It’s fair to say that summer has now set in.
Warm and hot summer days have dominated for the most part, providing some great early morning and evening fishing conditions. It wouldn’t be Melbourne without a small spanner in the works however, and this trend has often been broken with sudden temperature changes and strong onshore winds.
Welcome periods of rain have also continued, giving the bays food chain a boost and keeping water temperatures down on average for this time of year.
Snapper still continues to dominate most of the angling activity throughout the south of the bay by land-based anglers and those fishing from boats. The general trend has been for the majority of the fish to move into the deeper marks, especially nearby the shipping channel.
Luckily, this deeper water is quite close to shore along much of the south of the bay, especially between Mount Martha and Rosebud. This prime area can be reached easily by most boats, but it is worth reinforcing that anchoring within the shipping channel is definitely not allowed, and that anglers must keep well clear of this zone.
These areas will sometimes require more weight to hold bottom, so don’t be afraid to use heavier sinkers, and probably a running sinker rig with sinker slider attached.
This will allow you to change sinker weight according to the strength of the tide. Fresh bait is always a winner, and the use of fresh squid, salmon fillet, couta and whiting heads have all been successful.
The good old pilchard and sliver whiting and other popular baits have also accounted for their fair share of fish.
The real bonus fishing the wider marks at the moment is the quality of by-catch being encountered by many anglers, particularly gummy sharks.
Gummies have become a reliable target in the south of the bay over the past few years, which is a great indication of the health of the bay, and the return of the food chain.
Inshore areas from Frankston through to Rye and beyond have also turned up some quality whiting over the past month, which is always a welcome sign for many anglers.
Like snapper, these great fighting and eating fish always respond well to fresh local bait, and good bait presentation.
The most encouraging sign so far has been the average size of most of the fish reported, averaging bigger than in past seasons. They are generally not in huge numbers, but the size and quality makes up for this.
Areas to try are Woolleys Reef, Bird Rock, the mussel farms around Safety Beach, and the Rosebud Wreck. Land-based anglers are also a realistic chance as well, especially from Mornington Pier, Mt Martha Rocks and Sorrento and Portsea Piers, particularly early and late in the day.
Plenty of other species are also on the cards through most of the bay if you’re tired of whacking the snapper, particularly squid, salmon and pike from the inshore reefs. Pike especially have responded to larger trolled bibbed lures around the reef fringes, especially those deeper than 5m.
The squid fishing over recent times has also been excellent, and there has been some jumbo models on offer too, especially further south in the bay.
Although it’s worth noting that they will get a little cagey during the full moon cycle, and sometimes need a secret handshake to eat your jig. Scents can be valuable during this time. I personally never go squidding without a can of Egimax and Glomax on board.
Salmon schools have tended to hang around the Mornington and Mount Eliza areas, and have not strayed far as they have plenty of food in these areas. The kayak anglers have been very effective as they can sit amongst the feeding fish, not spooking them.
A good lesson for boat anglers too, as it pays to stay a cast away from the feeding schools and present your lures or baits into the fish. If you are trolling, try to cover the outer area, not through the fish, and be mindful of other anglers and reefs.
And if that’s not enough there have been some great bream landed in the Patterson River, and I have also had a report of a few nice fish taken out the front of Kananook creek too.Reads: 1033