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. 



 

Squid fishing around the bay has been good recently for anglers from the shore, kayak, or in the boat. Most of the usual haunts are producing squid, from one side of the bay to the other. There have been some nice squid coming from the top of the bay around Altona and Williamstown, as staff member Ian found out. Ian fished over the weekend with mate Bruce in search of a few squid and possibly a snapper. Ian fished in various locations from Williamstown to Altona and down to St Leonards, with squid coming from all locations. Various jigs worked best, including size 3.0 Gesolas and Yamashita Sutte-R. The most successful depths were around the 4m mark, with the ultra shallow too glassed off during the day. After catching their squid, Ian and Bruce moved out a bit deeper in search of a snapper, but with no avail. They did however land a few good sized flathead and salmon on snatcher style rigs fished with fresh squid. 

Along the southeastern side of the bay, staff member Kozi reports some good numbers of squid coming from Bighton, Beaumaris and Mornington piers. While Brighton can be a bit patchy, darker coloured jigs work well when there hasn't been too much angler traffic along the pier. Staff member Dylan has caught some nice squid to around 1kg from Beaumaris during the week, with dark coloured Yoshikawa jigs in size 3.0 working the best.

Australian salmon have been thick in the bay at the moment, with schools being caught along both east and west sides of the bay. Customer Ryan reports that Beaumaris bay through to Sandringham has been boiling with fish to 2.5kg on some days. While the salmon may not be visible some days, they are more than likely working 'deep' and harassing bait schools that aren't on the surface. Ryan has been out in his kayak and has found a few patches of fish pushing bait towards the surface, where he has been smashing a few with soft plastics. Whitebait imitation soft plastics in the 2 - 4" size have been dynamite, especially in white/pale yellow/pink colours.

Further down along Frankston and Seaford there have also been salmon working along the shoreline. Staff member Kozi has been down on more than one occasion and has done well on fish around 1kg on flickbait style plastics around 3" in length. Days with a strong southwesterly wind have brought the fish right in close to shore.  

 

It might sound funny that the days are starting to get warmer and, coincidentally so are the snapper reports. The increase in sunshine slowly warms the water temperature, to the point where the snapper will feed for longer. At the moment, the temperature along the eastern side of Port Phillip is hovering around 14.5 - 15C, which is starting to fire the snapper up. The fish will generally go from a very short and fickle early morning bite to hitting the baits with more gusto as the month rolls along. Towards the end of the month we will see more frequency in their bite windows, with morning and afternoon sessions seeing some action. Customers Peter and Matt went out from Frankston earlier in the week in search of a red, and the morning bite saw them land 2 nice fish at 65 and 67cm. The guys were fishing out along the 16m line, and their pilchard and fresh squid head baits both went off at around 7:30am.

Staff member Dylan went out on Friday morning with customer Dave, in search of a couple of reds on the plastics. Laucnhing from Mordialloc, they fished out around Ricketts Point and Beaumaris Bay to land a nice fish of 3.2kg, amongst a heap of smaller fish. Best depths were 6 - 9m of water, with small plastics working much better than large offerings. Zman grubs and jerkbaits in the 2.5 - 4" size have been good, as there are lots of schools of small baitfish around. With lots of small baitfish in the bay, the snapper have been opportunistic - feeding on this bait. Because of this, a lot of school sized fish have very sharp, pointy canine teeth, as you can see in the photo. If you're bait fishing, make sure you beef up your leader to at least 60lb - and 40lb up if using fluorocarbon.  

 

Most anglers fishing Port Phillip at the moment are seeing red. Pinky snapper are very prolific at the moment and are being caught in just about every corner of the bay. The better areas have been around any reef structure but these fish will also cruise around over sand and mud if the food is there. The hotspots recently have been around Williamstown and Brighton through to Beaumaris Bay, and then again from Frankston through to Mt Martha. 

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has found the fishing for pinkies excellent over the last month, with some nice fish caught again this week. James is having no troubles finding fish in the 40cm size range for his customers - with the odd fish up around 1.5 - 2.5 kg finding the baits as well. James says that constant moving has been the key to finding active schools of fish, and having a good supply of baits has been helpful as well. Baits of salted pilchard along with squid and cuttlefish have been excellent, especially when fished lightly weighted on 2/0 circle hooks. More often than not they are smashed before they hit the bottom. 

While there have been plenty of smaller fish about, there are also good numbers of better sized 'snapper' between 4 - 7kg that have been roaming about. Not as many anglers have been targeting these fish, but they are around. Mt Martha, Carrum and Williamstown are good areas to search, with baits of pilchard or fresh squid. 

 

The squid fishing around bay has been excellent lately, as the rougher weather has stirred a lot of food up for them and as winds have backed off the water clarity has gotten better and given anglers the chance to get out and catch a few. Pretty much most of the general squidding areas have been good with Brighton, Black Rock, Frankston, Mornington, Mt Martha and further down towards Blairgowrie through to Portsea all fishing well. Customer Evan got out during the week and got into a few crackers up to 2kg. Evan is a real squidaholic and loves to get into the bigger units when they're around - and now seems to be that time.

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has had some awesome squid fishing with customers over the past week, with no shortage of cephalopods hitting the deck for excited anglers. James has found the Frankston - Mornington and Mt Martha areas really producing the goods lately, with plenty of smaller squid around the 300g mark right through to a few 2kg thumpers. James and natural coloured jigs go well, and recently dark greens, blacks and red foils have gotten the job done in mostly size 3.0's.

 

Port Phillip's squid fishing has been good over the last 10 days or so, especially on days with good visibility. The northern end of the bay has been a bit more fickle as water clarity and salinity changes after a decent amount of rain. The area around Brighton and Black Rock has been ok for squid to around 400g, mainly on darker coloured jigs.

Further south around Frankston and Mornington there have been better numbers of squid with the average size around 200g. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has had some good squid fishing throughout the week around the area with a few larger squid coming aboard too. Again natural coloured jigs have been the most successful in this area, with reds, golds and greens being the most productive.

 

Staff member Dylan fished around the Black Rock area last week to land squid up to 500g. Natural coloured jigs in size 3.0 did the damage, with the best depth being around the 6m mark. Slow drifting and casting shrimp imitating jigs in reds and browns worked the best.

 

 

Customer Ky fished with his son Cameron last week off Black Rock where they caught a few good snapper. Pilchard and silver whiting did well, and Cameron landed this cracking red of around 5kg using a soft plastic. The guys were fishing in 14m of water.

Most of the guys from Clayton Fishing Club also fished out from Mordialloc last week where they all got into some nice snapper. The most productive area was again around the 14m mark, with baits of silver whiting and pilchard doing the job on fish from 4.5 - 6.4kg.

 

Customer Jun had a crazy session down at Mordialloc pier during the week. With lots of school sized snapper around the 2kg mark on the bite for most anglers involved. Jun used salted pilchards rigged on smaller 2/0hooks and found this method successful. The fish seemed to bite well between 10.30pm and 1.30am.

Customer Serks from Craigieburn caught plenty of snapper to 4kg during the week out from Black Rock. Fishing in 6m of water and using squid for bait, Serks caught a swag of fish like this - with all but a few going back to swim again.

Customer Nick fished with a few mates out from Mordi over the weekend to get amongst some good snapper. During the early morning the bagged fish to 4kg using pilchard, squid and silver whiting. After losing a few fish on 40lb leader, they went up to 60lb hard coated leader and success soon came. Customer Lee also fished out around Black Rock in 16m of water over the weekend to land snapper to 5kg. Silver whiting was the gun bait for Lee.

 

 

There has been plenty of table size pinkies around Black Rock and Ricketts Point at the minute, with fish to 2kg quite common, and a fair few bigger reds up to 6kg mixed in. With a lot of boat traffic, the best time to target the fish here is early morning or late afternoon.

Customer Abdul fished with one of his friends around Black Rock on Saturday to catch plenty of pinkies on pilchard and squid. A few bigger fish around the 60cm took a Gulp turtleback worm cast around the boat in 7m of water. He then went out again in his kayak on Monday afternoon fishing the same area using turtleback worms and scored a handful of fish around the 55cm size. He also had a couple of bigger fish crush and straighten the jigheads.