Without doubt the number one focus in January will be the very tasty King George Whiting.
With the Christmas holidays in full swing Mordialloc pier gets very busy with loads of school kids jumping off the pier. With this going on the best fishing happens early in the morning or late afternoon into the night with some great garfish, a few squid, or with a bigger bait in deeper water a few 30-40cm pinkies are on offer.
Whiting reports are starting to filter through and now is the time to start working the shallow reefs such as the Horse Paddock right through to the Parkdale Pinnacles. Aside from whiting there are still plenty of squid to be found in the same areas so always have a light rod rigged with a small jig.
Out wider from Mordialloc there are still some nice snapper on offer with the are from the Mordi Hump out to the Yellow Buoy in 15m producing snapper between 3-6kg on first and last light.
Deeper off Ricketts Point there are still snapper to be taken along the edge of the shipping channel, although the bite has slowed as the snapper spawn.
Back in along the edge of the marine park from Ricketts Point to Black Rock there have been some great snook on offer for those anglers trolling small diving lures, while the hard reef area all along here holds whiting and numbers of squid.
Summer time is yellowtail kingfish time and December saw several reports of these yellow-tailed demons being seen between Mordialloc and Black Rock.
Sandringham Breakwall and the Rock Groynes of Hampton currently have loads of quality garfish and if all goes well it should continue through January. The other prime area for gars is over the shallow reef at Green Point.
For land-based anglers the key here is to wade out onto the shallow reef to get to deeper water.
The Fawkner Beacon had loads of snapper around it through December, and it seems that the fish are still in the area. Although they are in spawning mode, towards the end of January the fishing should go crazy out here as the fish get back into feeding.
The shallow reef that runs from North Road through to St Kilda is producing whiting, squid and some very nice leatherjackets, but for me the highlight is the massive garfish that have been on offer along with some quality flathead to be found in the sand holes among the reef. Many of these flatties are in the 45-55cm size and are a top feed and great fun on light spin outfits.
With the shallow water at the top of the bay getting very warm it’s also well worth walking the shallows with a light spin rod and a few soft plastics anywhere from St Kilda to Station pier with some of the better sized flathead moving into the shallows to feed on the abundant bait in the area.
The key to finding them is to look for small patches of weed or reef and cast around them, or work lures through the slightly deeper holes and gutters that run along the beach. Just remember the gutters don’t need to be very deep, often a small gutter only be a foot deeper than its surrounds can produce the best fish.
Station Kerford Rd and Lagoon Piers also fish well through January with the flathead population well on the chew, not to mention garfish, salmon and even the odd whiting for those anglers fishing pippi or mussel baits.
Good rains, and even some flooding before Christmas has given both the rivers a great flush out and it seems the fish are loving it with some excellent bream fishing to be had over broad areas in both rivers
In the Yarra anglers have had some great lure fishing for bream from the Bolte Bridge up to the Casino, with a lot of visual fishing for bream sitting high in the water column chewing on the poles.
In these situations small shallow running hard bodies such as the Eco Gear SX40 and the Zipbait Khamsin Jr, or small plastics such as the 65mm Squidgy Wrigglers on ultra light jigheads are proving deadly.
For the bait anglers there have been some clunker bream hooked on unweighted baits of live freshwater yabbies or peeled prawn.
In the Maribyrnong all the bridges appear to be fishing well for bream with similar techniques working as in the Yarra. Asides from the bream there have been good numbers of mullet around lower down in the system, with the best approach for them to fish small baits under floats with a fine berley trail.
The moorings in Williamstown harbour are producing some good bream fishing for lure anglers getting offerings right in against the boat hulls or around the piers. Basically any where you can find shade for the fish to hide out of the sun is where you want to be casting while the rocky shoreline accessible to land-based anglers is producing a few whiting late in the afternoon.
Around towards Altona the areas of reef that behind the footy oval and around the stick out from the boat ramp have pinkies and squid and the next few weeks should see good whiting fishing through this area.
In along the shoreline from Altona to Werribee, however, there are solid flathead at this time of year and it’s a great way to sped a few hours wading the shallows casting lures for flatties that are usually of very good size
Out deeper from Altona the snapper grounds will still be holding reds with locations such as the Spoil Ground holding snapper.
It’s whiting time around Werribee with the shallow weed and broken bottom producing some good catches of whiting in the 30-35cm size. Out deeper have been some consistent catches of 4-8kg gummy sharks, especially on baits of fresh squid.
In the Werribee River itself there has been excellent bream fishing with good catches of bream being taken all along the river with the pick of baits being Bass yabbies and sandworm.Reads: 1982