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.

 


Snapper season is apon us! No, the fish aren't going red hot but they are out there to be caught! Water temperatures in the bay are hovering around 11.0 - 11.7C, so things are happening but not as mental as they will be! A few weeks of milder weather should start to run good and proper.

Captain Bill from Mornington snagged a nice fish around 4kg during the week fishing out wide off Mornington. There have been patches of fish sitting around 19 - 20m in this area as they come in.


The northern sections of the the bay have been producing snapper for keen anglers, as the water feeding from the Yarra brings a slight warmth to this end of the bay. Customers John and Bashir fished out from St Kilda during the week to land a few nice 5kg using fresh gars.

Across in westernport there have been a few fish caught in the normal 'early season' locations. The port holds a bit more warmth, especially in the north-eastern sections. Customers Johnny and Thao got out a few nights ago and braved the wind to score a nice fish from the top of the north arm around Yaringa. The boys fished in 11m of water and scored the fish on frozen squid.

HOT SPOT: If you're keen to try for a snapper either the top end of Port Phillip, 12 - 15m around St Kilda is worth a shot. For the westernport angler the northern Corinella mudflats are worth a good look. Stay under 11m. Squid and pilchard are the choice for early baits.

 

 

 


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!

 


The bread and butter species like gummy shark are an excellent option during the winter months, as you are able to catch them shore based in the bays, from the surf beaches, boat fishing the bays and also offshore. The best part about this style of fishing is you don't have to go overboard, for a landbased session a surf outfit of your choice is the way to go, along with a sturdy rod holder and enough tackle for the session. 

Staff member Dylan did just this last week, took to the the ocean beaches in search of a gummy or two. A nice gummy of around 7kg hit the sand during the first hour of the run in tide, and took a fillet of freshly caught grass whiting on a single 8/0 circle hook. Picking your preferred beach during the day can give you the advantage in spotting the more likely gutters and rips, and taking the guesswork out of your fishing.  Programs like Google earth can also help you identify similar features from the palm of your hand, but just be mindful that these conditions can change subtly between aerial shots.


If the boat fishing for gummies is more your thing, then the offshore fishing at the moment has been worth getting in to. The gummy fishing just offshore from Western Port has been exceptional, with much better average sized fish coming in. Among the gummy sharks, you will also have other species like snapper and flathead to keep you busy offshore, so you can really bring back a mixed bag at times.


Frogleys Offshore Victorian Rep Gerry took his new boat out for a spin last week in search of a gummy or two while offshore conditions were good and he wasn't disappointed. Gerry landed 2 lovely fish destined for the table using the lightweight Atomic Arrowz offshore model rods.

Customer Steve also got out offshore in the same region to land a nice fish just under 11kg. Steve fished a patch of reef that he normally tries for gummies and found multiple fish around it. Locally caught couta was the best bait for the day, which were thick mid water and easily catchable on small sabiki style rigs.

 


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.

 

 

 

There have been a few anglers making the most of the perfect autumn conditions out on the bays during the week, and even more so with a public holiday thrown in there too. While there hasn't been an endless supply of fish, there's plenty happening if you're out there giving it a crack. There has been a small run of excellent size Autumn snapper hanging around the bottom end of the port, and they've biting fairly well so that has had some guys out there hunting.


Customer Igor fished the port over the weekend and managed one of these lovely reds. Igor fished south of Stony Point and landed a ripper fish of 5.6kg on pilchard. An excellent fish caught in exceptional conditions!


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also bumped into a few similar sized snapper while fishing the southern half of the port. James has been fishing around some of the shallower mud beds in search of elephant sharks for his customers, and has hooked some big snapper as by-catch. Pilchards and fresh squid on smaller than usual hooks have caught snapper to over 6kg in water as shallow as 5m. The area around Elizabeth Island and 'The Corals' are good areas to look for these fish.


 

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 King George whiting have been receiving more attention over the past month or so as many anglers put away their heavier gear and go in search of these tasty and hard fighting estuary dwelling fish. While Port Phillip has been producing fish also, Westernport bay certainly holds the trophy for being the better whiting fishery. Most of the normal haunts have been producing fish, from the top end banks and channels right through to the back beaches and exposed ocean swell points.

Many anglers are pleased with the size of the whiting coming in, with many fish over 40cm a reasonably common occurrence at the moment. There have been some bigger fish above 45cm taken from the deep channel marks also, so there are plenty of areas worth targeting at the moment.

Customer Torpy got out on the whiting during the week north of Corinella where he landed fish to 47cm in length. Run out tide over a sou'westerly wind made for hard conditions but the fish bit well. Pipi and banana prawns were the best baits. 

Staff member Don fished with mate Sam earlier in the week out from Blind Bight to land fish into the low 40cm mark amongst leatherjacket, yakkas and flathead. The run out tide fished best for them along the middle spit with pipi/squid cocktail baits along with cuttlefish doing the job.

 


The snapper in Westernport Bay have moved about a bit and while the Corinella area has been quiet, reports coming from Stony Point through to the Corals have been good. The water temperature in this section of the port has become optimum for the snapper and they have been found in some larger schools.


Greg from Better Than Working charters has been having fun with clients out around the Corals area during the week. Most of the fish have been in the 3 - 5kg size range, and normally in good sized schools at this size. Full pilchard has been good in this area, with not as much tide to worry about over the large shallow mudflats and reef. 


Customer Daniel recently purchased a new Westernport snapper outfit and he has been out sorting out the snapper on it. Daniel has been pulling fish to 6kg fishing out from Stony Point using pilchard, squid and yakka. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been finding some nice fish in Westernport for his customers, with the deeper water around Rhyll holding good numbers of fish. Cut pilchards and cubes have been accounting for plenty of fish in the 2 - 4kg range in 17m of water. This area around Rhyll should fish well right through Christmas for this size fish.

 

Rain, hail or shine you can always try for a gummy! Unlike some other fish, gummies will hunt in murky tidal water with muddy rainwater mixed in. The gummy sharks' sense of smell is super sensitive also, so don't worry about how dirty the water is - a gummy will be able to find your bait, especially if it nice and oily. While most anglers have been wrapped up in snapper or whiting fishing of late, there have been plenty of nice table sized gummies to catch, especially in westernport.

Customer Barry was out earlier this week where had some mixed bag fishing, including this nice table sized fish from around the southern side of French Island. Fresh yakka and squid were the better baits in the milky water. Customer Daniel fished a bit further out around the Western Entrance in 30m where he landed a lovely eating size gummy on fresh salmon.