With some warm weather present over the past week, things have heated up on the snapper front. Both bays are producing quality fish with 4-5kg common. Another 3 weeks or so and things should be almost red hot, but there are fish out there ready to catch now! Bill from Mornington got out and scored a nice 4kg fish in 18m on pilly. The Mornington area has been well worth a shot especially out in the 18-22m area.


Customer Mana scored a ripper fish at 7.8kg out from Mornington also in 21m towards the channel. Mana caught the fish on pilchard and had to bring the fish via handlining method as the braid-spooled reel knocked into freespool and caused a massive knot which meant the fish had to be retrieved old school style!


Out in Westernport the fish have been going fairly well, but the hoards of anglers haven't flocked to many areas of the port just yet. The 'top end' is the place to be concentrating - with the area around Joe's Island attracting numbers of anglers and also producing some nice fish. The surrounding channels have been harbouring fish to 8kg, with many around the 5kg mark also. Customers Jason and Brent were fishing the area over the weekend and caught fish around the 5kg mark using freshly caught yakkas.


The deeper water out from Rhyll and Cowes has been holding some nice fish with some good gummies mixed in. Fishing in 18m of water around 'Silverleaves' is a pretty good way to connect to a nice fish at present. Customer Johnny has been landing fish to 6kg from the area on freshly caught squid. Silver whiting can be a good bait option here also and pilchards are just plain silly to forget also!


A bit further around towards Warneet there have also been some nice fish caught. The shoals of Bagge Harbour and Long Reef at Lysaughts have had fish to 8kg popping up, with the shallower areas producing the better fish. Customer Zac has been having fun on fish to 7.5kg out along the area between 8 and 15m. Pilchard, squid and pike have all accounted for fish this week.

 

 

The land based fishing around the bay has been good for quite a few different species lately, whether you're after some fresh baits or for some fresh fish for the dinner table. The salmon have been moving about, and while not as thick as they are during the cooler months there have still been enough about to normally get in to a few. Customer Brendan got into a heap at the mouth of the Patto recently on soft plastics. Brendan found that small paddle tail soft plastics under 3 inches were the most effective when fished on light jigheads.  During the calmer conditions the fish will push deeper and need to be fished with more finesse, and this is when plastics will outfish most other offerings.


Customer Frank also found some solid salmon fishing around Mornington. Frank again found small plastics the most effective when the other lures went quiet. Some of the salmon around the southern end of bay have been 1.5kg upwards. Around the same areas, especially inside the calmer harbours and coves the garfish have still been about. Not many anglers have been chasing them but some quality fish have been about. Staff member Don has been fishing for gars around Mornington and back to Frankston and he has seen some larger models. As usual, fine berley and very small pieces of silverfish have been the go - with size 14 hooks getting a lot more bites than bigger hooks.


Nearer to the ocean beaches, there have still some large salmon showing up. Beach fishing anglers have slowed off but there have been fish upwards of 3kg hanging around the gutters and headlands from Port Phillip heads down to Punchbowl. Customer Robin was fishing one of his usual areas around Phillip Island and found plenty of thick fish to 2.5kg. Bluebait fished on flasher style paternoster rigs with small squid skirts added got all the bites.


Around the shallower sections of the bay the flathead have starting moving in. Now is actually a good time to target these tasty fish as they push inshore and are hungry and hunting. There are a few species of flathead on offer for anglers also, with rock, sand and yank flathead all available. Customer Ryan found some nice rock flathead from the piers around the top end of the bay - with Brighton and St Kilda both productive. Small paddle tail plastics like the Megabass Hazedong Shads were super effective when fished on 1/8oz jigs. Staff member Dylan also good numbers of sand flathead to 41cm in close along the Seaford - Frankston area. 2.8'' ribbed style paddle tails accounted for every fish, with more than 30 fish caught in the space of a few hours.

 

 


The snapper reports are about to hit the next level around Melbourne, with rising water temperatures and more stable weather on their way. Westernport is still producing more fish if you're unsure where to fish, but port Phillip is also worth a fish if you want to stick to the bay. Customer Nathan fished the bay out from Mordi during the week to land a nice fish on plastics, with a 5 inch pilchard pattern doing the job. Squid scent on the plastic sealed the deal, with the real movement, look and smell of a real bait proving too much for the reds to resist. Make sure you have the correct tackle to fish soft plastics on the snapper, as many anglers still go fishless and frustrated after trying them on the incorrect gear.


Out in westernport the reds have been going well enough for the last few weeks, if you know where to look and how to tackle the port's current and bycatch. Customer Mario fished out from Corinella during the low light period into the night to land snapper to 6kg. Freshly caught squid was the ticket, with lighter tipped 'port Phillip' style rods perfect here in the shallower holes and along the mudflats.


The Corinella area has been a go-to area for angler unsure of where to look for snapper, as the water temperature stays a bit warmer than the rest of the bay with all the rock and mudflats exposed to the sun during low water. The region can produce some solid fish, with the odd '20lb' fish coming from the area each season. Heading south from Corinella the 'Corals' area can also produce some nice fish, but seems to fire a bit later in the season. Heading west, the deep water off Rhyll and Cowes is well worth fishing at present. The fish can school up in this deeper water here, and are regularly caught in 18 - 22m. Customer Mick fished this area over the weekend to land a few school fish and a nice 4kg model, along with a nice table sized gummy. Mick was fishing in 22m of water and caught everything on 'big eye' pilchards.

 


The snapper reports are starting to filter through, not that we have had ideal weather for many anglers to get out. The next 3 or so weeks will see an increase of anglers on the water as the AFL finishes up, so the bays will be a bit quieter traffic wise until then. There are still anglers getting out amongst the fish now though, as customer Chris has been. Chris has been fishing the top end of Westernport, which is known to be more productive early in the season. Chris was searching around for a larger fish in water where they are known to be caught at this time of year. A short 15 minutes after marking a good fish, Chris had a rod on and landed a cracker that weighed 9.1kg clean. The big fish was a sucker for a fresh bait near Joe's Island.

HOT SPOT: The top end of Westernport is the place to be. The area from Joe's Island around to Spit Point is a good area to be looking for a BIG snapper. The fish in the area will be grazing over the mudflats looking for crabs, mantis shrimp and whatever else they can find. While this area of the bay can seen a bit daunting with it's extensive 'high and dry' regions, if you plan your venture around a neap low tide you should be fine. Fresh baits are king here, with their scent trail wafting through the discoloured channels.

 


The local bream population had gone a bit quiet with the clear green water in most of the estuaries and lakes, and bream reports were quite low. The fish get cagey in the clean water and go off the bite a little bit, or regulate their feeding to low light times or when there is strong winds. With the recent small bit of rain we have received the fish lower their guard and bit a bit easy-'er' to tempt. Not that the weather mattered much to customer John. John and mate Bashir fished the Tambo river in Gippsland to land some nice clean bream. The guys found that live shrimp and fresh prawn were the most effective when fished along the river bank drop offs.


Back in the Patto, customer Tony has been catching a few nice fish. Tony has been fishing early morning around first light and this is when he has been catching most of his fish. Small live freshwater yabbies have been effective, but they must be fished on ultra-fine gauge hooks and light leader, with little or no sinker. The fish will sense if the yabby is impeded by a heavy hook, thick line and 'anchor' of a sinker stopping it from acting natural.


Customer Ange has also been catching a few bream in the Patto with some mates. The guys have been lurecasting from their kayaks, which off the ultimate stealth approach to these flighty fish. The most effective lures of late have been 'ned-rigged' soft plastics, and small slow sinking hardbodies. These lures are best fished with very small 'pops' of the rod tip to create a kick but not scare the fish. Most bites will come as the lure or plastic has stopped or settled on the bottom.

HOT SPOT: The Patto will continue to fish well after more rain this week, especially around the first flood gate. Just remember to scent up your lures and baits as the water turns murky.

 


The salmon have no signs of slowing up, whether you're on the ocean beaches or bayside around the piers and river mouths. September is normally a good time of year to be chasing them for prime snapper baits, as spring wind and rain keep them about. On the beach scene, Venus Bay is still the spot, with customer Mark still smashing the fish on bait and lure. Mark has said that this is the best salmon season he has had in the last few years at least.


A bit further down the road along the 90 mile beach customer Michael has been enjoying some quality salmon fishing. Michael came in store to stock up and decided to try out some 'bungee grubs' among flasher rigs and extra surf poppers, and he wasn't let down. Fishing in a local competition, Michael ended up taking out the title and gaining the attention from surrounding anglers when his huge salmon were landed on the grubs. Needless to say Michael was well and truly sold on the idea of plastics in the surf for the salmon, especially when they're crab-proof!


Around the local piers the salmon have been making their presence felt, with schools popping up left, right and center along the shores of the bay. Up towards the mouth of the Yarra the fish have been roaming about in the dirty water eating anything unfortunate to be in their path. The piers around the Williamstown esplanade have been producing fish to 1.5kg when fished with small, whitebait imitating soft plastics. Customer Lilong fished around the top end of the bay and over the other side across to Bawron to land fish just under 2kg on a mixture of metal jigs and hardbodies when conditions were windy, and soft plastics when the wind was down.


From the mouth of the Patterson river right down to Blairgowrie the salmon schools have been pushing baitfish right in close where they are being caught from shore. The fish from Carrum to Frankston have been on the smaller side averaging half a kilo, while down the southern end of the bay there have been some monsters caught. One of the larger fish we've heard of weighed a genuine 4kg! At this size they're serious opponents and will strain most muscles to aching point.

Customer Tony fished from Blairgowrie during the windier conditions last week to land fish up to about 2.5kg. Tony found that the fish were picky and only wanted baits fished back to them, with each fish coughing up berley to keep the rest around. Customer Jerome also fished the pier this week where he found some salmon to 2kg in amongst the moorings. The fish were actively cruising and ate small, baitfish imitating hardbodies and metal lures when a long cast was needed. Lures with pink/white patterns imitate the small prat and baitfish well. 

 

 


While it's still early days - there are snapper out there to be caught! The weather we have had over the past month hasn't helped any anglers to get out, but with some nice weather over the weekend the odd fish was caught. While the fish aren't and won't be red hot for a while, the chance of a better fish of 6-7kg is a greater, with larger fish a real possibility. These fish aren't as active as they will be once the water warms up, but they are certainly worth the effort.

Baits of freshly caught squid or pilchard are hard to beat early season, with the odd fish falling to a fresh flesh bait of mackerel or couta. Other options in tricking snapper are various lures. While many dismiss them as 'ineffective' they can be deadly - given that you've picked the right one for your scenario. While soft plastics are the most popular option, excellent early season offerings are deep running hardbodies and hybrid softvibes. Deep running trolled lures bring out the 'savage' nature of a snapper, with bone crushing and rod-jolting strikes. The advantage of slowly fishing a lure such as a softvibe along the bottom is that the snapper can hunt using their lateral line, with subtle vibrations coming from the lure imitating a small struggling baitfish or crustacean. Jarrod Day has found the softvibe option to be particularly effective early season on schooling reds.


Out in westernport the fish have been there for the taking. Customer Johnny got out for an early look around the upper reaches of westernport and was rewards with a nice 6kg fish for his efforts. Freshly caught squid was the bait of choice sitting shallow in the murky water.


Not too far away, customer Jo managed to land a lovely 6kg+ fish from a westernport back channel. The solid fish was caught not far from Elizabeth Island, and squid did the job.

So while we're just leaving winter, start getting organized for the snapper as the season will be here in full swing sooner than you know!

 


While the windy weather of late hasn't been great for the boat based fisherman wanting to get out in the bays, the local estuaries around the bay and further afield have been producing some good bream. The mixed freshwater in the local systems has stirred them up enough to get the fish fired up and give anglers a bit of cover. The Patto has been running hot with the bream of late, even though it hasn't been getting fished that much.

Customer Tony got down to the river recently and caught some nice sized fish among the canals. Tony was fishing small live freshwater yabbies on fine gauge hooks on light leader to fool fish up to 39cm. 


More anglers having success in the Patto have been using mixed techniques. Customer Tony fished the main river near the end boat ramps during the week to land bream to around 35cm. Tony was using shrimp and freshwater yabbies on a basic running sinker rig. The main river has been seeing a lot of attention for mullet fisherman of late, and a lot of the berley and commotion also brings the bream around for a feed.

Customer Jake has been landing some chunky fish on lures in the canals. Jake has been using a mixture of hardbodies and plastics to land the cunning fish, but his persistence and belief that the fish will eventually eat a lure is also a vital skill to employ on such tricky fish. If you're into your plastics and lure fishing, make sure you pop into the store and check out some of the new lures available.


Down the road the Gippsland lakes have been fishing hot-and-cold for the bream. Being such a large system, the fish can be at the complete opposite of where you're fishing - especially if you only fish a few locations. Generally at present most of the bream and lower in the systems, where they school up in preparation for spawning. They can be frustrating to tempt when in such a mood, but cycling through different lure and bait options will see you eventually gain success. Customer Paul was down in the lakes system recently and found the the fish were keyed onto his plastics, with the newest model UV loaded 'Squidgies' being the most effective.


In the same part of the world angler Pat got into some nice bream. Pat was fishing the 3 rivers out in the Gippsland lakes and caught his brace of fish on fresh sandworm.

 


Many land based anglers have been making the most of the pinkies lately with no shortage of excellent eating size fish about. Just about any pier, beach or rockwall along the eastern side of the bay with some reef nearby is worth having a look at, especially after a few days of strong westerly winds. Customer Steve has been getting a few around the traps with fish to 45cm pretty common place, and ideal for the plate!


Customer Kien has been making the most of the large numbers of pinkies that have been about over the winter. Kien has been fishing Victoria Harbour or the 'Docklands' for his fish, with many fish around 40cm landed and some larger up to 2.5kg. The most effective bait has been the humble pilchard, fished on a running rig. Heavier leader has been useful when fishing the harbour as there are many barnacle encrusted posts and objects for the fish to break off against.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been having some fun on the school sized pinkies out in the bay. James has found the numbers of nice table fish to be very good, with plenty of happy customers taking home a feed of fish. Most of the larger fish have been found out from the reef a bit further, as the big schools normally hold tight to the reef for cover. Having a quality sounder to locate the small patches of fish is vital, and once found smaller baits of pilchard and squid on 2/0 sized hooks have been deadly.

While it may not seem it yet, snapper season is just around the corner. There have already been some scattered reports of solid fish around towards the southern end of the bay. Most of the southern land based spots - Mornington Pier, Mt Martha Rocks will be worth fishing from now on - especially for a 'trophy' fish. Regardless the fish aren't far away, so it's the time to get your gear organized for the season.

 


Melbourne's rivers have been turned to coffee after the recent heavy rain. While not looking ideal for fishing, the local bream have been biting their heads off since the heavy rain started coming down.The Yarra and Patto have been producing fish for land based bait anglers. Both rivers have slightly cleaner water down under the dirtier fresh layer so that's where you need to be fishing. Lightly weighted rigs with a simple running sinker will produce fish, and it is worth stepping up your flurocarbon leader to around 8lb to prevent break offs on structure. The most productive baits have been scrubworms, freshwater yabbies and sometimes the humble prawn. Just be sure to pick your hook style and size accordingly, as in this example three different hook styles would be needed!


Customer Andrew has not long gotten back into his fishing and has been doing well on the bream down in the Patto. Andrew has been throwing a few lures around but has found while the water has been dirty that bait has been the go. Andrew has been fishing live freshwater yabbies on small 'C10U' hooks with very little weight to catch plenty of fish up to 35cm. This is one of the most successful methods for the Patto, so if you haven't tried this method give it a go!