While the average weather hasn't been super motivating for many forms of fishing, it's probably the best time of year to focus on simple bread and butter species around the bay. The many species on offer for angler at the moment are bream, garfish, salmon, pinkies and flathead. The best part of fishing for these species is that most of it can be done from the shore, kayak or in close in the boat. The current amount of freshwater washed into the bay has dirtied the water up and although this makes the water look very uninviting, the fish can normally bite better.


The bayside rivers and creeks have had a real good flush out and this has fired the bream up a lot over the last few weeks. The Patterson and Maribyrnong rivers have been producing some nice bream as more food is flushed around for them, and they have decreased sensitivity due to murky water. Customer Robin fished the Patto just recently and found a few nice bream near the mouth. Robin landed fish to 38cm on scrubworms fished on small whiting 'flasher' style rigs in 90 minutes of fishing.


The same area around the mouth of the Patto has also been producing salmon as they move up and back along the Eastern side of the bay. While they sometimes don't hang about for long, if the conditions are good the fish shouldn't be far away. Onshore winds and dirty water lines are good signs, especially if there are any baitfish schools about. Mordialloc through to Frankston is the region to look around through, with bluebait and whitebait the best baits. For the lure anglers, slim profile stickbaits and metal 'angry baits' have been effective in long casts into the wind, while small minnow soft plastics have also been catching fish once a bit of scent is added. Youngster James has been enjoying the salmon on soft plastics and lures with dad Chris when they can find a break in the weather.

Once the weather backs off a bit the garfish will come back on the chew. The same areas mentioned for the salmon have also been producing some good size gars when the wind hasn't been too strong. Onshore winds of 10 knots or less are generally what to look for when chasing the gars, and make sure you have heavily weighted and buoyant floats like the strada sliding floats. These floats are able to carry lots of lead for casting weight but will stay upright and alert you of any small gar bites very well.


The top end of the bay has also been producing some nice flathead in the shallows. The region from Port Melbourne through to around Sandringham has been the most productive stretch, will Atona bay another good spot to try. Staff member Dylan caught a bucket load during the calm weather trolling hardbodied lures from 90 - 130mm in size, with the best depths being around 2.5 - 3.5m of water. The rougher weather has seen many caught in even closer with the breakwalls and piers producing fish to around 42cm most days. If you're going to target a feed of flatties, make sure you lure or bait has got plenty of natural attraction and scent. Baits of small squid or squid heads have lots of movement in the rough water and might even score you some pinkies also. Small 'flutter jigs' are excellent for casting good distance as are soft hybrid vibes. The best lure choices are ones that the fish can find the easiest in the murky water, and gel or aerosol scents will increase their effectiveness 5:1.

 


When conditions allow, there have still been a few good snapper floating about both bays and they can still be caught. With rough conditions the landbased fisherman have an excellent chance of landing fish to 3kg from the rocks and piers. Port Phillip bay has been the better option for landbased snapper fishing, with Mt Martha, Brighton and Port Melbourne the shore based hot spots. Boat based anglers have a bit more freedom but sticking to these same areas has been the go, with pinkies from size to around 2kg feeding aggressively during and after rough onshore weather.

Customer Chris took his boat out for run during some recent calm weather, and had a fish straight out from Carrum. Chris managed a couple of bites and landed a nice winter snapper of around 3kg on pilchard. Chris also marked a few others nearby when he pulled up to anchor.


Across in westernport bay there are some nice winter reds around, especially if you're fishing the north-eastern section of the port. Probably the highest chance of a quality winter snapper would be this area from now until early August. The region between Joe's island and Corinella holds some excellent sized fish and is a far better chance for these fish than the rest of the port. Fishing baits of fresh squid or fish baits like mackerel or pike will give you a good chance. Customer Jamie landed a nice fish from the top end of he port just recently in some magic conditions. Fresh squid and a run off feeder channel led to the capture of the quality snapper.

 


While there hasn't been many anglers chasing them, the snapper continue out wide from Mornington and Mount Martha. When weather permits an early morning bite has been worth chasing from these fish, which have been averaging around 3kg. Customer Mark got out and had a crack at the fish recently and found some rippers to around 5kg. That first light bite was the go, out in depths of 20 - 22m off Mount Martha. Soft baits of pilchard and squid have been the go but a few anglers have also done well with whiting heads fished off snatcher style rigs.


Fishing out from the mussel farm off Mornington customer Lilong and mates managed a good haul of pinkies and school sized fish on soft plastics. Lilong was fishing jerkshad and worm style plastics, alternating between 1/8 and 1/4oz jigheads to suit the plastic and the depth. Bright UV colours in the worm patterns were excellent while natural whitebait and baitfish colours suited the jerkshads perfectly and got eaten on the drop most of the time. Lilong was using scent on his plastics with the Pro Cure garlic his chosen one.


While the depths of Mornington have been the consistent area for the fish, there have been plenty of smaler school sized fish roaming about in close. Customers Pete and Howard were fishing down in the Patto near the mouth when they landed pinkies to 57cm. Calm conditions and pilchard baits were the go, with a ravenous run of fish caught in the river and quite a few hanging around the artificial reef out from the river mouth.

 


If you're keen on snapper then you should be fishing the southern end of the bay at present. The fish continue to bite from Mornington down to the start of the south channel. The common size of these fish at the moment is around a couple of kilos with fish to 6kg a proper chance, and a good mix of pinkies amongst the bite. Fishing the deeper water from 19 - 22m has been the area, with there no real hot spots just a keen eye on your sounder and a good amount of cubed pilchard or pellet berley. Being at your spot before first light with a trail of berley and baits in the water is a must.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been putting customers on to some lovely fish around the Mt Eliza over the past week, with both pinkies and school snapper on the go. James has been working the deeper water from 19m and wider for the larger fish, while the inshore reef and nearby water has been producing heaps of smaller pinkies and school fish to 1kg or so. Pilchard and squid have both been good baits.


Further up the bay there have been plenty of pinkies hovering about the reef points, and large patches of fish moving around the open mud and sand. Between Mordialloc and Carrum there have been plenty of smaller sized pinkies to around 35cm. Customer Simon fished out from Carrum in 17m on the mud where he brought home a good score of size pinkies. Squid and small silver whiting were the go to baits.

 


While not the same rush as the months of October and November, Port Phillip has been producing a wave of snapper as they feed up and move out of the bay. There will continue to be some resident fish in the bay all year, but good sized schools have been found in the Mornington region at present. These fish have been caught in depths of 17 -21m out to the edge of the spoil ground. First light bites are consistent with fish at this time of year, and well worth the effort. Bill from Mornington recently landed fish to around 5.5kg on pilchard and silver whiting.


Among the larger fish there have been plenty of pinkie schools, both out on the mud and around the reef patches. While wading through the smaller fish can be painstaking there have been enough fish to just over a kilo if you are changing up baits and rigs to suit. The reefy areas of Mornington and Black Rock have been holding large numbers of fish but also larger numbers of undersize fish. Moving to the mud just off the reef and berleying lightly has been a good method of luring better fish to your baits. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been landing heaps of plate sized pinkies for customers by fishing just outside the reef areas with fresh squid and pilchard. If the smaller fish are getting the better of you, switching to harder baits such as whiting or yakka can drag out some bigger fish for you.

 


While reports have thinned off a little from Port Phillip, there is still plenty going on! The snapper have slowed off a little with their usual pre-xmas spawning movements, but there are still plenty of patches of fish to catch. The southern end of the bay seems to be the go at the moment, as the water temp is slightly lower and more conducive to a snapper bite.


Out from Mornington, customers aboard 'Relax, Go Fishing' charters have been getting some solid fish to around the 6kg mark throughout the week. Baits of silver whiting have been very effective along with squid, and a few fish taking the usual pilchard as well. The productive areas have been from Mt Eliza through to Mornington in 16-17-18m of water.


Out from Black Rock customer Adrian has been catching some nice fish to around 4.5kg on pillies. Adrian has been fishing around the reef edge in 9m and fishing pilchards. Using a strong berley trail of pilchard cubes has been the best way to keep the nearby fish interested, with a handful of cubes going in every 40 minutes or so. Customer Michael has been getting a few fish still out from Carrum also. Michael has been fishing nearby to the outer artificial reef in 18m and finding the odd fish around sunrise. Fresh squid has been Michael's preferred bait.


Customer Mick came into the store recently to set up some Port Phillip 'specific' gear. After realizing that some of his stuff was more suited to Western port Mick purchased a lighter outfit to tackle the finicky nature of Port Phillip's snapper. Very next session Mick was out and into fish to about 3.5kg, with long octopus tentacles getting the bites.

Down along the Peninsula there have been some squid caught from some of the piers. Dirtier water and winds have slowed things a bit but persistence and constant jig changes has been the way to piece a bag together. Staff member Don got down to Mornington and although conditions weren't super favourable he still managed a decent haul. Switching between rattle and non rattle 2.5 size jigs was the go, with UV colours and rattles getting bites before the other jigs.


At the bottom of the peninsula there has been some movement from the schooling kingfish. While not 'on fire' yet, there are fish around - and they are worth targeting. Friend of the shop Bruce fished around the heads and offshore towards Barwon over the weekend to get into a few school sized fish. Bruce's best tactic was to run a 'Fanasty squid' hardbody behind the boat and pin a long squid strip on a dropper behind the lure. The lure works to get the king's attention and the squid strip seals the deal.



 


At present, the snapper bite has been good but has also had some inconsistency over the last week or so. As water temperatures heat up more in about 2 weeks the fish should go off the bite as they spawn. At the moment though they are still being caught. Customer Sylvio has caught fish to 5kg fishing in close from Black Rock. Pilchards have been the best bait for him.


Customers Robbie and Matej have been fishing out from Mornington recently. The guys have been fishing in the 16m area and have been catching snapper to around the 4kg mark. Fishing with multiple baits, the best bite for them has been between 7:30 and 9:00 am. Hard baits have been fishing better, with silver whiting the standout.


Again around the 16m line customer Aaron has landed snapper to 4kg. Aaron has been fishing the Frankston/Mt Eliza region and has been using freshly caught squid to land his fish.


The Frankston area has been fishing quite well over the past week or so, with good numbers of fish holding in water between 15 - 18m. Customer Steve recently caught a few nice fish to 4.5kg out towards 18m. Customer Paul fished 16m off Frankston to land some crackers to around 6.5kg on silver whiting and pilchard, with the morning tide change more productive than dawn.


Friend of the shop Bruce and mates fished the arvo whiting bite at Queenscliff. Some thumping whiting were caught, with the best baits being pipi and squid. The key for these bigger whiting has been to present bigger baits which works best on slightly bigger hooks like Shogun black baitholders in size 2, on a Paternoster style rig.

 


Previous to whiting fishing, Bruce headed just offshore from Queenscliff in search of a kingfish. Large numbers of school snapper have been around and plaguing baits, but there have been some small kingfish caught around the rubble grounds. Fresh squid has been the go if you can get through the snapper. Gawaine Blake also headed out in search of a kingfish around the heads, and he wasn't disappointed with a couple of lovely fish landed. The time has come!


 


Port Phillip has still been seeing most of the snapper action of late, with some afternoon bites during the week along side the normal early morning feeding routine. The best bet is still to be out before light and  mark up some fish before setting anchor and berley, but if you're into fishing gentlemen's hours then you can still score a fish or two.

Captain Jack fished out from Patto recently to score a nice table sized snapper using a 'snapper snatcher'. Jack fished in 18m and baited up the snatcher with chunks of yakka.


Fishing out wider has been more effective the past week, with the bulk of the reports coming from 16m and deeper. Out from Mornington Captain Bill has been picking up fish to 5kg on pilly and silver whiting. Customer Zoran has also been landing fish early morning out wide from Seaford in 19m. Zoran has been finding silver whiting to be effective at the moment, and he has been berleying with 'snapper magnet' pellets to get the bite going.


Customer Damien has been marking a few fish up out in 19m also. Fishing out from Patto, Damien has been looking for active on the sounder just above the bottom, and sitting around these fish. Squid, pilchard and silver whiting have all been effective on fish to about 4kg.


Out from Seaford customer Mark has been finding some quality fish. Mark has landed fish to better than 6.5kg just earlier in the week, with silver whiting being the best bait. Just make sure to upsize your hooks if fishing larger, harder baits as the snapper's jaw power can roll smaller hooks back into the bait which will foul the hookup. 5/0 and 6/0 are minimum for baits like medium sized whiting and other baitfish.


There have been plenty of school sized fish about recently too, with pinky numbers fairly thick around the inshore and channel reefs. Customers Benny and Ryan fished out from Frankston during the week to land some nice table pinkies on pilchard. If smaller fish are present, pilchard halves or cubes on smaller 2/0 hooks are a much better way to hook up than using whole baits. Customer Dennis has also been finding good school sized fish this week. Dennies has been fishing out from Patto where the average fish has been around 3.5 - 4kg.


Dennis has been fishing with a few mates and has landed fish to 6.7kg, with the most productive depths still out from 16 - 18m. Marking fish on the sounder is fairly crucial as it can show you the mood and size of the fish, and whether to stop on them or not.

 


Port Phillip remains the number 1 choice for many anglers when it comes to catching snapper. It can be less daunting for anglers who haven't done as much snapper fishing as others, but can also get quite rough when strong winds rip up. This week we have had plenty of strong winds and rainfall which has kept all but the keenest anglers off the water, but it has really knocked the snapper bite up another gear.


Early in the week as the Southwesterly blow backed off the fish bit very well, with good numbers moving about and right up into the shallower murky water to feed. Customer Phil made the most of the bite and scored fish around the 6kg mark fishing out from Chelsea. Baits of squid and silver whiting were the most effective for him. Customer Bashir has also been capitalizing on the good bite since the rain with fish to 5kg coming from 13m of water out from Black Rock. Pilchard and gars have been the best baits for him.


Customer Dominic and mate Gary fished out wide from Mt Martha over early during the week to land some nice fish. The largest fish weighed just over 8.5kg and took silver whiting. The hard baits have been a definite preference for the snapper over the last few weeks, with silver whiting deadly. Other hard baits worth fishing have been small salmon or yakkas, with the pickers normally leaving these alone. Customer Sylvio fished out from Black Rock using silver whiting and pilchard over the weekend and reports fish to 5kg biting well around the 12m area.


Members of the Keysborough Angling Club fished Port Phillip recently and most anglers reported snapper back at the weigh in. The largest fish weighed around 4.5kg, with plenty more caught between the 1-4kg mark.


While the snapper are the main focus at the moment, there have been some nice King George Whiting caught around the southern end of the bay. Customer Michael fished around Tootgarook with mate Dominic and some nice solid were caught. Fishing around 6m of water was best, as the pinkies would take over in the deeper water. Pipi and fresh squid was also very successful, with the squid giving some substance to the bait when the pinkies were hassling eh whiting off the baits. The whiting should only improve from now on, with the Mt Martha-Rye-Blairgowrie region a good place to focus on.

 


Snapper reports from Port Phillip have been good over the last week, and with some heavy rain entering the bay and strong winds forecast things should fire again over the weekend. There have been fish spread out over the mud and in most corners of the bay now, so no real 'hot spots' to concentrate on. Customer Jacques hasn't done a heap of snapper fishing this season but he did get out over the weekend to land fish to 6.5kg out from Carrum. The 16m line was where Jacques found his fish.


Fishing the same depth out from Frankston, customers Jason and Damien scored fish to a similar size. After one of their fish didn't release well, Jason decided to jump in and swim it properly, which is dedication! The boys found smaller hooks and baits were the trick, with most of the fish hooking themselves properly.


Fish to 6kg aren't anything to complain about!


Around the Black Rock area there have been plenty of fish caught. The main sections of reef have been holding pinkies and larger fish along the perimeter. Customer Lev fished around the reef in 7m to land reds to 4kg. The fish bit well around 7pm as the light faded, and the most effective baits were live squid. Over near Mordialloc customer Ben caught a couple of nice 4kg fish on pillies as well.


Down around Mornington there have been reports of snapper also, from the shallow reef right out beyond the mussel farm. Customers Robbi and Matej fished out towards 12m and landed some good school fish to 2.5kg. The fish went well over a mid morning tide change and silver whiting chunks on snapper snatchers performed the best.


While fishing for snapper customer Ryan got a nice table sized gummy out from Mornington also. Ryan was fishing out in 18m with snapper on the mind, but that didn't stop the gummy from taking a piece of fresh red mullet fishing on the bottom. Gummies around the metre size aren't super common for Port Phillip, but if you're fishing fresh chunk baits you've always got a shot.