Early Starts Paying Off
  |  First Published: April 2006

Autumn has begun with some of the best weather of the year so far. Calm conditions, light winds and lovely warm temperatures have been the order of the day. Some quality fishing has been on offer too, especially for those who are putting in the time with early starts and the right gear.

Reports of snapper have definitely gathered more pace over the last month, and bigger reds are turning up. The biggest concentrations of fish seem to be on reefs in about 15m of water, especially off Carrum, Frankston and Mt Eliza. These waters feature some lovely fish holding structure, and are littered with heavy reef.

The size range of these snapper is typically between 2 and 3kg, but more 4 to 6kg fish are showing up. I spoke to one angler at the Frankston ramp recently. He had two ripper snapper, both about 6kg, which he caught off the Hospital at Mt Eliza on fresh squid. He’d also been bitten off earlier in the morning, before first light, by two other fish after a couple of reel screaming runs.


Gathering your fresh bait, and a feed if you like cephalopods, shouldn’t be any problem at the moment because the squid are everywhere! Huge numbers are on the shallow reefs. They’re quickly filling anglers’ bags for those targeting them. When squid are behaving like this it pays to have another jig ready to cast at any competing squid that missed the first offering. Just don’t forget about the daily bag limit of 10 squid per person.

The squid mayhem isn’t just for boat anglers either. There are plenty of land-based locations turning it on as well. Early starts and night missions at Mornington, Frankston, Rye and Sorrento piers are all well worth a shot. Good quality jigs are very often the difference so grab a quality Japanese jig, like those from Ecogear, from your local specialist tackle store.

Mixed Bag

Plenty of pinkies are still on offer from the shallower reefs. Early starts are crucial to success. Lightly weighted fresh strip baits and drift-casting soft plastics are the best ways to get amongst the action.

Some lovely whiting have been taken on the southern reefs, especially on fresh pipis, squid strips and mussels.

Garfish are still in big numbers around Seaford, Frankston and Mt Eliza and are falling for baits of maggots, pipis and fish flesh suspended under floats.

It’s bream tournament time for Victorians at the moment so it’s handy to have such a great practice location so close to home. I’m talking about the Patterson River. Bait and lure anglers have been getting fish, especially early and late in the day. The river is full of juvenile fish at the moment. They can be a nuisance but please release them carefully because they’re the future of our bream fishery.

I’ve also had a few reports of mulloway captures from the Patto. Live baits fished at night is the go.

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