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Flathead and Whiting in Close
  |  First Published: February 2006



With Melbourne’s summer in full swing, Port Phillip Bay has been busy with people enjoying the water.

February is prime time for anglers chasing bread and butter species such as flathead, whiting and garfish. These fish have been around in good numbers recently, feeding over broken ground and patches of weed close to shore.

Flathead, whiting and garfish can be taken from a number of easily accessed locations around the top end of the bay, ranging from piers and breakwalls to rocky points and suburban beaches. Just because you don’t have a boat don’t think you can’t get a feed!

If you’re really keen, early morning is definitely the way to go, as the fish have usually worked their way in very close to the shore to feed under the cover of darkness.

Fishing with bait for garfish, whiting and flathead between Sandringham and St Kilda has been productive. There have been plenty of reports of flathead over 60cm taken along this stretch recently.

Soft plastics have also been very effective. Just ask Tony Hiam who regularly fishes the top end of the bay with his beloved soft plastics. He’s been catching some terrific fish in surprisingly shallow water on Berkley minnows and Ecogear paddletails. February should see much of this action continue.

For the boaters over on the western side of the bay, the ‘patch’ in close at Altona has been fishing well for good flatties. Further south off Werribee, the whiting are really starting to hit top gear with many anglers reporting good bags in recent weeks.

Rudy Holzfeind from the Compleat Angler in Melbourne reports that his customers were catching 4 to 5kg snapper in 16 to 18m off Werribee, Williamstown and Altona in mid-January. Sauries, pilchards and fresh squid were most productive. Some of the biggest fish have been 8kg, making this area one of the bay’s better performing regions given that many of the southern marks have quietened right off.

Rudy also reports that bream anglers have been doing well in the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers. The Yarra has been surprising a few offering up some great pinkies to 1.5kg too. They’ve been taking soft plastic meant for bream and bigger baits pilchards and fresh squid meant for mulloway.

Rudy agrees that the bay is producing some really nice flathead of late, which have been significantly bigger than in previous years. They’ve been a mixture of good sand flathead and yanks, which look more like a dusky but have several dark patches on their tail rather than one large dot.

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