There have been some winter pinkies and school snapper about in the bay for anglers to catch. While many don't fish for them in winter, it can be the best time to chase them, especially with calm sunny conditions. If you're landbased there have good numbers of fish hanging around in the northern region of the bay, with Port Melbourne and Williamstown holding some solid fish. Customer Ryan has been fishing the top end of the bay from the piers and has been catching fish to around 1.5kg. Ryan has done a couple of bait sessions at night but has found the afternoons have been fishing well with plastics. Small minnow and worm pattern plastics in 3 - 4inch have been the standouts, and even deadlier smeared in gel scent if the bite is slow.


The pinkies hanging around the inshore reefs have been touch and go, with a bit of sounding required to locate a patch of fish. When found however the fish have been pretty aggressive towards baits and lures especially late in the day. Customer Bashir and his wife Alexandra have been catching some nice table sized pinkies around Black Rock. Late afternoon has been the most productive time to fish for them, with cut pilchard being the best bait.

Further down in the southern end of the bay customer Petar landed a lovely winter fish of around 2.5kg during the week. Petar has been chasing the gummies around the south channel and surrounding channels, but was pleasantly suprised when he landed a nice red. Fishing baits of freshly caught squid and yakka has been the go for him, and with good quality baits you do have a good shot at catching these fish if they are around.


With some calm winter weather mixed in the offshore gummy fishing continues to be productive. While there haven't been any real 'hot spots' the areas around Cape Schank and Pyramid Rock have been good places to start. There have been two main methods to catching these fish, with both drifting and anchoring popular. Anchoring nearby to an isolated patch of reef and berleying to bring the gummies to you has been one method, while drifting 'wider' has also been a good way to intercept a cruising fish. Customer Jon fished recently out towards the Schank and landed some nice fish to around the 15kg mark. Baits of freshly caught wrasse and parrotfish from the accompanying reef are excellent options when targeting these fish.

 


Winter time is known as time to chase mulloway by many local anglers around Victoria. The fact that is these fish are chased by 'crazy' keen diehards during the coldest of winter nights all along the coast of NSW right up to the Gold Coast or so. Customer Hendrik gets up to the South West rocks region of northern NSW regularly enough to have had a good taste of what these fish are like up here. Fishing the area this week while on holiday he landed a ripper fish of 1.23m. The fish weighed 30+ lb and took a small 'mullet' sized soft plastic. The soft plastic style was a split tail minnow, which can be worked very erratically to perfectly imitate a panicked mullet.


On the subject of panicked mullet, customer Edly caught a nice bag of dusky flathead while on holiday recently. Edly was holidaying in Brisbane and caught some nice table sized fish in the Brisbane river and in the port. Edly trolled some small mullet profile hardbodies in the 80mm size range along the mudflat edges to find where the fish were sitting, and once a few were found it was a matter of honing in and fishing slower with plastics. Shad shaped plastics in the same size as the mullet were the most effective and snapped up as soon as they touched down on the bottom. While this action happened interstate not enough make the most of similar bread and butter fishing locally.

 

 


The local landbased has been producing a few different species for anglers getting out there and having a crack. The squid fishing has been hot and cold but with recent clear water the water clarity is good in most areas. Customer Angelo has been fishing the peninsula after the squid and has been catching some to just under a kilo. Angelo has been favouring early morning sessions when fishing piers like Flinders. Angelo has been preferring size 3.5 Clicks jigs  in squid ink and hot green colours. Some other large squid have been taken from the pier, again with early morning or late afternoon light changes the prime time. Bright colours or dark greens and black have been good.


Fishing the same sort of piers like Flinders, Sorrento and Portsea gives a chance of a few other species also. With cold ocean water pushing in from Bass Strait species like Barracouta and snotty trevally are starting to show up. Customer Angelo has been finding good numbers of couta from the pier at Flinders and they have been attaching small soft plastics. Soft plastics between 1.5 and 3 inches have been the most effective when matching the small baitfish that hang under the pier.

On the peninsula piers, there have scattered garfish reports. The main areas have been Dromana, Mornington and Seaford piers. The calmer weather has brought the fish in and once berleyed up they have been hanging around. The rougher weather sends the garfish off as the larger salmon have moved in and spooked the garfish off. Staff member Don fished Mornington pier during the week and caught a small bag of gars. Don found multiple float changes crucial along with very fine mix berley. The bites from the gars were timid, and lightly balanced floats were only just 'tipping' instead of bobbing under. Tiny pieces of silverfish were also the best bait on number 14 hooks.


The beach fishing has been good lately as well. Local beaches like St Andrews, Gunnamatta and Rye ocean beach have all been producing salmon, along with Kilcunda and Williamsons. The numbers of fish have been good, but without berleying up and holding fish to your area you may only get a couple. Lure anglers spinning 40g slim profile metals and stickbaits have been landing larger fish to 1.5kg or so, as they cover more beach. Staff member Don has been out on the beach at Gunnamatta and has landed salmon to pretty much bang on a kilo. Spinning and bait fishing has been productive for him,with the last 2 hours of lead up to the high tide the most productive time. Bluebait has been his most productive bait, but a few smaller fish have taken pipi as well.


Fishing the beaches with bait and paternoster style rigs has been effective as always, but even more effective when you rig a popper or soft plastic on your bottom hook. White and blue poppers have been good lately, along with 'bungy baits' in natural baitfish colours. If you fish either popper or plastic make sure you to smear some gel style scent on them. Gel type scents stay on much easier and trickle small amounts of smell out to roaming fish - so you are almost berleying at the same time when fishing like this.

 

There's been some fishing news for the freshwater anglers recently, with some big fish stockings done by the Victorian Fisheries Authority. On the fishing front the western lakes have been producing quality trout for those keen enough to brave the cold, with Lake Wendouree the standout. Fishing surface lures or hardbodies just under the film is a good way to illicit a savage strike from an angry trout as they chase smelt around. Customer Grant fished Lake Tullaroop last week in search of some of the lakes large redfin and he wasn't disappointed. Grant landed some very nice fish on small 'bream' style jerkbaits and plastics fished around isolated pockets of weed. These western lakes have been producing some nice redfin for the lure anglers and now is the time to be chasing them.


Just recently Victorian Fisheries opened a new fishery close to Melbourne. Ferntree Gully quarry was never a secret, but only even had unofficial species in it. Just recently it had a dozen murray cod and golden perch stocked into it, along with over 300 trout! There have been some decent sized put in as well, with staff members Chris and George going up to the lake for a look. While they were there they saw some large trout in the 5 - 6lb size cruising, along with 2 of the cod. Just prior to school holidays it was topped up with yearling rainbows for the kids to catch. Powerbait and dough methods have been working on these fish, with quite a few hitting small spoons, hardbodies and soft plastics also. The natives should respond to bladed jigs and lipless crankbaits fished deep, and the lake will also lend itself perfectly for swimbaiting for the cod. 


Back in the states' west, Victorian Fisheries have been busy in the crater lakes, with a recent trout stocking. Lake Purrumbete received 1600 'cheetah' trout for the first time ever just this week. The cheetah trout is a sterile hybrid between both rainbow trout and brook trout and just another addition to the already booming trout fishery in the west of the state. While these recently stocked were only in the advanced yearling size they should respond to coarse and dough style fishing similar to that of other stocked lakes like Eildon pondage.