Not that many people realize, but the snapper in the bay have been worth fishing for whether you're landbased or from the boat. Winter sees some snapper hang around, but many angler associate Spring with snapper fishing. At the moment there aren't as many fish about as in Spring, but they are generally good size and there to be caught in you're willing to target them. Many of the piers along the Eastern side of the bay have been worth a shot, with customer Kong claiming a nice 4kg fish for himself just a few nights ago from Mordi.


The piers with heavy reef nearby have been the go, as the fish will graze over the reef and onto the sand and mud nearby during rougher weather, especially during the night or low light periods. Piers worth a look at the moment have been; Mordialloc, Beaumaris, Black Rock, Brighton, Kerford Road and the multiple structures at Williamstown and right up into the Yarra itself. If boat fishing is more your thing, the extensive reef from Ricketts through to Brighton has been good, along with Victoria Harbour, or better known as 'Docklands'.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has recently been having a ball on school sized snapper and pinkies from Black Rock all the way north to the docks. James has gotten stuck into the schools of fish that have been hanging about in the harbour, with fish to 4kg coming out. Baits of fresh squid or small pilchards have been excellent when fished on smaller 2/0 suicide style hooks and very little weight.

 


While conditions have been favourable earlier during the week the squid fishing has been very good. Calm Autumn afternoons coupled with very good water clarity have had the squid going well around most of the local land based haunts. This time of the year the shallow mid-northern reef sections of Port Phillip tend to start firing as the water temperature cools down from it's Summer heat and that's where a few reports have been coming from. Most of these areas are quite shallow and littered with heavy coffee rock and reef, so picking the correct jig to suit is as important as having your rod with you.


Customer Ismail has been catching some nice squid from both Beaumaris and Black Rock jetties. Ismail has been fishing the Daiwa size 1.8 squid jigs and having success with them in these spots. These smaller more finesse jigs work well in shallow reefy areas because they tend to sink a bit slower than most small jigs, and their small profile can accurately represent the many small shrimp and baitfish on the reef. Just make sure to run a bit lighter leader strength when using these small jigs, as heavy leader can kill their 'dart' and action, and make the squid a lot less interested in them.


Staff member Dylan has been catching some squid from the shore of the bay. Dylan has been fishing around Brighton and has found some decent sized squid for the area. Dylan has been finding the late afternoon bite has been sporadic, but best around the top of the tide. Otherwise into the night the squid have been foraging over the shallow reef and sand, with one particular squid caught after casting to spraying baitfish almost right on the beach! The more productive jigs have been luminous or '490' glow Yamashita models with coloured overcloth, in size 2.5. Shallow sinking size 3.0 jigs have also caught a few the slightly smaller profile has been good when the bite is a bit slow.


From around the same area staff member George has been getting a few squid also. George has been using some larger jigs with good success but keeping them above the harsh reef can be tricky, especially if they sink a bit too fast for the area. Red foil and also natural yakka and baitfish patterns have been getting the bites, with a few larger models coming off the sand patches close by to the reef. A common theme with this form of rock squid fishing is changing jigs very often, so having them in an easy to reach squid bag is a must, along with quick-change spiral clips for effortless jig swapping in the dark.

 


While the reports haven't been coming in thick and fast, the land based action at this time of year can be excellent. Depending what you want to catch and how far you wish to travel, there are normally plenty of options.

Down along the shores of Westernport customers Matt and Brendan have been having fun with some nice table sized gummies. The areas such as Stockyard point and Tenby point have been good as has the Somers region. Freshly caught salmon, pike, yakka or squid has been excellent, otherwise pillies and frozen squid or cuttlefish have also been doing well with fish averaging around 4kg. Tides will depend on location you choose, as you won't be able to access some areas on high tides, others you will want to fish as the tide reaches it's peak.


The surf beaches have started producing some numbers of salmon, with no huge schools present at the moment but as always the larger fish seem to come through before the smaller school fish do. Peninsula beaches such as Gunnamatta and St Andrews have had some solid fish to just shy of 2kg, with early morning or late afternoon high tides the hot times. Bluebait and squid have been the best baits, but there have been a good number of fish caught on unbaited 'flasher' style rigs and surf poppers. Remember whenever you fish the beaches these types of rigs will stand out to the fish much easier than a normal rig, and increase your chances of a bite.

Customers Mark and Darren fished the beach down towards Venus bay, which has been producing better numbers of smaller school fish. The guys fished beach no.5 where they caught salmon to just under a kilo, and a couple of flatties to around 35cm. The guys found that bluebait and pipi were the best baits, with a number of fish taking the red surf popper also.


The pinkies have been fishing very well from most of the shore based locations around Port Phillip bay recently. The many rock groynes and points, along with the piers have had schools of fish anywhere from 25cm through to around 3kg. Fishing first or last light is the prime time to catch a few, but right through the night they have also been fairly active. First light has seen some better sized fish come through, with customer Sergio catching some lovely fish to nearly 2kg during the morning.


Sergio has been fishing a few different locations around the top end of the bay, with nearly all of them producing fish. He has been finding pilchard or salted mackerel fillets to be the best baits lately, with pinkies, flathead and small gummies all taking the same baits.

 

 

 

It seems squid fishing has been very popular over the last week, with people either catching them for quality baits or keeping them for a quality feed! Customer Tony fished out in Westernport recently for a mixed bag session but also did well on larger squid. Tony found that the killer jig for the day was a size 3.5 Yamashita in colour R35, which nailed most of his squid including some rippers well over 1kg.


Customer Ismail has been fishing with a few mates landbased around the bay as has been doing well on the squid. The guys have been concentrating around the Mordi - Black Rock area with good numbers of squid hitting the planks of the piers. The calm conditions have seen smaller jigs working best, with size 1.8's killing it at the moment. Most of the squid around this region tend to fish a bit better from Autumn into Winter so we should expect some good fishing yet still.


Customer Brendan has been doing well on the squid the past few weeks, but also managed some thumper cuttlefish. Over the last week there have been quite a few cuttlefish and octopus caught by anglers fishing deeper or over the thicker kelp beds in the southern areas of both bays. Brendan managed the big cuttlefish in 30m of water out from Flinders with heavily weighted jigs fished just above the reef and kelp. The most effective colour on these cuttlefish was a blue back/rainbow belly jig.


Another deepwater cephalopod capture this week was a great big octopus from customer Dennis. Dennis 'the menace' was fishing around the heavy kelp beds and reef around Portsea when his float rig went under. Fishing a normal bait, Dennis thought it was a fish of some sorts, but apon retrieval a great big octopus came up from the depths. After a few tense moments, the occy was in the boat and the story was revealed, a crab had tangled itself in the leader and the octopus grabbed it and hooked itself also!

 


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.

 


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.