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.

 


The bream fishing around Melbourne has started to heat up from the recent bit of rain we've had. The water had been very clear around the local estuaries and rivers and the fish were becoming flighty and a bit harder to trick. Now that there is a bit of colour to the water again, the fish feel a bit less vulnerable and have been going about feeding more actively and they haven't been as touchy on offerings.Customer Tony normally fishes the Patto regularly and his prediction was the fish were going to bite well this morning, and he was right. Tony fished earlier today to land 10 nice bream from 38 - 42cm. Tony fished small live freshwater yabbies on 10lb leader to land his fish, with a couple even busting him off on 10lb.


Customer Vis also fished the Patto recently with a mate, and using the same bait they landed a nice bag of bream. Vis was rapped with how successful the yabbies were when fished on the Gamakatsu 'C10U' stinger hook.


Customer Alex was down at the river during the week, before the rain where he found the fishing a bit slow. He landed some bream to 33cm and found the most productive time was about 5am as the tide was pushing in. With clear water he found the fish would bite delicately and drop the bait if any resistance was felt, with fine gauge hooks being the only way to pin them. Light leaders and almost no sinker weight was also key to getting the fish to mouth the baits for long enough to be hooked.

 

The bay has gotten a fair bit quieter over the last month with many anglers turning their attention towards whiting and gummies over in the other bay, but there still have been some nice snapper caught by anglers putting in the hard yards. Traditionally the main run of fish quieten off around Christmas, as water temperatures push up towards their optimal spawning temp range. As almost a direct opposite of what happens early season, the top end of the bay slows off, and the fish that are still actively feeding can be found further south around Mornington and Mt Martha. Customer Mick got a ripper fish just recently fishing down south.


For the guys out there still wanting to tangle with a few - the ideal locations to be looking at the moment are from Mt Eliza through to the Mt Martha spoil ground, and deep. Most of the fish being caught are in 18 - 22m, as this screenshot from earlier this week shows. The area was deep off Mornington, with good congregations of fish still keen to take baits like silver whiting and squid.

 


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.

 

The heavy rain that Melbourne experienced may have put fishing off the cards for a few days but it has breathed some life into the bay and it's estuaries. Bream, mullet and mulloway have responded well to the flush out the local systems have received. Staff member Dylan took advantage of the clearing water during the week and had an afternoon session chasing the bream on lures. After a slow start, about a dozen bream made their way into the net, with a variety of lures doing the damage. Some new hybrid wakebaits caught their fair share of fish along with soft plastics.


Dylan trialed the new 'biotough' squidgy soft plastic range and it is safe to say that they will be as deadly as the time tested standard range. A handful of nice fish scoffed the new biotough wriggler in UV bloodworm, including this 1.5kg plus model. Pop into the shop to check them out - they are a winner!


Customer Tony Conversano has also experienced some good local bream fishing during the week. Tony has been mixing up his baits to see what the fish are interested in at the time with prawn, mussel and freshwater yabbies all doing their bit. With dirty water conditions a light berley trail of 'snapper magnet' has helped dramatically, which consists of a prawn and mussel shell based scent.


The mulloway population have made their presence known after the rain also, with the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers producing some nice fish. Customer Jovan has caught fish to around 7kg using live mullet (and patience) after dark in the metro rivers.

 

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.

 

The recent clear weather we've been getting with fairly light winds and lack of rain has turned some of the normally more discoloured bream rivers and estuaries nice and clean. Many anglers are now seeing bream where they once couldn't, and targeting them as a result.

Customer Ange has been getting a few nice fish from some of the local piers, where they can be very tricky to catch. Super clear, shallow water and big skittish bream don't normally mix, but Ange has been landing some good fish. Long, light flurocarbon leaders and unweighted baits have been the only way to go.

Staff member George fished the Patto landbased just recently where he caught and released some nice school fish. While the water in the Patto hasn't been too bad, the warmer weather has brought on the thick weed growth that can plague the system. George found that split shot weighted baits were the best, after experimenting with different sinker sizes, and peeled prawn was also the most effective bait.

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 


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.