The weather has been a bit up and down, but it really doesn’t seem to have had any effect on the fishing. It looks like being one of the best seasons in a long while, with great reports of everything from garfish to sharks being caught in the Bay at present.
The snapper really slowed up around Christmas but that just made way for other species to shine. For starters the garfish turned up overnight, with anglers reporting big numbers and sizes being caught from both land and boat. The whiting have also made their presence felt, with most of the reefy and rocky shoreline in the Bay holding fish.
The Mordialloc Pier has had a good run of garfish on it recently, with big ones being caught by anglers fishing with floats and baits of silverfish or maggots.
Squid and the odd whiting have been taken over the broken ground that lies on the north side of the pier, while in the creek anglers are still finding some mullet and a few trevally, both of which are being taken on dough or small pieces of peeled prawn.
During the rougher weather the salmon are also making their presence felt around the pier, with anglers having a ball catching fish from 500g to 1kg, with the odd thumper up over 2kg amongst them. The best lures for the salmon have been the 40g Surecatch Knights and the Gillies Baitfish, along with soft plastics like the 110mm Squidgy Flickbait in pilly colour, and the Gulp 4” minnow in smelt and pearl watermelon.
The whiting are going well on all the shallow reefs such as the Horse Paddock, and up on the Parkdale Pinnacles. There has also been the odd kingfish sighted in the area; they often follow up a hooked whiting.
Up on Beaumaris Pier anglers have been getting some nice garfish and the odd pinky snapper, along with a few squid. In February the salmon schools should regularly push bait into the bay, which often brings them within casting distance of the shore-based angler.
Up off Ricketts Point the boat anglers are finding scattered schools of whiting all the way through to Black Rock and beyond. Amongst them there are also some really good leatherjackets to be found, along with red mullet.
For the lure fisher, the salmon have been good recently and should now hang around for several months to come. The salmon in the schools are ranging from 500g to over 2kg and amongst them there has been several kingfish, caught by anglers while trolling for the salmon.
Out deep there are still a few snapper being taken, with the deeper areas tending to produce more action. Those anglers taking the time to find the schools of fish are doing well fish in the 1.5-3kg size range, with best baits being silver whiting and red rockets.
Yorkies Reef, located between Black Rock and Sandringham, has been fishing very well for whiting. This reef system covers a broad area and ranges in depth from just a few metres to almost 8m. This enables you to move very short distances to find where the fish are holding.
Out at the Anonyma Shoal the action has been great, with salmon, snook and a few kingfish being caught, not to mention some big whiting. February is the month that the Shoal hits its peak.
From Sandringham to Elwood the reef and rocky shoreline has been fishing well for squid and whiting. The anglers chasing them are also getting really excited about the massive garfish that are on offer, with plenty of them 50cm or more and fat as pigs.
On the sandflats around St Kilda there have been some nice flathead for the angler who wants to grab a light spin outfit and a few lures. The best days are generally the hot ones, while the areas to look for are those that have a bit of weed or rock that the flatties can sit near for cover.
Out from the Port Melbourne Angling Club the members have been getting into their fair share of whiting on all the shallow reefs in the area. February should also see the odd big snapper beginning to move back onto the same grounds to feed on the abundant food at this end of the Bay
Off Kerford Road and Station piers there have been some nice flathead taken, as well as good numbers of garfish, which should now continue well past February.
It’s bream time in these rivers, with anglers finding some great lure and bait fishing around the miles of structure that is on offer in the area.
Upstream in the Maribyrnong, anglers fishing around the racecourse are finding good success on baits of peeled prawn and worm, although I have heard reports of some big bream being taken on unweighted freshwater yabbies cast towards structure such as bridge pylons.
For the lure fishers, cranking small hardbodied lures along structure, or working small blades is also a sure fire way to see you hooked up.
As well as the bream there are heaps of mullet in the rivers, and right behind them there are still plenty of mulloway in the system, especially in the Yarra River. Several anglers have been finding success on lures almost every trip over the past months, and while they may not be massive fish, they range between 4-12kg and require real skill to land on bream rods.
Once again the whiting are the star attractions as they feed and move over the abundant reefs on this side of the Bay.
During the warm weather, fishing the moorings around Williamstown can see some great action on the bream and trevally that hold up under the boats in the shade.
Up at the footy oval and associated reef areas, whiting can be found along with squid. A touch further down the Bay the action is really hot, with the shallow banks out from Werribee and towards St Leonards producing big numbers of whiting, with many of them over 40cm and extremely fat. There are also some good flathead to be found in the same areas, and casting a plastic around can find you with a few tasty flathead to add to your bag of whiting.
Out deeper from Werribee there are some good gummy sharks on offer over the next few months, with the deeper areas along the edge of the shipping lanes being the place to look.
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