The snapper have been going off in Port Phillip!

While there is normally a small run of fish during Autumn as they make their way out/move in to the bay, numbers of quality fish are excellent at the moment. Most of the hot fishing has been down along the peninsula from Mount Martha back to Frankston, but there are also patches of fish up the top end of the bay.


Bill from Mornington has been getting into some quality snapper around the area. Bill has been catching fish to 6kg from Mount Martha mussel farm back up to Mount Eliza, in water from 16m through to 20m. Fresh squid and pilchard have been the best baits, with early morning bite windows the best but not required as he has also been catching fish mid-late morning.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been making the most of these autumn snapper, with plenty of happy customers getting into some fish. The fish have been spread from around Mount Eliza up to Black Rock and Sandringham, in depths of 10m out to 16m. Midday bites and calm weather have been common this autumn.


You win some you lose some! James ended up losing a heap of line on a big snapper just this morning, with his Okuma Alaris looking worse for wear. Not long after a lovely snapper of 6.5kg was boated, with around some nice fish caught in 11m of water out from Brighton.


The numbers of school snapper or pinkies have been very good around the bay, especially up the top end from Brighton to Mordi. The reef complex along Black Rock has been holding large numbers of fish to 50cm, with the average size around 35cm. Customer Ange and mates fished in 7m of water straight out from 'The clock tower' to land a nice haul of table sized pinkies on fresh squid. Customer John also landed some nice pinkies to 45cm on pilchards in the same area in 7.5m of water recently.

 

Coming in to Autumn there has been plenty of action for land based anglers around both bays. Many people think they should be putting the gear away as we edge into colder weather, but in many cases the fishing can be better with the onset of Autumn and Winter species.

The gummies can be excellent throughout Autumn as customer Anel has been finding first hand. Anel has been fishing some beaches in Westernport with mates, were they have found no shortage of small table sized sharks. Baits of pilchard and salmon have been excellent with many small gummies taking a like to the baits.


You really know that Autumn is well and truly here once the elephant fish show up. Anel has said that in many areas of northern Westernport bay they are almost in plague numbers. Many elephant fish like this one have been eating baits intended for gummies, with pilchard and fresh squid some of their favourites.


A bit closer to home in Port Phillip, customer Ismail has been fishing around Mordialloc and Beaumaris. Just recently he landed this nice little gummy from Beaumaris jetty just after dark. The gummy took a pilchard cube fished on a 5/0 'Snapper Wizard' paternoster rig and measured 84cm long. The shallows up around the northern end of the bay can hold some alright numbers of small gummies throughout the cooler months but they are very rarely targeted here.

 


The squid fishing continues to be excellent in Port Phillip bay and should stay pretty good over the Easter break. Many locations have been producing good numbers of squid all along the shoreline of the bay, with the southern peninsula the standout. Customer Amedea has been getting amongst the squid over the last few weeks and has been catching some crackers from around Sorrento.


Some more squid and cuttlefish from Amedea. Size 3.0 Yamashita jigs have been the most consistent producers down here, with rainbow foil a favourite.


Customer Tony has been catching heaps of squid nearby also. The piers at Blairgowrie and Rye haven't been too bad if you can find a spot, along with Mount Martha rocks. Tony has been catching most of his squid on a Yamashita '490 glow' jig in size 3.0. The 490 glow emits a stronger luminescence that the calamari can hone in on easier in overcast conditions or at night time.

Mornington pier has still been producing squid for anglers still fishing it. The crowds have died off a bit but over the Easter weekend they should pick up again, especially with some decent weather forecast. If you're fishing the pier, the smaller 1.8 size jigs have still been the go - or try a size 3.0 from the rockwall if you're looking for a bigger squid.


Back up the top end of the bay, the Autumn run of squid are starting to make their way up. The piers around Brighton and Beaumaris should start seeing a few more caught as the water temperature starts to drop off. Customer Ronaldo caught some squid including this ripper from around Black Rock just recently. A pink size 3.5 was the hot jig on the night.

 

While most people assume that shore based fishing isn't any good around the bays, there's been a lot of variety caught at the moment. There are many piers, rockwalls and beaches around both bays where you can catch some fish - the trick is to try and target a particular species. While this can sometimes be fruitless (that's why it's called fishing and not catching) you will generally do better if you set yourself up in search of a particular fish, instead of setting up for everything and most likely not catching much.


Around most of the piers in southern Port Phillip and Westernport there have been good numbers of yakkas. While they turn up and disappear pretty quickly, they should hang around for a while now as the reports have only recently hotted up. Portsea, Blairgowrie, Sorrento and Flinders are all worth a shot. Customer Angelo fished from Flinders pier during the week and while the squid were quiet for him, the mackerel made up for it. Small pieces of prawn fished on light gauge hooks off a paternoster rig were the go for him. Many anglers have also been catching good numbers of mackerel fishing under a float, as they tend to move about mid-water a lot. A fine grit, coarse-like berley mix is deadly when these fish are around, as it will keep the school actively feeding in your area. They can also be caught using small soft plastics fished on light weight and fine gauge jigheads.


While not normally known for whiting, fished from the shores of Port Phillip can produce some nice fish. Staff member Dylan has seen some good sized fish around Brighton and Black Rock during the week while swimming - with no one fishing for them. Fishing after dark around the top of the tide can be the most productive time, especially after a warm day. Customer Ange fished from the shore around Sandringham during the week where he caught some nice fish. Ange also found a patch of smaller pinkies, which came from a nearby reef to hammer his baits.

If you are chasing the whiting, try and target areas of sand with small patches of eelgrass or light reef nearby, and cast your baits around the edge of this structure, as the whiting will frequently patrol the edges looking for food. If it's pinkies your after, areas of heavier reef with broken sand patches are more productive, especially around last light. There are plenty of areas like around Brighton, Black Rock, Frankston and Mornington.


On the squid scene, things have been good. The warm afternoons have been good for squidding from the beaches and rocks, with Blairgowrie, Mornington and Mt Martha all producing. Customer Harry got out and fished from the beaches around Mt Martha and Mt Eliza, where he caught 8 nice squid using the Yakamito 'fluoro lemon' jig.


Around the same sort of ground off Mt Martha, customer Daniels and Jake fished in close to the shore in their kayak. A nice calm 5:30am start meant they caught prospect around the shallows without much chop and boat wake. The guys ended up with 9 squid in a few hours, on a variety of jigs in both size 2.5 and 3.0. Orange, green and purple colours worked on the day. Staff member Dylan fished in a similar area during the week to land 9 squid on size 2.5 Yamashita and Shimano jigs, with UV based blacks and pinks the standouts.

 


While normally slipping under the radar amongst all the other fishing to be done over the summer months, there have been some ripper gars about. While a lot of anglers overlook them as a target, the beauty of them is they can be caught land based or boat. Most of the shallow inshore areas of both bays and all of our other estuaries will hold gars, it's just a matter of getting numbers of them to hang around. A bit of berley normally gets them going and they are a brilliant eating fish to add to the day's bag.

Pier fishing for gars in the bay has been good around Brighton, Sandringham, Beaumaris, Frankston and Dromana, along with Stony point pier in Westernport. Gawaine Blake has been catching some real gars around Stony Point while out near the whiting grounds.


Don't be fooled, gars CAN be very tricky to catch consistently and the correct tackle and technique will soon separate the full buckets from the empty ones. Delicately balanced and weighted floats with mid length shank hooks are some of the tackle 'must-haves' but matching hook to bait selection and the correct consistency berley mixture is also vital. 


Customer Tim has been getting some good gars from Frankston pier recently. Tim used both maggots and silverfish in conjunction with his berley mix to secure a bag.


 


For many of the famliy-based fishing over the holiday period, piers can provide some fun for the kids and adults alike. At almost every local pier you can find fish like salmon, pike, trevally and mullet. Bait fishing on the piers can be effective but lure fishing can also get you into some fish. At the moment the salmon schools are fairly good along the eastern seaboard with fish popping up from Black Rock all the way down to Dromana and Blairgowrie. 

Customer Ryan was in the boat out from Mordialloc recently where he caught some ripper salmon within casting distance of the pier. Ryan found the fish to be moving about a bit so trolling covered the ground needed to locate them. Deep trolled hardbodied lures got most of the fish when the schools went down, with lures in a pilchard blue or purple/silver colour getting the most bites. Customer Ange was fishing the pier landbased earlier this week where he was catching a few fish on bait, with this big snook coming aboard the pier on 6lb leader. Snook like this are always a shot when on the pier, especially when fishing small paddle tail soft plastics.

 

Port Phillip has heated up in terms of snapper activity. Up until recently the majority of bites were coming from the northern end of the bay, but now things have picked up of Carrum through to Black Rock. Customer Steve a nice 5kg fish out from Black Rock in 19m of water on silver whiting during the week.

 

Customer Ben took his father out during the week where they got into some nice school sized snapper off Carrum. Best baits were pillies and silver whiting. We have been noticing that the bite on silver whiting is much better now than it was around 10 days ago, especially out from Carrum.

When the snapper are more actively hitting harder baits like whiting they are a better target for lures. Customers Harry and Stephan were out earlier in the week where calm conditions made for some tough fishing. The boys could find fish marking but they weren't super keen to eat. On the way back in they found a small baitball and threw some small pilchard patterned flutter jigs around it to see if any salmon were about, but they ended up with a couple of nice school sized snapper. It pays to try more than one method when you're out there!

While there are still fishing going early morning, the late afternoon bite is quite good in Port Phillip even so into the night. Customer Peter fished out in 18m of water straight out off Carrum and caught fish from 3 - 5kg during the afternoon into the early night. Silver whiting and pillies did the job. Customer Chris also did well after dark out from Beaumaris during the week, where he caught fish to nearly 7kg on pilchard.

 

While normally a more consistent feature for land based fishing during the cooler months of the year, the past week hasn't been too shabby for squid fishing. The squid size aren't huge, but they make for some awesome bait or a good feed.

Staff member Dylan has been fishing from the shore around Brighton, Beaumaris and Sandringham where size 2.5 jigs have been the standout. Yamashita's 'Aussie' edition whiting pattern has been good, along with Shimano's glow tiger prawn. Size 3.0 Clicks jigs have also been good with their slightly slower sink rate too. 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Port Phillip Bay has really hit it's straps over the last few weeks on the snapper front. The temperature of the bay has risen to the hover around the same as bass strait and this is the trigger that really sets the snapper off. Over the last few weeks there have been fish caught all over the bay, from 10m through to 21m. At present the more consistent areas seem to be the 17 - 20m ground out from Mornington - Mordialloc, with the deeper parts out towards P2 in the north of the bay producing fish as well.

Baits of all sorts have been working with scad, whiting, saucy, cuttlefish, gar, salmon, couta, pilchard and squid all producing fish  - but that being said it is very wise to take a selection and definitely make sure there are some pillies and squid in that mix, along with pilchard and squid scented berley pellets. There have been too many fish caught to list each and every one, so from here on we will let the pictures do the talking.