Port Phillip has really been providing a variety of fish for anglers recently. Pretty much every fish that one would want to catch in the bay can be caught right now. From pinkies, snapper, gars, salmon, kingfish, flathead and whiting the species choices are pretty widespread, it's just a matter of picking a fish and targeting it.

James from Unreel Fishing Charters reports of insane pinkie snapper action, with plenty of fish up to 2kg around the inshore reefs. During low light conditions these fish are going nuts, with multiple rods getting smashed on every bait that hits the water. The plastic fishing for these fish has been very good too, with all of the same areas like Black rock, Williamstown and Mornington all producing heaps of fish if you're fishing plastics.


Soft plastics in the 2 - 4'' size range have been the best of the pinkies, with 'stretchier' and tougher style plastics proving to be excellent value for money, with more than a dozen fish landed on a single plastic and no signs of damage. 'Bungee baits', Zman's and Squidgy 'Biotough' are all excellent options, just pick a natural and a bright colour to suit most conditions.


While fishing baits or scented plastics around the inshore reefs, fish like red mullet can be a common bycatch. Customers Ryan and Nick have been a heap amongst the pinkies, flathead and salmon along the eastern seaboard of the bay. Normally if you are over shallower heavy reef you will start catching the red mullet, and as you push deeper to where the reef steps down you will find less of these and more pinkie snapper.


There have also been some serious salmon in the bay for a while, with big schools spotted anywhere from Black Rock through to The Rip. Most of the fish have been around 1kg in size which makes them great fun on light spinning gear, or not bad on the table if they are looked after. Small metal lures up to 15g have been working well, along with tiny, whitebait imitation soft plastics. If you manage to get one of these lures to the bottom without a salmon intercepting it, there have been sand flathead to around 40cm keen on eating it.


Further north in the bay, there have been some decent bream mixed in with the schools of pinkies. While the pinkies have been much faster to get to the baits, the numbers of open water bream have been a surprise to a few anglers. The shallow sandflats around the top end of the bay have seen bream feeding around low light conditions where they have been taking baits and lures meant for flathead. This 43cm fish was caught by customer Michael, on a 4'' soft plastic aimed at a shallow water flathead at first light.

 


While the squid reports haven't been out of this world, there have been enough anglers for anglers out fishing for them. There have been scores of small bait sized squid being caught around the harbour at Mornington, with the odd larger one caught from the wall at the start of the main pier around last light. Size 1.5 and 1.8 jigs are the go if you are fishing for the small squid, and a slower sinking size 3.0 like one from the 'clicks' range for the bigger squid off the main pier.

Customer Daniel fished out around Rye over the weekend to collect his bag of nice sized squid in the shallows. Daniel found that size 2.5 Yamashita jigs were the better performers on the day.


Customer Jinsu fished from the rocks around Mornington during the week to land a couple of nice squid on size 2.5 Shimano 'Keimura' jigs with the UV white/red head getting the job done just after first light. The squid continued to tick along until about 8:30am then slowed right off.


Staff member Dylan has been doing some land based squidding during the week around both the top and southern ends of Port Phillip, with mixed results. There have been enough squid around to catch a few, but they haven't been red hot. As always persistence and constantly trying different jig colours and sink speeds has been the key to cluing in to the bite. Around the southern end of the bay, the new Yamashita 'trick prawn' colour has been a day time standout, while the brighter colours like the 490 glow 'KRI' have been better from Black Rock through to Brighton.

 

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.

 


Reports from Port Phillip bay have been a little slow over the last few weeks. Water temperatures in the bay have reached a level where a lot of the snapper will start to spawn, so the bite has slowed down, especially from Carrum north. The better areas of late seem to be around Seaford/Frankston and further south right the way to Mount Martha, where the water temperature is a fraction cooler.

Customer Jason got his bag of snapper during his last trip out off Mt Eliza. Pilchard was the go and the 18m area was the more productive depth.


Peter and Matt McCoy have been out wide from Frankston lately where they have been getting some nice fish. The guys have been putting in the hours but have had fish come through from between 11am and 2pm, so super early starts aren't needed at present. The 18m area out from Frankston was the most productive for them, with silver whiting being the best bait.


James Rogers from Unreel Fishing Charters has found the going tough out in Port Phillip at present, but he has still been getting some nice fish. James has been concentrating out wide from Mt Eliza through to Mornington for the best results, with silver whiting and pilchard doing the job on most fish.

 

Reports from Port Phillip have been good over the last week with plenty of anglers scoring snapper. While the crowds at the ramps can be uninspiring, the quality of the fish has been good with plenty of 4-5kg fish about. The water temperature has risen to a point where the fish have been much more active, with longer bite windows and also at different stages of the day. At present the afternoon bite seems to be more productive than getting out there at 3:00am while it's still pitch black.

Customers Damien and John have been scoring some solid fish during the week, with Mt Eliza 16m and Black Rock both producing. Silver whiting have been the bait of choice over the past week. 


The Keysborough Angling Club have been enjoying the run of fish over the past week with members Peter and Dave both scoring some nice size school snapper in Port Phillip. Pillies and silver whiting have been good, with Carrum-Black Rock-Seaford region firing. Depths haven't mattered as much, with just a matter of sounding some nice marks to drop anchor on more important.

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

Well it's been a fairly slow start to the snapper season in Port Phillip Bay, as most would agree. The fish have been scattered and the bulk of the catches have been coming from the northern end of the bay between Altona deep and Brighton. Over the last week or so the fish have pushed a bit further south and the mud out off Carrum is starting to see a few more reports. As we reach the peak of the warm weather over the next week the reports should get better and better.

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been following the fish around a bit and while the top of the bay around P is still producing fish, there are more and more fish between Carrum - Black Rock every day. Most of James' captures over the last few days have been in the Aspendale 14 - 18m area through to 16m off Black Rock. Pilchards are proving ever reliable.


Customer Mark has also been finding the fish out from Carrum. Mark has had fish to 5kg over the past week, with depths of 12 - 18m all holding fish. Some of these groups haven't been feeding but once you find the right patch of fish pretty soon you'll know that they're feeding. Pillies again have been the go-to.