As the days slowly start to get longer here in Melbourne the one thing that is on many angler's minds in the crimson tide of snapper that have slowly started to infiltrate the bays. The fish that enter Port Phillip at this stage of the season are generally larger than that of typical school fish which appear a bit later in Spring. These fish are subtle feeders generally, and this coupled with colder water temperatures - especially compared to this time last year, can make them a bit more challenging to catch. At this stage of the season the fish generally don't eat as often compared to when the water is warmer, so that fish you've marked off Frankston might only eat every couple of days. In saying this, there will be another fish close by that will eat sooner - especially if your bait is A1 and you have paid attention to your rigging.  

James from Unreel Fishing Charters and mate Daniel have both been doing some early work out on the bay in search of a few reds and a couple of areas have held feeding fish. The Carrum area has been holding a few fish that have been responding to quality pilchards and also squid.

Customers Zoran and Ned have also been doing some early recon on the Port Phillip reds. The guys have been fishing the Chelsea/Carrum area and so far have found fish to around 4.5kg. Pilchards and squid have been good at the moment.

There have also been plenty of smaller pinkies hovering around many of the inshore reef areas lately as well. While a lot of the fish can be either undersize or smaller than 30cm there have also been pockets of better fish amongst them. The bigger fish tend to move about a bit more and not station themselves in one area of reef, but patrol the edges more frequently - and this is where to look for them. Small cut baits of pilchard and squid are deadly, but soft plastics also claim their fair share of fish. Small minnow patterns have been effective lately, especially when fished on reasonably light jigheads - for pinkies even in relatively deep water 1/4oz is the heaviest you'll need. Arm yourself with some 3'' minnow and curl tail/worm patterns and fish them around reef structure and you'll most likely come into contact with some fish like this.   

With the school holidays coming up next week, DEPI Victoria have stocked a number of local suburban lakes with yearling rainbow trout so that kids of all ages can access some decent fun fishing that is close to home. For a complete list of lakes that have been stocked please follow the link below.

While these trout may be small and feisty and can be caught lure, fly and bait-fishing; they aren't complete knockovers, especially if you are using the wrong gear or methods. The single most effective method for catching these fish is 'simplified coarse fishing'. The use of specific berley mixtures, rigs and baits will just about ensure success at any location. If you're unsure about any of the methods used we can show you in store as without proper explanation it can sound confusing. 

Staff member George and his mate Pero used this 'simplified' method of coarse fishing down at Karkarook Park Lake just recently to land their 10 trout in a short time. George said that the fish would bite very timidly and any resistance against them would force them to drop the bait and move off. In this scenario very light tipped 'feeder' style rods and the most effective tool for hooking these type of subtle biting fish. 

Staff member Don also took his young twins down to Karkarook Park Lake for a bit of fun on the trout this week, and using the same light line method of fishing the twins were unstoppable. Even a 2lb carp came along and took one of the baits, which became soup for one of Don's European friends.

In a suburban wetland not too far away, fishing nut Jordan has been honing his skills and tactics on some redfin while the weather has been average. Jordan has been using a variety of methods including weedless soft plastic rigs to entice the reddies from out of the reeds and grass. The good thing about this form of fishing is that virtually every wetland or suburban lake around Melbourne will have these fish in them. A good way to practice your skills close to home  

The top end of Westernport Bay has been producing some quality snapper for anglers persisting with the area. While this area normally fires up earlier than Port Phillip for instance - the fish are never sure fire and still require patience and persistence. These early season top end fish are generally between 5 - 8kg but more often than not are quite timid in how they bite. Very rarely will a heavy Westernport-type rod buckle on one of these fish. Soft tipped rods are the go for early season fish, as they are much better at detecting subtle takes from the fish. Fresh baits of squid, pike, yakka and couta are excellent starting points for the top end as well a subtle berley trail of cubed pilchards to entice them.

Customer Tony recently purchased a swag of Westernport outfits and got to christen them just earlier this week while fishing with a friend near Joe's Island. Tony was using freshly caught squid cut into 'onion ring' style baits pinned on 5/0 Owner hooks when he pinned this nice fish. Tony did mention that the bite from this fish was very subtle and not noticeable unless using a rod with a fairly soft tip.

Customer Michael also had a look around the top end of the port in search of an early season red, and he wasn't disappointed with the fish that he found. Michael fished around the Corinella region and got onto 2 nice snapper along a channel edge. Baits of fresh squid did the job, and also tempted a nice table sized gummy as well.

Just as most anglers were thinking that the West coast tuna season was slowing up, and being a bit average this year - the run of 'barrels' came through. While that particular patch of fish has also slowed up a bit, there have still been fish moving through from Port Mac to Apollo Bay. Virtually every one of these fish have been above 70kg in weight, with fish in the 95 - 120kg range probably about average. Most of these large fish have been roaming between the 30 -50m depth zone with a few caught either side of this as well. With the larger fish, the bigger lures have been much more effective. The preferred size has been between 10 and 12 inches, which are basically medium sized marlin skirts. Popular skirt colours lately have been lumo, frigate and pink/squid patterns.

Customer Michael sent us a photo from a friend who was fishing out of Portland where these 2 chunky tuna were caught, we aren't sure on any more details but they are both crackers. Customer Steve also fished out from Portland recently to land this 70kg bluefin. Steve found this nice tuna along the 50m line and it took a 10 inch Pakula skirt.  


Squid reports from both bays have been fairly consistent over the last few weeks at least, and they have been especially prominent during spells of more stable weather. With snapper season lurking, many anglers have turned their attention to bait collecting, and the humble squid is one of the best for this purpose. Many anglers have been doing well on the squid along the banks in Westernport, with the usual Tyabb/Quail areas producing a few once they have been located. Darker coloured jigs seem to be the best for these areas, as they can sometimes dirty up fairly quickly.

Customer Jamie and his brother-in-law fished out along his normal areas of the North arm in search of some squid recently, where they ended up getting into a few nice sized ones. A mixture of baited and artificial jigs were the go when fished in around 3m of water. Down towards Flinders, there have been some crackers getting caught - but typically for this area not in really good numbers. Some of the squid getting caught have however been in the 2 - 3kg mark. Most of these larger squid will be spawning around the kelpbeds in the area and caught be caught by working size 3.5 and 4.0 fast sinking jigs.  

Squid reports from Port Phillip Bay have been good, with the most consistent areas being Blairgowrie, Sorrento and Portsea. Further back up around Mornington there have also been a few caught by boat and kayak fisherman, with the area around Fisherman's Beach being one of the better locations recently. Size 3.0 jigs in red and silver foils are a good starting point in this area, as most of the ideal water is from 2 - 5m deep.

Customer Daniel tried his luck on the squid down near Blairgowrie after some advice in store regarding jig selection and outfit choice, and he was rapt in connecting to some nice squid from the breakwall. The 'Raspberry' coloured Yakamito jigs were dynamite for him in this area.   


Although the last thing some people might about during the winter months of the year is landbased fishing - some of the best fishing from the shore can be had at this time of the year. The winter months can be interesting while fishing from the shore with some species preferring calm, stable weather and others fishing best during the roughest weather that we get. With the recent rough onshore weather that Melbourne has experienced there will be some snapper roaming about close to shore. Of course standing on the pier or rocks when it's 8C and facing a 20 knot westerly wind isn't always easy - but these are the sort of conditions when your chances are the best. Customer Tony fished recently after a big front and was successful in catching a ripper snapper from the shore. Needless to say the location isn't really rocket science, but it is more about picking the conditions to target these fish. Tony managed this ripper fish on some freshly caught squid pinned to a 5/0 Owner SSW hook, on 60lb leader.

If you'd prefer to fish from the pier when the conditions are a bit more friendly - then garfish are for you. These fish prefer less rough weather and have been pretty good this season from all of the normal haunts including Beaumaris, Mordi, Frankston, Seaford and Frankston piers. Customer Kozi fished Frankston pier recently and caught a few during the run in tide. Zealcol fine grit berley and silverfish worked the best for him. Staff member Don also got a good haul of gars recently further down towards Blairgowrie. Don found that maggots and silverfish both worked well but the key was definitely setting up a good quality berley trail to bring the fish in and keep them around.

Further down towards the bottom end of the bay the squid fishing has been good. Blairgowrie, Sorrento and Portsea piers have been producing quality squid both during the day and after dark. A good selection of jigs in the 3.0 - 3.5 size range is crucial down here, as colour/foil and running depth will determine whether you have a good day or a quiet day. Customer Kozi fished Portsea pier just recently and did well during the run out tide on size 3.0 Keimura jigs with red foil. Staff member Don also fished from the pier and caught some nice sized squid on red foil Haramitsu jigs in size 3.0 and 3.5.


Even though trout streams are off-limits until September, the local family fishing lakes around Melbourne have been worth fishing if you need a trout fix. Karkarook, Emerald, Casey Fields and Rowville have all been fishing well lately with some recently stocked rainbow trout on the hit list. There has definitely been a proper technique to catching these fish consistently with anglers just 'taking a punt' most often going home fishless. Preparation of trout-specific berley and the correct rigging technique, along with a bit of patience will see you tackling with some feisty little rainbows. 

Staff member Don took his twin boys down to a couple of the family lakes recently and had no trouble catching a heap of trout using the proper methods. He did notice a few anglers struggling with incorrect presentation or bait but after a good explanation in the store these anglers were out catching the week after.

Customers George and Kristina fished Emerald lake during the school holidays where they caught some trout. Using a light paternoster rig and Gulp trout nuggets they caught 5 rainbows in a couple of hours.

Close by some of the local wetlands and suburban lakes have been keeping people busy with catches of redfin. Customers Kozi and Yuta have been casting lures in some of the local dams and wetlands for redfin up to about 400g. Yuta made up his own lure using a vodka cruiser bottletop and it tricked a couple of fish, but now has to live down the fact that everyone knows he drinks cruisers...


The tuna season down along the west coast has wound to a close for most anglers and many have turned their attention to the run of larger bluefin tuna off the southern coast of NSW. While the 30 - 70kg average size of these fish is much larger, the fish are also a lot further out. Some anglers are venturing up to 80km offshore to tangle with these fish. Trolling skirts and hardbodies has been an effective method of locating a patch of fish - then starting a pilchard cube berley trail has been the best way to keep them hanging around.

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has still been giving the west coat a run and he has been catching plenty of tuna with customers, without too much of the crowds. James has found lots of school fish to 15kg fish moving around the 40 - 50m line out from Portland, Port Fairy and Warnambool. Hardbodied lures have been working better for James recently, with Rapala XRAP 20's doing well and the new Samaki Pacemakers also doing a very good job. Natural colours like pilchard, saury and redbait patterns have been much more effective than brighter colours in the shallower water also.


While a lot of people don't seem to think there's much happening on the fishing front over the winter months - it can be the best time of the year to target fish like bream. There an still be some very tough days when chasing them, and a bit of ground work to locate the fish - but once they are found they are generally found in good numbers. Most often than not the fish are located in the deeper sections of the waterway during the colder months, so that is a good place to start looking. Customers Thao and Nick fished around the estuary of Mallacoota during the week with a few mates with bream being the main target. 

Both of the boys caught some nice fish to just over the 40cm mark using various different lures. Most of the bream were found in small schools and responded to lures being fished deep and slow. The most productive styles of lures were plastic and metal vibes along with Cranka crabs.

Thao and Nick also kept a feed of flatties in the 45cm size range while out targeting the bream. Dusky flathead this size are a very common by-catch while targeting bream in the eastern estuaries, and are perfect size for a couple of fillets.


Snapper reports have been pretty good considering it's late June. The snapper in the bay have fired up somewhat since Melbourne copped some ugly weather a little while back, so if you're a snapper freak then now's just as good a time as any to go out and try pin a good sized fish. The best part is that the snapper action hasn't been too confined to any certain areas of the bay; there have been fish caught from Geelong to Port Melbourne and Brighton to Mount Martha. Customer Vic made use of some ugly weather earlier in the week and perched himself along the rocks down towards Mornington. Vic was targeting snapper and lost a couple of fish, but the fish that he did land was a beast. Fishing with a whole pillie on 60lb leader Vic managed to land a thumping fish of 10.2kg - not bad for landbased in June hey...meanwhile across near Williamstown in only 8m of water customer Reece caught this nice 7kg fish on pilchard while drifting along a small dropoff with flatties in mind. That's the shoreline and city in the background.

Along pretty much every reef patch in the bay the pinkies have been in plague proportions. While there have been heaps of fish to attack a bait, a lot of them have been on the small side. A lot of the fish have been around the 30cm size, with a few bigger models mixed in. Larger baits and bigger hooks are a good idea if you're after a few bigger fish for the table. Soft plastics are a good option when chasing pinkies, and brands like Zman are excellent when the smaller fish are chewing other plastics to bits. If you're lucky you might even get some by-catch like customer Shane did. Shane was fishing out around Mordi with a 4" plastic when he landed a rare catch. This strange fish is an Australian Angel shark, which can reach around 1.5m in length.

For the squidding enthusiasts, the calmer weather we have had has been perfect for hitting some of the piers and rock ledges in search of a few. The southern end of the bay has been the best recently, especially along Mornington, Blairgowrie and Portsea. Staff member Don headed down to Portsea pier during the week and found some nice squid and cuttlefish. Don found that size 3.5 Yakamito's in gold foil were the best on this occasion, with all squid and cuttlefish caught on similar jigs. Customer Ryan has also been catching a few squid from the rocks around Mornington recently. Ryan has had to work hard and hop around in search of a few but he has been getting good numbers in the end. Size 3.0 and 3.5 Gancraft and Yamashita jigs have been the best, with green/gold tones/grass whiting patterns working the best. Most of Ryan's squid have been in the 300g size lately.