While not the same rush as the months of October and November, Port Phillip has been producing a wave of snapper as they feed up and move out of the bay. There will continue to be some resident fish in the bay all year, but good sized schools have been found in the Mornington region at present. These fish have been caught in depths of 17 -21m out to the edge of the spoil ground. First light bites are consistent with fish at this time of year, and well worth the effort. Bill from Mornington recently landed fish to around 5.5kg on pilchard and silver whiting.


Among the larger fish there have been plenty of pinkie schools, both out on the mud and around the reef patches. While wading through the smaller fish can be painstaking there have been enough fish to just over a kilo if you are changing up baits and rigs to suit. The reefy areas of Mornington and Black Rock have been holding large numbers of fish but also larger numbers of undersize fish. Moving to the mud just off the reef and berleying lightly has been a good method of luring better fish to your baits. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been landing heaps of plate sized pinkies for customers by fishing just outside the reef areas with fresh squid and pilchard. If the smaller fish are getting the better of you, switching to harder baits such as whiting or yakka can drag out some bigger fish for you.

 


There have been plenty of gummies caught by angler over the past week. Many fish to 9kg or so have been making their way into the catch, with both bays producing the goods. The hot area has been the southern end of Port Phillip, with the channels from Safety Beach across to Swan Bay holding good numbers of moving fish. Many of these smaller channels are all excellent to fish but will produce better on the correct stage of the tides. Sitting a tide out in a particular spot can be the best way of working out when the fish move through the area.


Customer Josh fishes for gummies regularly around the southern end of the bay and over the weekend he got into a couple of quality table fish around 12kg out from Portsea. Josh was fishing some of the feeder channels around Mud Island and found that chunks of freshly caught salmon were the most effective baits.


Customer Andy also fished the southern region of the bay over the weekend, with his 2 gummies coming from the channels around Rye. Freshly caught squid was the gun bait for the gummies, which were all caught on red foil Hayabusa jigs. The couple of fish that Andy caught were perfect eating sized males around 7kg each.


Over in Westernport, gummies of the same size have been a common catch during the week. Customer Bart has been landing fish to 10kg fishing out from Rhyll in 19m of water. Bart has been finding pilchards the most consistent bait but also needing to be replaced as pinkies and other fish constantly pick them off the hook.


In the same area customer Michael and mate landed 3 nice fish to 6kg over the weekend. The guys were fishing the area for some larger toothy sharks with heavier gear, but also had some gummy baits out, and took some flake home for their efforts. Baits of freshly caught mullet, salmon and squid all did the job, with the fish running along the mudflat edge on the run out tide. 

 


Some choice conditions over the past week or so have allowed for offshore stints for local anglers in search of kingfish, both offshore from the bays and also down the coast. The weekends weather condition were good enough to turn many anglers to offshore and the rewards were there to be had.

Customer Frank made a big run from the top end of Westernport out through the western entrance in search of kingfish. With numbers of boats in close Frank decided to look out a bit wider where he found some small schooling kingfish on the surface. Small stickbaits cast at the school resulted in hook ups, and so the technique went on. After finding a patch of nervous water out in 30m the stickbaits were on again but this time with some school sized bluefin tuna. Frank said that there were good numbers of fish about, but that they were full of very small baitfish. His 90mm stickbaits were perfect size for these fish to hunt.


The rip has been producing kingies for anglers doing the hard work but has also been somewhat patchy this season. During the week Reel Time Fishing Charters had a blinder of a session in the rip with around 20 good size kingfish landed by customers. Customer Damien has been working aboard the boat and reports that the fish have been taking live slimies and squid and also jigs between 150 - 200g. Jig colour hasn't mattered, more of correct rigging and technique to get the fish to bite.


Around the rocky shorelines and islands of Bass Strait the kingfish have been solid. The smaller fish have been prolific in numbers but moving until bigger fish are found has been the go. Customer Jason has been out chasing these fish around Welshpool and finding fish to around 15kg. Jason has been catching fish predominately on subsurface stickbaits, with some impossible to tempt falling to live slimy mackerel around the submerged reef points and swell zones.

 


The 'everyday' species on offer around the bay have been providing whether you're in the boat or fishing from the shore. Squid fishing of late has been productive all around the bay as customer Peter has been finding out. Peter fished with a mate out from Rye over the weekend to land a nice bag of squid. Most productive jigs were size 3.0 Yakamitos in the 'ribena' colour.


Customer Tony fished with mate over near Queenscliff on the weekend to land some nice squid and cuttelfish. Tony found that the stand out jig was a fluoro yellow 'lemon meringue' coloured jig. The bright coloured jig out-performed all others in the area, and has a good track record in the Queenscliff region.


The local piers and sandy spits and coves have been holding some nice garfish lately also. The 'normal' piers such as Frankston and Mordialloc have been producing but they have been better during the day rather than at night. If you are able to get out on the water and berley up the size of the gars has been better. Customer Edly has been making the most of these tasty fish over the past few weeks, with some good numbers of fish to 35cm being swung aboard. Silverfish and maggots have been the best baits of late, with a light trickle of berley enough to keep the fish nearby.

 


Port Phillip has been quiet in terms of report this past week, but there has still been things happening. The squid fishing has been ok, with some of the southern piers about due to start firing. The northern end of the bay has also been showing quality squid from the piers and inshore reef. Customer Ryan has been catching some decent squid along the reef around Black Rock. Ryan has been finding red and orange jigs have been the standouts around the deeper reef patches. Ryan has caught squid up around 800g, with afternoons fishing better.


Around Brighton there have been good patches of squid on offer when the wind has dropped. The reef points and pier have seen squid to around 600g on darker coloured jigs. Customer Tas has been catching good numbers of 490 glow Yamashita jigs in the 2.5 size. Last light and early into the evening has been the prime time.


There have been good amounts of small pinkies and flathead in the same area, with the Brighton and Ormond shallows holding some quality table fish. Staff member Dylan has been fishing both the beaches and platforms a few afternoons a week, with a couple of flathead and pinkies being about average for a session. Small baitfish or worm pattern soft plastics in the 3inch size on 1/12th jigheads have been the most productive, with flathead to around 45cm and pinkies to 35cm both taking favour to them.


Also from the piers in the area and further down onto the Mornington peninsula there have decent numbers of garfish on the go. While there hasn't been millions of them, there has been enough to put a decent bag together if you're fishing the correct float, rig and berley methods. Customer Stefan has been catching some good bags of them around Frankston on both maggots and silverfish, lightly pinned on Gamakatsu fine wire fly hooks.

 


Whiting fishing has been steady in the port, and still the mainstay for local anglers. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching some good size fish up the top end of bay, with many of fish around the 40cm mark. Fresh mussel has been an excellent bait along with tenderized squid.Staff member Don has also been catching whiting up around Tyabb. Don and mate Sam fished an afternoon run out tide in 6m of water to land around 20 fish up to 43cm. The average school size fish were in the 36 - 39cm and fell to squid and pipi cocktail baits.


With the onset of Autumn the pinkies and school snapper will pick up in the port. While there have been hoards of smaller fish, there have been some better fish coming from the long reef area (think Lysaughts through to Eagle rock). Working through the undersize fish has been a chore but larger baits and hooks will keep the smallest fish at bay - also hardier baits of yakka and pike will help hang in there until a bigger fish finds it. Depths of 10 - 14m have been better for larger fish, with the deeper water carrying large numbers of small fish. Customer Michael fished with a mate out from Stony point in 10m of water out from the pier to score a nice bag of pan sized fish on pilchard.

 


While the weather this week hasn't been conducive to fishing the bay let alone offshore, there still has been some action outside. If bluewater is your thing, kingfish, tuna and sharks have been the reward. Outside the bays the kingies have been hanging around the main promontories and points - with Cape Schank, Seal Rock and Pyramid rock all good starting points to name a few. Out wider from these areas there have been makos to 100kg or so. Customers Anthony and Mark fished out from Cape Schank last week where they scored a nice little mako of around 30kg. The amount of bait offshore at present is half the reason these predators are about.


Other bluewater predators that have been lurking both locally and out of town have been good sized bluefin tuna. There have been patches of tuna out from the bays but they have been flighty and fussy in what they will eat. Along the west coast they have been in a similar mood, but in better numbers. Customer Edly got down to Portland recently to try and catch one of these large school fish. Edly caught fish to around 30kg trolling small skirts, and that has been the main key - SMALL lures. These fish have been gorging themselves on small whitebait and anchovies, and quickly show shy away from large offerings, unless you find a patch of fish on the prowl.

 


The fishing for both trout and redfin has been popular over the past week or so, with anglers taking to the local lakes and streams in search of both. Customer Luke has been fishing the small creeks in the Noojee region and finding plenty of small aggressive brown trout. Luke tried out some new Yamakito 'Raven' hardbodies in a few colours and found the fish lining up to eat them - whether it was on a slow wind or aggressive twitches around the undercut banks.


To the north of the city, customer Eray has been catching plenty of good sized redfin out of lake Eppalock. Eray has been fishing landbased and casting small bass style jigs around the timber and rocky shorelines. He has been fishing a lighter baitcast outfit to accurately place and control the small jigs as they fall around the structure, with a lot of the hits coming on 'the drop'. Finesse style bass jigs are becoming more popular on local fish species, with a lot of versatility in rigging to suit different species. If you're not sure what they are or are interested in trying them on your local fish pop by and check them out.


The local stocked lakes have been producing rainbow trout for anglers fishing with coarse methods and pellet berley. Karkarook has been the main standout lately, with a slight dip in temperature firing up the trout along the edges. Customer Liam fished the lake recently for the first time to try his luck on the trout, and after some guidance in-store with correct tackle and rigging he caught his first few rainbow trout. Liam caught the fish on both specialist trout dough and pink powerbait, while berleying around his bait and rig with crushed trout pellets. This method really is the most effective in our stocked lakes, and worth giving a go if you haven't already!

 


Squid fishing around both bays has been pretty good recently, as we've had no rain until just the last 24hrs. Some of the northern regions of both bays will be discoloured and will need a good few days to clean up - but these areas have been a tad too warm for numbers of squid recently anyway. While you will catch squid right up in the warmer water of the bays, the larger squid tend to prefer the cooler oceanic water coming in from the bottom of the bays.


While it's not mayhem yet - it won't be far away. Mornington pier has been starting to produce a few more squid, and in a month or so there should be large numbers of small squid in the harbour. Stock up on small jigs in the 1.75 & 1.8 size while they're in stock! Customer Connor fished the pier recently and caught a few squid to 25cm hood length. Connor found 2 different were effective over 2 days - bright orange and pilchard patterns in size 2.2.


The southern end of the bay has had lots of squid in the 200g size especially around Rye and Rosebud. Customer Jason was out stocking up for a kingfish session recently and found no shortage of squid in around 5m of water off Rye - with darker coloured jigs working the best. Blacks, dark reds and dark greens were the most effective.


Across in Westernport bay the squid fishing has been good further south also. While not known for producing huge numbers, the Flinders area has seen some bigger size as per usual. Customer Ryan caught a couple of nice specimens from the pier in between all the mackerel floats. With all the mackerel around Ryan found the natural mackerel pattern Yamashita worked the best. Just out from the pier customer Justin caught some really solid squid. Fishing the area out from the pier in the boat can be effective with size 3.5 fast sink jigs, as there is some undercurrent that will keep lighter jigs from reaching the 'kill zone'.


Customer Brendan also found some nice squid out in Westernport over the weekend. Brendan found a UV orange belly/brown back Yamashita jig did the damage. Brendan was targeting the edge of the grass beds in 6m of water to catch his squid.

 


While there have plenty of active fish to be caught, many of the estuaries both local and into Gippsland are in need of a decent rain and flush - with quite a few landlocked at present. With no real rain to open up these estuaries they are closed, with warmer water than normal and not affected by tides and salinity which has turned the fish off somewhat. Clearer than normal water has also made the fish flighty, perfect if you're up for a challenge!


Staff member Dylan fished with mate Adrian down in the estuaries from Lakes onward where the fishing was tougher than normal. Fishing around Lakes and Marlo, Dylan and Adrian caught around 20 bream up to 41cm - with surface lures performing the best. OSP bent minnows and Bassday sugapens were the 2 best lures, perfect imitations of the available bait. Fishing these lures around pockets in the thick weed and over silt beds were where the fish had been holding more consistently. Many other anglers were seen but without turning a reel, but they also weren't paying attention to what bait was around and where the fish were holding.


Speaking of bait, these estuaries all had good numbers of prawns about. While they weren't huge there were plenty about to use for bait or for a snack. Most of the prawns have been from 6 - 12cm long and these are what a lot of the fish have been feeding on. Dylan and Adrian kept a bag of dusky flathead from 38 - 50cm working lightly weighted prawn pattern soft plastics around the silt beds.