Winter is a wonderful time to wet a line. The crowds have long gone, and some wonderful clear still days await the avid angler. This is a brief run down on what you can expect to catch during the winter months.

Winter in Port Phillip Bay throws many options. Squid, whiting, pinkie snapper,salmon and flathead are abundant around the shallow reefs and gummy and seven gill sharks patrol the channels. The best locations to bag a brace include Clifton Springs, Williamstown, St Kilda, Mornington and Sorrento, try baits of squid, pilchards and mussels. For those that are land locked the piers at Geelong, St Kilda, Mornington, Sorrento and Portsea regularly produce the goods. For the Surf fishing enthusiast Rye, Sorrento, Portsea and Gunnamatta back beaches produce salmon during the daylight hours and sharks and mulloway during the evening, for baits try chicken, pippies, blue bait and pilchards and for the after dark missions nothing is better than fresh salmon.

For me winter in Western Port Bay is all about the gummy sharks. My favoured locations include Yaringa, Stony Point, Cows and West Entrance. Other species on offer are whiting, flathead, salmon and squid. For those hardy souls that want to put in some all night efforts mulloway and gummy sharks are on offer through out the top end with the channel edges and junctions around Bouchers producing the best results. Favoured baits include salmon, pilchards, fresh squid and eel.
For those without a boat great land based options include Stockyard Point, Point Leo and Phillip Island for surf anglers and San Remo, Rhyll, Flinders, Stony Point and Tooradin for the pier rats.

Inverloch and Venus Bay hold many fishing options. Anglers fishing the Tarwin River catch estuary perch, bream, and mullet, while Anderson Inlet holds flathead, salmon,whiting, trevally, gummy sharks and bream. Fishing off the surf beaches producessalmon and mullet during the day and sharks and the occasional mulloway at night. Those venturing offshore into Bass Straight can expect to land Flathead, Barracouta and Gummy Sharks.

Watatah Bay and Shallow Inlet offer the land based angler a great base with both surf and estuary fisho well catered for with salmon, whiting, pinkie snapper, flathead and gummy sharks regularly making the creel. Try soft plastics and metal lures for the salmon, and Flathead. Boat anglers are also catered for with the estuary and offshore producing a myriad of options and species.

Corner Inlet produces flathead, salmon, gummy shark and whiting for both land based and boat anglers. Locations worth a fish are Yanakie, and Toora. It is advised to visit the Parks Victoria Website ( HYPERLINK “http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/”www.parkweb.vic.gov.au) as there are a number of marine parks in the area.

Port Welshpool and Port Albert offer a great launching place for fishing adventures out into Bass Straight. During the winter months anglers land large gummy and seven gill sharks as well as flathead, Barracouda and the occasional snapper. Best baits are squid, pilchards and garfish.

McLaughlins beach is a wonderful destination with both surf and boat anglers well catered for.
The surf anglers catch salmon, tailor and mullet during the day and gummy sharks and the occasional mulloway and school shark during the night. Offshore anglers land Flathead, gummy sharks and whiting. Best baits are squid, pilchards and pippies.

The Ninety Mile beach is a surf fishing Mecca during the winter months with anglers travelling far and wide to do battle with salmon, mullet, flathead, tailor, and gummy sharks. Places of interest are Reeves, Woodside, Seaspray, Paradise and Golden Beaches. Best baits are pilchards, pippies, blue bait and squid, with artificial baits of soft plastics, surf poppers, slugs and flies also being very productive.

During the winter months the Gippsland Lakes produce some wonderful bream fishing. Bream are fished both from the land and boats. Popular methods include both bait and soft plastic fishing. Bream hotspots include the Tambo, Nicholson and Mitchell rives with the townships of Bairnsdale, Johnsonville and Swan Reach are a great starting point. Best baits include crab, shrimp and sand worms. Loch Sport on Lake Victoria is a great location where anglers catch bream, mullet and flathead. Paynesville and Raymond Island are a hotspot destinations for bream, flathead and mullet. Try fishing around the wharves and moorings for the best results. Metung on the shores of Lake King is famous for bream, whiting, tailor and trevally. The best bait for this area is shrimp and sandworm.

Lakes Entrance at the mouth of the Gippsland Lakes has a great run of winter fish that include salmon, bream, trevally, king george whiting and tailor inside the entrace, with the jetties and the Hopetoun Channel being the pick of the locations. Best baits include sand worm, shell and blue bait. For the avid surf fishos salmon, tailor, trevally, mullet and gummy sharks are on offer. Best baits are squid, blue bait and pippies.

Lake Tyers offers great bream, mullet and flathead fishing inside the lake and up the rivers while the surf produces the usual run of winter salmon. If the crabs in the surf are driving you nuts try using a surf popper or fly.

The small fishing town of Marlo boasts both estuary and surf fishing. Off the surfsalmon, trevally, mulloway, tailor, school and gummy shark can all be landed. Estuary anglers fishing the Snowy River successfully target bream, salmon, tailor, perch, luderick, the favored bait of the area is fresh local prawn for the estuary and river, while pilchards and squid are the choice offshore and on the surf.

The small village of Bemm River has estuary fishing in the Sydenham Inlet where the Bemm River meets the Tasman Sea. Here anglers catch flathead, bream, tailor and perch with the best local bait being sand worm and prawn.

The Cann River holds good populations of bream and estuary perch and as it flows further south and into the Tamboon Inlet anglers can add large flathead, salmon and tailor to the list. Best baits are fresh prawns and worms as well as soft plastics. Anglers fishing the surf beach do very well on salmon and tailor during the day and sharks at night. Best baits are fresh salmon and pilchards.

The Genoa River and Mallacouta Inlet are home to some lovely bream and flathead in the winter months. Places worth a try are Gypsy Point, The Narrows, and Mallacouta. The best baits are prawns, blue bait and live mullet. From the surf the winter run of salmon will keep many happy and gummy sharks are also encountered at night. Best baits are blue bait and pilchards.

So what are you waiting for grab the fishing gear and get out on the water and on to the fish as there is a winter wonderland for you to experience!