Calamari Bonanza
  |  First Published: June 2005

Cool, foggy mornings and mild sunny days are a clear indication that winter is just around the corner. As if the big switch has been flicked, the colder weather has arrived in a hurry. This doesn’t mean the end of good fishing though; it’s still action aplenty in the south of the bay. Some anglers will even say that this is the best time of the year to fish the bay, and if bags of good quality table fish is what you’re after – then they’re right.

Some great snapper are still being caught, especially from the shallower marks. More aggressive at this time of year, and usually full of fight, 3-5kg fish are falling for baits of tuna fillet, couta, fresh squid and the humble pilchard. Anglers fishing with little or no weight are doing best, allowing for a more natural presentation, and keeping prime snapper baits away from the bottom picker fish. Most productive areas have been out from the Frankston Wreck, The Hospital, Fisherman’s Beach and Martha Point. Remember to use chemically sharpened hooks and tough mono leaders to avoid disappointment, as the snapper will soon move on.

For those after the tastiest table fare in the bay, the good news is that the squid are red hot. Boat anglers are nailing some ripper calamari to 1.5kg, especially in the areas around Pelican Point, Sunnyside, Mills Beach and McRae. Jigs in pink and orange are the choice for most anglers in these areas. Land based anglers are faring equally well, especially for smaller squid at Mornington and Frankston piers, and larger specimens off Portsea and Sorrento. Anglers fishing further south can afford to use bigger jigs, and added weight to contend with strong currents. Please observe the bag limit of 10 per angler, so that we can all enjoy some quality table fare and top class baits.

Winter is prime time for pinkies in Port Phillip Bay, and already some lovely fish have been taken. The abundant, food rich reefs in the south of the bay will continue to produce more consistent fishing for larger fish as the weather gets colder. Attention to detail with fresh bait, and good rigging will pay dividends, as will early morning and late evening sessions. Soft plastic anglers will also do well, as big schools of pinkies compete for food.

Land based anglers have enjoyed top class fishing of late, with a real variety to the catch. Frankston pier continues to produce some lovely squid, small salmon and garfish. Mornington pier is still turning up squid, pinkies, pike, barracouta and some jumbo salmon to 2.5kg, which are real handful from an elevated platform. Rye and Rosebud piers are alive with squid, and the occasional whiting. Sorrento pier is producing wrasse, sweep, leatherjacket and whiting, as well as some big calamari. Pippies and mussels are the stand out bait for most species, but whitebait, bluebait and pilchards will also produce the goods. For the pier angler, now’s the time to grab a jacket, get the rods and get amongst the action.

As winter rolls in, many anglers think of hanging up the rods, but plenty of great fishing is still available in the bay. Turn over a few old stones and you’ll be surprised what you find.

Light trout spinning gear is adequate for shallow water calamari.

Spinning from the bay’s piers and jetties has been very productive lately.

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