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.

 

The top end of Westernport Bay has been producing some quality snapper for anglers persisting with the area. While this area normally fires up earlier than Port Phillip for instance - the fish are never sure fire and still require patience and persistence. These early season top end fish are generally between 5 - 8kg but more often than not are quite timid in how they bite. Very rarely will a heavy Westernport-type rod buckle on one of these fish. Soft tipped rods are the go for early season fish, as they are much better at detecting subtle takes from the fish. Fresh baits of squid, pike, yakka and couta are excellent starting points for the top end as well a subtle berley trail of cubed pilchards to entice them.

Customer Tony recently purchased a swag of Westernport outfits and got to christen them just earlier this week while fishing with a friend near Joe's Island. Tony was using freshly caught squid cut into 'onion ring' style baits pinned on 5/0 Owner hooks when he pinned this nice fish. Tony did mention that the bite from this fish was very subtle and not noticeable unless using a rod with a fairly soft tip.


Customer Michael also had a look around the top end of the port in search of an early season red, and he wasn't disappointed with the fish that he found. Michael fished around the Corinella region and got onto 2 nice snapper along a channel edge. Baits of fresh squid did the job, and also tempted a nice table sized gummy as well.

 



There has been a decent winter run of snapper in Westernport Bay since Melbourne had some proper rough winter weather a few weeks back. Not long had this weather started and snapper were being caught from a few land based spots as well as by anglers in boats. The fish have also been fairly well spread out, with reports coming from the top end of the port, right down to the fast eastern sections. Customers Chez and Adrian got out on the port recently and did well catching some nice winter fish to 7kg. The boys were fishing over in the eastern arm and using fresh squid to tempt these reds.

 

Customers Andrew and Ben have also had some success on the good sized winter fish in the port as well. Andrew was fishing towards Corinella when he landed fish between 5kg and 8kg. Squid heads and strips were the most effective baits. Customer Ben fished the shallows of the top end of the port during the night recently to land snapper to 7kg. Ben found that fresh squid was the gun bait.

 

On the squid scene, reports have been good during slightly calmer weather. The shallow areas along Tyabb, Quail and Stony banks fished well during low wind and low light times. Rough, churned up banks have forced the squid a bit deeper off the edges, and they can still be caught in depths of 5 - 7m. Customer Jarrad fished the Tyabb area between 2 - 5m of water to catch some good squid on the drift. Early morning produced some on baited jigs, and once the sun got up red foil size 3.5 Yamashita jigs did well. The biggest hood length measured 40cm which took the Yamashita jig. Customer Ben also fished in the Tyabb area for a good bag of squid taken on size 3.5 jigs during the week.

Whiting reports have slowed right down, with the odd angler catching some respectable fish but definitely not in the summer numbers. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been putting together some nice bags of fish for customers, with whiting averaging the 38cm size taking fresh squid and pipi. Along some of the deeper, more reefy sections that James has been fishing he has also pulled up the odd nice size cray.

 

Westernport bay has been producing lots of elephants and pinkies recently, along with a few table sized gummies. The elephant fish have been fairly thick throughout the 'triangle' over the last few weeks, with fish to 5kg being caught. Customer Shane fished out from Tortoise Head recently and caught a couple of good sized fish in 8m of water. The most effective bait on them was fresh squid.

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching a few elephants with customers out between Tortoise Head and Rhyll, with baits of pilchard, squid and pipi being the most effective when fished on a sliding sinker rig. Depths of 7 - 14m over mud and broken ground have been good for the elephants, with the odd gummy finding a bait as well. Some customers have even been catching the odd elephant from the pier at Rhyll.

On the pinky front, most of the 'normal' areas where anglers would target snapper and pinkies have been loaded with fish in the 25 - 35cm size. There have however been some much better fish getting close to 2kg mixed in with the smaller fish. The trick has been to fish a larger, tougher bait that the smaller fish can't rip off the hook in 5 seconds flat, which will give the bigger fish a chance to get to it, and also fit it in their mouth. Baits of squid, salmon and couta have been good when targeting these larger school sized fish. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has caught some nice ones mixed in with smaller fish and elephants recently, which none of his customers have been complaining about!

 

 

Westernport's murky depths have been producing some nice bread and butter options for anglers at the moment. Squid reports are still filtering through and some crackers have been caught, like customer Lee found out. Lee was fishing along Tyabb bank using artificial and baited jigs to catch some chunky specimens. Out of all the cast and retrieve jigs, this red and pink combo Haramitsu did the most damage.

Along the same area, customer Zach did well on the squid recently. Zach found some solid squid in very shallow water and he ended up with his bag by using baited jigs with fish such as silver whiting and mullet. Speaking of mullet, customer Zach also did well on some nice mullet over at Corinella. Zach found that a constant berley trail around the shallower end of the pier kept the fish hanging around, and small pieces of pilchard fillet were the gun bait.

Reports of whiting have still been floating about, with the dedicated anglers catching some solid fish. Bags of 10+ fish have been common, with lots of fish in the 39-40cm+ size around. Bites have been a bit slower and more moving than usual can be needed to keep finding the fish. Baits of pipi, mussel, squid, pilchard and cured nippers have all been good, with a mixture of these baits normally working at any given time. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching good numbers with customers recently around areas like Tankerton and Tortoise Head. 

 

 

Westernport Bay has experienced a normal Autumn run of elephant fish and although they have been relatively quiet last year, numbers are better so far this season. Many anglers crossing over between whiting and gummy water have found the elephants, as this is prime territory for them. Water in the 5 - 10m depth along the edge of grassbeds seems to be a very good place to start. If in doubt, head to the 'elephant triangle' which is the open water section triangulating from Rhyll to Tortoise Head to Settlement Point at Corinella. This area is generally silt and sand mixed with small patches of grass and rubble, and is thought to be the main spawning ground.

James from Unreel FIshing Charters has been taking clients out in search of some elephant fish in the port, and he has been saying that the fishing for them has been good. James has been moving around the 'triangle' to finds the schools, and has found baits of fresh squid and pipi have been the best. Anglers fishing whiting type gear and rigs with a heavier 30lb fluorocarbon leader and 2/0 circle pattern hook have been the most successful. The heavier leader is to prevent the elephants' sharp dorsal spike from busting the lighter line as they thrash around. Customers Jarrod and Andrew fished from the shores of the port just recently in search of a gummy. The boys fished around the Lang Lang area and while no gummies were caught they did get amongst a few elephants, along with most other anglers. The most successful baits for the guys were small chunks of pilchard.

On the gummy front, calm Autumn conditions have had anglers making the most of the weather and good fishing. Gummies in the 5 - 8kg table size have been common along most of the channel edges and potholes, with a few larger fish further south towards the western entrance. Baits of fresh trevally, yakka, squid and salmon have been the most effective. Customer Will from the Hard Yards Fishing Club fished in search of a gummy recently and caught this nice table fish on a fillet of fresh couta.

 

 

As usual, Westernport has turned on it's normal mixed bag fishing leading into Autumn. Customer John took youngsters Frankie and Lara out on the port recently and had a hot session on the King George whiting fishing around Tortoise Head and Tankerton. Fishing in 4m of water with Whiting Snatcher type rigs and pieces of pipi/squid combo the guys had a ball on school sized whiting.

 

Staff member Don got into the whiting during the week out from the Middle Spit using pipi and fresh squid. Fishing slightly deeper off the banks, Don managed some nice size fish. Pre-mixed frozen scallop mix berley also did the job of keeping the feeding fish around the boat. Customer Robin fished from the shore of the port during the week. Robin did well on some nice chunky whiting and also trevally around first light, with pipi and californian squid cocktail baits doing the damage. Robin fished KL 1/0 circle hooks on his droppers to ensure the hooked fish stayed hooked.

Out in the shallows of the port, customer Zach has been doing well on nice size garfish. Some of the larger models have been trickier to catch, but a fine grit 'Pier and Jetty' berley mix has ensured that they hang around for a bit longer.

Customer Andrew has been doing well on the pinkies and school sized snapper over near Corinella recently. Andrew has been fishing small potholes and drop offs using fresh baits of trevally and squid heads, where he has landed fish to 2.5kg.

 

The typical Westernport size gummies have been on the bite recently, as James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been finding out. James has been getting good numbers of table sized fish for customers, with lots in the 6 - 8kg size. Small baits of squid, trevally and salmon have been the best when presented along the bottom of the banks out from Stony Point and Hastings.