April is a fun time to fish in Port Phillip Bay. While the action may not be as hot as it is in the summer months, it can be a relaxing time of the year with plenty of good fishing to be had.
April usually sees wind dissipate and thus, some clearer water. As large numbers of snapper and whiting start to dwindle, species like salmon and calamari get going in the bay, and bream begin to fire up in the rivers.
Schools of salmon have been providing great fun for anglers around Beaumaris Bay and Ricketts Point for a few weeks now and this should continue in April. Most of these fish are around 2kg with a few bigger 4kg specimens mixed in.
These fish would have to be the best sport fish we have regular access to consistently in the bay and, as a result, they’ve been gaining quite a following over the past few years.
Both Robert from the Compleat Angler Melbourne store and Russell from the Bentleigh store report customers catching salmon from the Ricketts Point area.
The best methods have been to cast lures like metal slices and soft plastics to schools of feeding fish. Hold your boat off the school and cast into them bringing your lure back with a fast retrieve.
Add some twitches to the retrieve and if all goes well, hey presto, salmon.
If the fish aren’t feeding on the surface Robert tells me that anglers have found the fish by trolling bibbed minnow style lures. Once fish are located you can continue to troll in that area or cast lures in the general vicinity.
Russell tells me that customers are still having a great time with the garfish at the moment. They’re still around in great numbers and providing both boat and shore based anglers with some great entertainment.
Once again, a maggot or silverfish fished a couple of feet below a pencil float, in a fish oil based berley slick, has delivered the goods.
Whiting however have been a bit patchy recently with numbers down a little. But, as often happens at this time of year, the size of the fish has been quite good with many 40cm+ fish.
Mussels and pipis have been the pick of the baits. Productive areas have been Parkdale, Black Rock and off Brighton. Early morning and dusk have been the best times.
Robert also mentions that anglers are starting to catch some better sized pinkies around the Black Rock and Sandringham reefs. Soft plastics seem to be producing better than bait at the moment with the stand out plastics being Berkley Gulp minnows and sandworms, and Lunker City Fin-S fish. These teamed up to a 1/8oz jighead that’s hopped across the bottom slowly have accounted for the bulk of fish.
The larger snapper however, have been a tad quiet with only a handful of reports of fish to 7kg taken in 14 to 16m of water off Mordialloc and Black Rock. Hopefully, this will pick up a bit around Easter as the fish finish moving out of the bay.
Tan from the JV Marine Laverton store informs me that customers fishing for whiting around Point Cook have been quite successful with fish to 42cm. Pipis and mussels have been the stand out baits and the use of berley has made a big difference. Keep moving until you find the fish, then berley to keep them in your area.
Werribee South has experienced some awesome fishing for flathead in the shallows. Tan reports anglers casting soft plastics like Squidgy flickbaits in the green meanie and evil minnows colours have done well on fish up to 65cm. The better sized fish have been caught mostly in the shallower water where there’s broken sand and weed.
There are still some nice pike to be caught around Point Cook and Altona at the moment. Anglers trolling deep diving minnow lure in bright colours have taken fish right in front of the Altona boat ramp.
Tan also reports some lucky customers managed to catch a few snapper to 3kg from the Altona Pier recently. These fish were taken after dark on pilchards. Once again, those dedicated enough to tough it out have still come up with the goods.
The bream in the Maribyrnong River have fired up and anglers have been taking advantage. Fishing around structure such as bridges, rockwalls and moored boats, using both soft plastic and hard-bodied lures has seen some great bream fishing.
Ecogear SX40s and Strike Pro Pigmys cast around the rockwalls and shallower sand flats have been very successful. When fishing deeper water or the bases of bridge pylons however, soft plastics like Berkley Gulp sandworms, minnows and even paddle tails from Atomic or Ecogear have been best. Rig them on a 1/16oz jighead. While most bream have been around 32cm some great fish over 40cm have been taken.
The Docklands has also had a good run of bream recently. Lure anglers have again dominated reports but bait fishermen have also had success on bream to 41cm. The best baits have been live crab, bass yabbies and peeled frozen prawns.
Successful lures in the Docklands have been Berkley Gulp sandworms and small paddletail soft plastics fished on Squidgy resin heads or TT lures’ hidden weight jigheads.
The Maribyrnong and the Docklands area should continue to fish well unless we get a lot of rain, which tends to dirty the system up quickly.Reads: 1862