Southern Bay Smile
  |  First Published: April 2009

The milder weather conditions of autumn have brought some cherry ripe conditions for fishing in the south of the bay. Cool, calm mornings and bright sunny days with light winds have been the trend for most of the past month.

I always find it hard, driving to work down Olivers Hill and looking over our great bay below, but with an extra hour in the morning at the moment, it’s pretty easy to make the most of it.

Snapper still remain at the top of the tree for the majority of the bay’s boating anglers. Over the past few weeks, most of the reds have been taken in the 16-18m line out from Carrum and Seaford, and slightly deeper further south in 20-21m out from Mornington. I was out sounding for snapper recently and found the fish very spread out, so my advice would be to concentrate in productive areas with a good berley trail and some quality bait, which should bring the fish to you.

Over the Easter long weekend, the anglers in the south of the bay were treated to perfect fishing conditions. The crowds seemed bigger than usual and it was great to see so many people out there enjoying our great bay, and catching a few fish as well.

The boys at Fishing Fever recently reported one of their lady customers landed a lovely 8kg jew out wide from Mornington on fresh squid.

The reports and captures of mulloway over the past month have continued, with some nice fish being taken in the bay. Mulloway are pretty partial to fresh and live squid, and now is the best time to target these impressive silver bullets. Concentrate your efforts around areas of food holding structure that also provides cover for the fish. Aside from the Patterson River, mulloway have also been taken from the inner and outer artificial reefs, and wide from Mornington, and the hospital at Mt Eliza.

More good news further south in the bay has been the quality of gummy sharks being taken out from Rosebud, Rye and Blairgowrie. My good mate Shaun Clancy landed some ripper gummies recently, targeting the channel drop-off zones out from Rye. Using fresh squid caught from the shallow reefs previously, most of the action occurred during a slow or change in the tide direction. He carefully released all unwanted and protected by-catch, as the gummies made fine tucker as always.

Plenty of whiting are still about for those anglers travelling south too, with some of the land-based points the best place to start. Mt Martha Rocks, McRae rock wall, Portsea Pier and the marina wall at Blairgowrie have all been producing recently. Unlike Western Port, the bay’s whiting often only bite for small periods at a time, and this is normally early or late in the day. The best bet is to concentrate on first and last light, with a high tide the best.

Fresh mussel, squid and pipi are best, and bass yabbies are pretty hard to beat too. Remember to use sharp hooks, wide gape or shiner styles are best.

The piers and platforms have also been very busy at night lately with anglers chasing the ever-popular calamari. Mornington Pier has been the most popular, as well as Frankston, Portsea and the marina wall at Blairgowrie.

Mornington Pier has been like Bourke Street, with anglers shoulder to shoulder along the various platforms. Small jigs are still very popular, with most anglers fishing a drop shot rig with the jig above a small ball sinker. This keeps the jig off the bottom but still close enough to lure the calamari. Pinks and oranges are always popular, and more anglers are also using green and brown jigs in the clearer water.

The southern bay’s bream waters have been fishing pretty slow lately and will benefit from some more rain when it arrives to spice up the food chain. At the moment, the Patterson River is littered with small fish, but this is a good sign that there is strong recruitment in the system.

I took my daughter Summer into the Patto the other day and she caught her first bream (on a pink grub of course), with a little bit of help from Dad. She was pretty happy with herself, and I’ve got to say it was a lot of fun for me too. Now I know why my old man took me fishing all the time, thanks mate.

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