Calamari saves the day
  |  First Published: August 2009

Plenty of wind has dictated terms for much of the last month, making fishing opportunities fairly limited for some.

You know the story, drove to work this morning, the bay was flat calm, as soon as I left work on Friday night the wind started howling and didn’t stop all weekend.

Strangely enough, this pattern is fairly unusual for this time of year and usually occurs during spring.

Recently we have currently been experiencing strong northerly winds and higher then average temperatures. This has all made for some interesting and exciting fishing.


For many Victorians, squid are a mainstay right through the winter months and into spring, when fishing options are not what they are later in the year. This can be translated into ‘when the snapper are not biting, many anglers like to catch squid’. The boom in squid fishing over the last couple of years, and particularly this winter, can largely be attributed to the new and innovative Japanese tackle that has become available, and different techniques and approaches which have followed on from other sports fishing techniques.

Anglers in the south of the bay are particularly blessed, with some of the best shallow water squid fishing in the country; it can be done equally well from the land or from the boat. At the moment the prime reefs are right through the main eastern basin from Oliver’s Hill to Safety Beach are all producing good numbers of smaller sized squid.

One thing I have noticed lately, and have been told by many other anglers, is that the squid definitely prefer a rising tide, and the use of neutral coloured jigs. I like greens and browns, but darker purples and even black have been popular. Stick to smaller sized jigs up to 2.5, but a 3.0 can be a good up-grade jig if you’re chasing bigger squid. Light fluorocarbon line is also useful in clear water as your leader, braid main line is preferred as it will float and give your jig more action.

Some bigger jumbo models are also being taken by land based anglers from Portsea pier recently. Talking to the boys at Fishing Fever the other day, one of their customers bagged 4 squid to 2kg on 3.5 jigs.

Australian salmon

More bread and butter action has also been happening in the form of Australian salmon over the past month. Salmon are another reliable early spring fish, and are also very accessible for all anglers. They will take almost anything when they’re in the mood, and their numbers have really grown in the bay over the past few years with the welcome return of a sustainable food chain.

Land-based anglers have been getting amongst some lovely fish up to 1.5kg recently from the Patterson River mouth, Canadian Bay, Mornington Pier, Mt Martha Rocks and the break wall at the Blairgowrie Marina.

The standout technique is to cast small profile metal lures and soft plastics, which not only makes a great presentation, but also closely matches the food source as well. In particular try 3-4’ stick bait style soft plastics and jig head weights up to 1/8oz. 20-40g metals are also good, but I would ditch the treble on the back and go with a single hook, which are not only sharper, but will stop the salmon from throwing your lure when the jump.

Anglers in boats of all sorts are also getting amongst the salmon too, with the good old trolling techniques still taking their fair share of fish. Cast and retrieve techniques are much more effective, especially when salmon are on the surface, as is the smart use of your sounder and your eyes when they are not.

Kayak salmon

For stealth and pure efficiency, it’s hard to go past a kayak for targeting salmon in the bay, especially in more closed locations and in the backs of bays. I’ve spoken to several yak fishermen over the past month that have been giving the sambos a very serious nudge, and have been trying out some new methods as well.

Scott Lovig’s new Hobie kayaks are awesome, even big men can stand up in the Pro Angler model and cast, making them a very effective fishing craft indeed. They’re pretty good for trolling as well; some of them even have sounders and downriggers fitted!

Snapper just around the corner

As far as snapper goes, the chaos and silliness is just around the corner, and it wont be very long until we’re all talking about the mighty reds again. The odd larger fish is still being taken amongst the pinkies from the inshore reefs, and I have heard of some nice fish turning up in Westernport already.

Traditionally, the main run of fish normally commences mid to late October, which isn’t far away at all, so get ready for another bumper summer on the bay. I know I’m looking forward to pulling the kinks out some outfits and trying some new lures and plastics.

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