As the days slowly start to get longer here in Melbourne the one thing that is on many angler's minds in the crimson tide of snapper that have slowly started to infiltrate the bays. The fish that enter Port Phillip at this stage of the season are generally larger than that of typical school fish which appear a bit later in Spring. These fish are subtle feeders generally, and this coupled with colder water temperatures - especially compared to this time last year, can make them a bit more challenging to catch. At this stage of the season the fish generally don't eat as often compared to when the water is warmer, so that fish you've marked off Frankston might only eat every couple of days. In saying this, there will be another fish close by that will eat sooner - especially if your bait is A1 and you have paid attention to your rigging.  


James from Unreel Fishing Charters and mate Daniel have both been doing some early work out on the bay in search of a few reds and a couple of areas have held feeding fish. The Carrum area has been holding a few fish that have been responding to quality pilchards and also squid.


Customers Zoran and Ned have also been doing some early recon on the Port Phillip reds. The guys have been fishing the Chelsea/Carrum area and so far have found fish to around 4.5kg. Pilchards and squid have been good at the moment.


There have also been plenty of smaller pinkies hovering around many of the inshore reef areas lately as well. While a lot of the fish can be either undersize or smaller than 30cm there have also been pockets of better fish amongst them. The bigger fish tend to move about a bit more and not station themselves in one area of reef, but patrol the edges more frequently - and this is where to look for them. Small cut baits of pilchard and squid are deadly, but soft plastics also claim their fair share of fish. Small minnow patterns have been effective lately, especially when fished on reasonably light jigheads - for pinkies even in relatively deep water 1/4oz is the heaviest you'll need. Arm yourself with some 3'' minnow and curl tail/worm patterns and fish them around reef structure and you'll most likely come into contact with some fish like this.   

 

Reports coming from Port Phillip Bay have been a bit quiet recently. There has been a run of snapper hanging around since the start of the rough 'winter' weather which has gotten a few anglers excited, but action close to home has been a bit quiet. The salmon have been showing up around some of the local piers like Frankston, Seaford and Mordi during a bit of onshore southwesterly chop. Baits of bluebait or whitebait have been good, along with small plastics and metal slugs.

Around the estuaries the bream have been touch and go with the recent rain and average weather. Baits of prawn and scrubworm have been tempting a few fish out of the Patterson River. The 'Patto' has also seen a couple of mulloway caught recently as well. Customer Ben managed 2 in a session recently using plastics, with the bigger fish measuring 80cm.

Over towards Altona customer Tony reports of some reasonable squid fishing in close, with size 3.0 jigs doing the damage. Tony also caught some nice sized flatties on strips of freshly caught squid out deep.

 

Reports from Port Phillip Bay have been quieter recently, and with the average Melbourne is now having it doesn't seem like much will change. The rough onshore weather has brought schools of salmon along the eastern side of the bay however, with Seaford, Frankston and Mordialloc piers all producing fish. Staff member Don went for a landbased session hopping between the piers and managed to get a heap of salmon and also couta on a mixture of lures including Yakamito Angry Baits and Squidgy plastics. The strong southwesterly winds make the fishing a bit difficult but the fish are there.

Down the bottom end of the bay the squid have been going well up until the recent rough weather. Mornington pier has been good fos amaller squid if you have the right jigs, and Portsea and Sorrento have also been good for larger squid. Customer Shane fished down the southern end of the bay recently to find some nice squid using green grass whiting pattern Yamashita jigs in size 3.5.

Port Phillip has had mixed fishing recently. With on and off weather, the reports have also been the same. Most of the late afternoons have been calm and cool, which has been perfect for some squid fishing. Customer Stefan fished down near Blairgowrie recently to land some nice squid from the shore. Gold based/orange cloth jigs worked the best for him, and he was lucky to bring a landing net as the squid were larger than he was expecting. Customer Cass fished for squid recently out near Werribee during the week to land a good bag of big squid. Cass fished in 3 - 4m of water and found that Keimura jigs in UV white and purple/gold were the best of the bunch for him. The hottest bite occurred about an hour before sunset.

While the squid reports have been good, the larger predators around the bay have also been active recently. There have been a few nice mulloway floating about in the bay and also areas like the Yarra, Werribee and Patterson rivers. Most of the fish have been in the 65 - 85cm size, with a few larger fish around a metre/10kg to be caught. Live mullet and freshly caught squid have been the most effective, with the odd fish taking pilchard and saury. Lure anglers fishing soft plastics and hardbodies have also been catching the odd fish as well. Customer Tuan was fishing the Yarra river last week when he hooked this nice mulloway on pilchard. This fish of 75cm is about average size for school fish around Melbourne at the minute.

 

The bay has been fishing hot and cold for a mixture of species recently. Winter species like gars and salmon have started making an appearance, along with runs of mullet and the odd mulloway in the rivers. Customer Michael had another successful outing on the mulloway during the week, with a school sized fish taking a bait of fresh squid. Around the river mouths of the Patterson and Yarra there have also been schools of smaller sized salmon which are providing fun for anglers of all skill levels. Most of the salmon have been around 400g but there has been a few much bigger fish of 1.5kg+ caught from the same areas, along with the foreshore of Frankston and Mornington. Baits of bluebait and whitebait fished under a float have been effective, along with small metal lures and soft plastics. Customer Michael recently fished the mouth of the Patterson river with pearl white coloured Squidgy Flickbaits to land a heap.

 

The squid have still been active in the bay recently with some calmer weather. The southern end of the bay has still been where most of the action is, and the northern section of the bay should start to improve the further we get into winter. From Mornington south towards Portsea the fishing has been the best, with Sorrento and Portsea being hotspots at the moment. Customer Damien fished out from Sorrento around the 'Sisters' in 8m of water where good numbers of solid squid were caught on larger 3.5 size jigs. Aggressive colours like 'nemo' worked the best. Down at Portsea pier on the weekend, customer Nigel caught some nice squid on red foil based 3.5 and 3.0 sized jigs.

 

The local land based fishing has been quite good at the moment, with most bread and butter estuary species on offer. In the Yarra, Maribyrnong, Werribee and Patterson rivers there has been god numbers of mullet to be caught, with the size ranging from 15 - 35cm. Small floats and fine grit berley are the key to success on these species. There has also been some nice bream being caught by both bait and lure anglers. Cutsomer Brendan has been killing some time down in the river fishing small soft plastics in search of a bream or two. Brendan was casting a small lightly weighted Zman grub from the shore and landed a nice chunky bream of 35cm. Brendan was rapt as he had been spending some time targeting the bream with lures and finally broke the duck.

 

The odd mulloway has also been caught by dedicated anglers fishing for them in the local estuaries. Customer Adrian had some success with a school sized fish caught towards the end of the river on a live mullet. These fish do take a bit of time and patience to work out, but the rewards are there for anglers doing so.

The metro bream fishing has been good recently, as the water temperature starts to cool off the fish generally start to bite a bit better. Autumn and winter can produce some good bream fishing amongst the wind and rain. Patterson Lakes local Jayden has been fishing for the bream from his yard again recently, and he has again been catching some decent fish. Jayden fished at night recently from the pontoon using baits to land a couple of chunky bream to 43cm.

Further up the bay, customer Ryan has been fishing the docklands area in the search for some larger bream. Ryan normally lure fishes but recently has tried his luck using some different baits, with local crab being good. Ryan found that small circle hooks and lightly weighted baits have been the difference between no fish and a few good fish. Speaking of crabs...


Most bream anglers would be aware of the 'Cranka Crab' hybrid lure. After a long wait, we have finally received another shipment of these effective lures. If you have been thinking about trying them, best advice is to stop by and grab a couple while stocks last....

 

The top end of he bay has been overrun with small pinkies at present, from Williamstown through to Frankston. Virtually every section of reef has got loads of these ferocious fish on it. The main trouble has been getting through the small fish to the better size models underneath. The larger fish have been around 1 - 1.5kg and have been taking baits of pilchard, squid and saury. Customer Ryan fished for the pinkies from the piers over near Williamstown recently to land a heap using small soft plastics. Ryan found crab and worm imitations were the best when fished lightly weighted around the structure.

Further down around Seaford and Frankston there have been a few garfish caught from the shore. While numbers haven't been super, anglers specifically targeting them using maggots and silverfish have been getting a few. Fine grain berley has also been the key.

 

Down along the Peninsula the squid fishing has been good, with the piers and rocks both producing. Mornington, Blairgowrie and Sorrento piers have been fishing well for average sized squid. Mornington and Blairgowrie piers have been much better with small jigs in the 1.8 - 2.5 size range, with Sorrento fishing best on Yamashita 3.5D jigs in red foil and dark greens. Staff member Dylan fished from the rocks down near Mt Martha recently where squid to 1kg were caught using a mixture of 3.5 shallow and standard sink rates. Glow belly and dark green/black jigs were the best on the day.

 

The estuaries running into the bay have also been coughing up a few school sized mulloway for anglers putting in the time and effort recently. Most of the fish have been from 60 - 80cm, with a few bigger fish mixed in also. Live mullet, squid and even saury have been effective baits, along with soft plastics in the 3 - 5" size. Patterson River, Yarra and Maribyrnong have all seen some action of late. Customer John has been catching a few around the traps using mainly mullet for bait late during the night.

Down around the entrance/rip area the kingfish have been running hot. Anglers fishing live and dead baits, jigs, soft plastics and also trolled hardbodies have all caught fish - with the fish deciding on what they want on the day. Most of the fish caught have been around the legal size, with a few here and there pushing 10kg and some real thumpers at 12kg+ caught by persistent anglers trying all methods. Customer Edly went out and got into a few good fish out the front on a mixture of squid and also on the jigs just recently.  

 

Around the bay there has been some ok action for light tackle fisherman. The bream fishing has been reasonable in most of the rivers, with Werribee and Patto producing a few nice fish. Staff member Dylan fished a few of the rivers landbased recently throwing lures around to try and connect with a few bream, and while the fish weren't huge they were still good fun on small hardbodies. Small freshwater yabbies and scrubworms have also been good on the local bream also.  Young gun Kozi fished Patto recently with bait to land a stack of bream to around mid 30cm size also.

 

Down on Mornington pier there has been a few options to keep most anglers happy. The squid have been on and off, but persistence after dark with small jigs up to size 2.0 will see you land a few. Colours to try have been UV pink/orange and also natural gold and silver foils. Kozi fished off the pier recently to land squid on natural gold and brown jigs in size 2.5 and 2.0.

 

Inside the harbour there have also been schools of yakkas, couta and mullet to be caught as well. Baitfishing with small sliding floats and a fine grit berley trail has been the most productive method, however the yakkas and couta can be caught casting small soft plastics and lures. Small single tail grubs like Zman and Squidgy have been effective when fished lightly weighted.

 

The snapper reports from out in Port Phillip have been very slow the last few weeks and while there are still anglers getting amongst them, most people aren't. The majority of fish being caught have come from out wide in 20 - 23m of water. The shallows have been very quiet with only the odd fish caught.

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has really been putting in the hard yards to get some snapper for his customers, and while the fishing hasn't been easy he has managed to get a few nice fish. James has had to move around a lot to find his fish and as a result he has burnt a lot of fuel. In covering a lot of water he has found small patches of fish and normally once a bit of berley has gone in a few have come on the bite. He has found most of the better fish out deep at the moment - with a lot of smaller pinkies in the mix.