Finally we’ve been treated to calm, although very cold, mornings and bright sunny days that we’ve come to expect in late autumn. The only problem is, they’ve come in winter. You won’t hear me complaining though, and neither are all of the thinking anglers who have been out on the water sampling a bit of the action.
As regular readers of VFM will well know, I’m a bit of a light tackle sportfishing addict, and the south of the bay has turned on some great Australian salmon action over the past few weeks.
Mainly patrolling the beaches and rocky shores between Frankston and Safety Beach, large schools have been cruising hard against the shore in very shallow water. So close are they swimming to the shore that large schools have been seen by people walking their dogs along the beach in the morning!
If you’re up for a bit of arm stretching then keep a close eye out for dark moving shapes in shallow water, and swirls of fish moving in the shallows. The Bay is very clear at present. The calm weather means the water isn’t churned up, so the schools of salmon can be very touchy. Consequently, trolling isn’t an ideal method.
Once you’ve found a school of salmon, make long casts back towards shore with lightly weighted soft plastics and hard-bodies lures. Those casting from the shore will do well too, using similar tackle, walking the shoreline probing likely areas.
This type of fishing seems to be at its best early in the day, but if the conditions are right the salmon will bite right through the day. Look for areas that are populated by schools of baitfish and have a nearby reef system for the school to hold on when they aren’t feeding. Recent standout locations have been Canadian Bay, Olivers Hill, Sunnyside, Mornington Harbour and Fishermans Beach.
The clear water has made fishing for calamari more fun, but harder. More fun because you can see the squid you catch (most of the time), but they have been a little spookier.
In times like these a quality jig is paramount because its finish and the way it swims at depth are what makes the squid bite! Believe me, nothing is more frustrating than watching a nice big squid slide up behind your jig and shy away at the lat minute, especially if you can already smell him cooking in the pan!
Some of the proven performers are Ecogear Dart Max and Egilee, Duel Chameleon, Yo Zuri Shrimp Hunter, Hayabusa and Yamashita. Sometimes, even using a smaller jig will work when the squid are shy, especially when you’re land-based. The Yamashita 1.7 and 1.8 jigs in pink and red are very popular at these times.
Good numbers of pinkies are still around on the shallow reefs, although many are very small. Both boat and pier anglers have been plagued with 15-25cm fish.
Although they can be a nuisance, their numbers are a great indication of some successful snapper spawning seasons and the health of our Bay.
Be careful when returning undersized fish back to the water, even if it means cutting off your hook.
Better sized pinkies will always fall to fresh baits of tuna fillet and squid strips, although anglers fishing the shallows with 3 and 4” Berkley Gulps have accounted for a few of the better fish lately.Reads: 1012