Rock has also seen plenty of pinkie action with some solid specimens to over 2kg being taken, especially after dark on larger unweighed baits in the shallow water. Anglers trolling small diving lures have caught solid squid and a good number of snook to 80cm.
In along the shoreline and just out from it in anything up to 6m of water the fishing has been good. The rock groynes at Hampton have produced squid and a few pinkies. The best run of pinkies that I have heard of for the land-based anglers is the Brighton Breakwall with plenty of fish on offer, especially when the south or west winds blow. By all rights this should only get better over this month as the pinkies really move into this area in droves to feed on the ample food that is available through this reef system.
Working the shallow reef areas between Brighton and St Kilda has also been producing solid squid for anglers who are prepared to put a bit of effort in. Working the reef edge where it drops away into deeper water, usually 3-6m deep, is producing the goods, especially with larger 3.5 sized jigs.
It can be a great time of year up at this end of the bay if we don’t get big floods to stir the water up. The reason that this area can produce good fishing is that it will often be just a touch warmer. This can produce solid snapper for anglers fishing at night over the cunjevoi reefs that run between St Kilda and Station Pier in 5-8m of water. Adding to this I have also heard of nice ling being taken in the cooler water. This area is one of the best to find them in the bay – great eating and well worth targeting.
For the land-based anglers, the St Kilda Pier and breakwall have been producing small salmon over the past weeks. There is plenty of white bait in the area, so you would think the salmon would stick around.
Off Kerford Road and Lagoon piers there have been salmon and pinkies on offer. Lately every day is a bit of a lucky dip as to what will bite best. If you’re heading down that way it may pay to take a few rods or at least different tackle to accommodate whatever is on the bite.
Station and Lagoon piers have been producing pinkies and flathead over the past weeks and will continue to do so this month. They should also start to turn up nice trevally around the pylons this month, so try floating a small bait down into the shadows of the pier.Reads: 601