The temperature may not be all that hot at the moment but the fishing in the top end of Port Phillip Bay still is.
We had a few small patches of rain recently and things started to heat up not long after. Baitfish have begun to pop up, the garfish population is hanging around and pinkies are still going strong. Add to all this some 3kg salmon, large pike and the odd mulloway and the action is pretty good in this part of town at the moment.
Along with the humble flathead, pinkies are providing anglers in this area with pretty consistent results every month of the year.
This month doesn’t look like slowing up on the pinkie front. The smaller fish have dropped off a bit and a better class of fish (40cm and bigger) have become more common, with the odd 3kg specimen thrown in.
Pinkie reports this month have come from all the usual haunts such as Ricketts Point, Black Rock, and the inner reefs around Sandringham, Brighton, St Kilda, Williamstown and Altona.
Soft plastics seem to be the preferred method of catching these fish for more and more anglers every month. On the soft plastic front 4” Berkley Gulp Minnows and 4” Lunker City Fin-S Fish have been regular producers, but most plastics of that size range should get you in on the action.
Although soft plastics have accounted for a lot of fish, bait has been getting the bigger fish more consistently. The better baits have been pilchards, fresh garfish and squid. Early in the morning has been the best time with late afternoon coming in a close second. Fish have come from all depths of water between 3-14m.
While pinkies have stolen some of the limelight, there are plenty of other species fishing well in this region at the moment. Anglers are still taking whiting to 40cm early in the morning and after dark in the evenings. Baits of pipis, mussels and squid have been best and moving to find fish has been a must.
Garfish have again been plentiful with early, still mornings fishing very well. Maggots, dough, silverfish and prawn pieces have all been successful and berley with a fish oil base has been the key to some top fishing. Garfish are great fun to catch and are also fantastic for kids to hone their skills on. You don’t need a boat either – a lot of reports have come from the shore or piers in the area.
Calamari are being taken on the inner reefs off Black Rock and Sandringham. Japanese squid jigs in size 2 or smaller have been the most consistent producers. Drifting over reef sections casting or trailing jigs with hops or lifts of the rod has been the best method to get yourself a delicious meal and some fresh bait.
The salmon have made a welcome return in recent weeks around Ricketts Point and Black Rock. Fish between 700g and 3kg have been feeding on the surface and smashing the baitfish. Casting small metal lures and soft plastics has been the best method. Trolling has accounted for a few fish but the schools drop as soon as a boat gets near, making them a bit flighty after a while. When there is no surface action, trolling deep diving lures is a great way to find the fish and anglers have also been taking some big pike like this lately.
Andre from Melbourne Fishing Charters reports that they have been catching plenty of whiting on pipis and squid while fishing off Hampton in the early mornings. The pinkies over the reef off Sandringham have also been pretty reliable for them. Andre has had a few trips around the Faulkner beacon in 14-15m of water where they have caught plenty of flathead, as well as some school, gummy and seven-gill sharks to 95cm.
Anglers fishing the broken weed and reef patches inshore around Sandringham, Brighton and St Kilda with plenty of berley have done very well on garfish with some snotty trevalla also getting in on the mix. The best baits have been prawn pieces, dough baits and maggots fished a couple of feet below a pencil float. Andre also tells me that there are some large schools of whitebait starting to show up – this is a great sign for coming weeks.
The pinkies are still fishing fairly well over the inshore reefs and some super-sized pike have also been around on really still mornings. They have been taking both shallow running minnow lures and deep diving lures. Hot pink has been a good colour, as has green or mullet pattern. Trolling around drop-offs and reef edges has been the best method with the break wall at Williamstown and the reef off Millers Road in Altona doing well recently.
Garfish have been pretty consistent off Werribee and all the usual baits and methods have worked well. Berley with fish oil has once again been the key and it also helps to bring other species like yellow-eye mullet and whiting.
The Yarra has produced bream and there are still plenty of good-sized pinkies to 45cm being taken in the lower reaches and around the mouth. Anglers fishing hard-bodied lures and soft plastics have taken bream to 39cm around pylons, rock walls, bridges and drop-offs recently.
The odd mulloway has been around lately and successful anglers have been doing well on dusk using soft plastics and liv baits. May is traditionally a good month for these fish in the Yarra so hopefully some more reports of mulloway are just around the corner.
The Maribyrnong River is fishing well for bream all the way up to the Anglers Tavern. Most of the rock walls, drop-offs and bridges are holding fish and hard-bodied lures twitched along these structures have accounted for a number of fish. Soft plastics have also been reliable, while on the bait front frozen prawns, shrimp and crab have all been successful for anglers around a high tide change and on dusk.
Pinkies like these are available almost all year round in the bay.Reads: 1173