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 estuaries out along the east Gippsland coastline are fishing well at present. The holiday crowds have quietened off and water traffic is back to a minimum and the fish are eating. The Gippsland lakes themselves have been quiet however, with some rumoured blue-green algae present. Lake Tyers has been producing fish for anglers keen enough to be on the water early and late, and move about to find the fish. Customer Shane was down at Tyers just recently where he landed this ripper flathead that measured 92cm. The monster flattie took a 5'' prawn imitation, which needless to say Shane has stocked up on again.


The bream have been actively feeding around the margins of the lakes and creeks in the area, with shallow diving minnows and surface presentations getting the most consistent results. A common theme recently has been the use of brightly coloured lures to 'shock' the bream in to giving a 'reaction' bite. Where natural or ghost colour patterns may go unnoticed the brighter contrasting colours key in to the fishes inquisitive nature and the only way for them to test is by using their mouth!


Customer Ryan with some average Gippsland bream caught using small brightly coloured surface and subsurface lures, with overcast and slightly choppy conditions favoured as being the most productive.

 


The top end of Westernport has been getting fished a bit over the last week by anglers in search of whiting, and the whiting fishing has been a bit sporadic in the shallows - but there have been some nice flathead caught as bycatch. Most of the flathead caught around the whiting grounds tend to be sand flathead, but sometimes you will find a patch of tasty rock flathead as well. Staff member Chris fished with mate Jay out near Yaringa where they did catch both King George whiting and rock flathead. The rock flathead were good size and took baits intended for the whiting over thick weed beds in 4m of water. The same ground also produced school sized whiting.


Just over at Warneet, customer Sam caught a nice bag of whiting earlier in the week. Sam fished in 7m of water and found the start of the incoming tide the most productive time. Fish to 44cm took a mixture of baits including pipi, squid and cuttlefish. The 6 - 12m area seems to have been the more productive depth for the whiting at the moment, with most anglers concentrating in this zone. 

 


While there are still some crowds around the Gippsland lakes region, the fishing has been very good - especially if you can find a bit of quieter water. The whole region from Sale through Lakes Entrance and out towards Mallacoota near the NSW border has plenty on offer. Flathead, King George and sand whiting, luderick, bream, silver trevally, tailor, pinkies, salmon and prawns are all on offer at present if you're still out towards Lakes Entrance or thinking of heading down that way.

The beaches have been producing salmon and tailor around first and last light, with Eastern beach getting runs of fish to just over a kilo. The prawns have also been around in good numbers if you can find a quiet cove or bay to work, and we're currently just around the new moon so they should be easier to find. Cunninghame arm, North arm, Tambo bay and around Metung have all been good.


Customer Jordan has found lots of variety in his catch lately out towards Mallacoota. Jordan has been lure fishing with mostly 'crankbait' style hardbodies and surface pencils working the best, due to the large number of small 'school' sized king prawns in the estuaries. The sand whiting in particular have been really fixating on the surface lures when worked correctly, and most hits have turned into solid hookups after a few small modifications to terminal hardware. Big tailor to 60cm have also been blasting the surface offerings, along with deeper crankbaits worked through blue pockets and holes.

 


If you're not out chasing kingfish or they haven't been kind to you, the southern part of the bay has been producing some nice flathead, whiting and gummies.The good thing is that all of these species can be caught in fairly close proximity, with the flathead and whiting along the shallow banks and weed patches, and the gummies along the channel edges. Customer Yianni Damanakis landed this thuper flathead out from Portsea on pilly, and lost a similar size one at the boat also. There are some serious flathead in the southern parts of the bay!


The whiting have been patchy through southern PPB, but there are plenty around if you really target them and move about to find the active schools. Dromana through to Blairgowrie has been best in 3 - 7m of water out from the ledges and moorings. If you move too deep you will find yourself pestered by undersized pinkies, which will quickly decimate your bait supply. Fresh squid, pipi and mussle has been the go for the whiting. 


If all else fails or you want to get away from the jetskis which are prevalent throughout the shallows at this time of year, move out towards south channel or one of the adjacent smaller channels or gutters and you could find yourself tangling with some serious gummies. Fish to 20kg aren't uncommon throughout this area, and fresh fish baits such as salmon, trevally or mackerel will normally see you lure one in. Customer Chris has caught some nice eating size fish recently fishing the south channel with salmon out as bait.

 


Customer Hendrik is away holidaying with family along the mid northern NSW coastline between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, near South West Rocks. Hendrik has been doing some fishing both in the estuary and lower section of the Macleay river and also offshore using his Hobie kayak, and he has been catching lots of varieties of fish. Hendrik enjoys his lure fishing and in the river he has been catching good size dusky flathead and sand whiting using Zman and Bungee Bait grubs in the bloodworm colour. Around the river mouth and offshore he has been catching plenty of school mulloway, snapper and kingfish.


The most successful lure for the larger fish has been the 'Smash Squid' in UV lumo colour. In Hendrik's words they are 'lollies' to the fish. Hendrik has found a 1/8oz worm or weedless hook setup has been the most productive when cast around structure or cruising fish. 

 


It feels like at least half of Melbourne is away somewhere along the east gippsland or NSW south coast over the Christmas break, and rightly so - with this part of the country some of the best we've got (opinions may vary...). While the increase of angling pressure over this time does shut some of the fishing down there are still plenty of options for everyone, and generally always some fish to catch somewhere, no matter your skill level. Speaking of skill level, staff member Don is away along the south coast of NSW currently but as we expect, still getting a fish in. While not entirely a fishing holiday, Don has managed some time out to walk the local estuaries casting lures. Don has found bream, flathead, tailor, trevally and flounder taking a liking to his small hardbodies and plastics. Don said that he has been targeting the quieter sections of the estuaries away from boat and foot traffic and working slowly through an area, making sure the water is covered effectively.


Customer Jinsu has also been fishing along the east gippsland coastline in search of some decent flathead. Jinsu has well and truly got decent flathead covered with some smaller 35-50cm fish making it to the frypan, and this mega 90cm fish making its way back to the depths. Jinsu has found that 'squidgy' wriggler and paddle prawns along with 'bungee baits' paddletails doing all of the damage when slowly whipped along the estuary drop offs.

 

 

 

Well the story the past week on the whiting front from MOST people is that they have been fairly slow. The consistent reports of inconsistent fishing have been the word, but this should improve over the next week as we pass the moon. There have been anglers putting together bags of fish from their normal marks but the standout seems to have been the larger fish coming from the deeper water around the smaller tides. The quality of the fish coming from the deeper is generally always much better, and the bonus can come in the form of snapper and gummies, as most of the reports show.

Gawaine Blake has been getting some ripper whiting from the deep water around Cowes during the week, with genuine 50cm fish hitting the deck. The first hour of run in tide has been the most productive time, with squid strips the deadly bait.


Customers Zoran and Tony have been putting together numbers of whiting, in amongst pinkies, trevally, flathead and gummies by fishing deeper water. Generally you can get away with slightly larger hook and bait sizes in the deeper water as the whiting have less time to worry about picking at the baits as there are bigger mouths lurking around.

Customer Bart has been fishing up around Hastings for the whiting and has done ok considering the slower fishing. Bart has been working his way along the middle spit and tyabb banks to catch some nice whiting on pipi, with good numbers of squid coming from the same areas, following hooked whiting up to the boat. A fresh squid tentacle or strip has also helped bag the odd whiting too.

 

 


The lovely town of Noosa is quite popular for tourists and traveling fisherman alike, and with good reason. The Noosa river and surrounding offshore waters are host to a large array of species, with many southern and northern species mixing. Customer Vince travels here regularly and in his most recent visit found a good mix of species in the river. Vince was fishing the river from the shore using soft plastics to nail a couple of fish. A nice 52cm dusky flathead made it to the keeper bag, and a nice little diamond trevally went back to fight another day. Both fish were caught on Squidgy 90mm 'wriggler prawns' which are a very good representation of the local prawns that are common over the summer months.

 

The holiday crowds are starting to build along the eastern coast of the state in places like Lakes Entrance. Staff member Dylan fished with some mates down around lake on Monday. The plan was to catch a feed of prawns during the night then work the flats chasing flathead and maybe the odd bream during the day.

With the amount of people around the shallow flats were fickle, with fish still about but a lot of people weren't catching due to sitting in one spot for too long. Remembering that these areas are a dynamic environment and always changing and using a mobile approach can mean the difference between no fish or a bag of fish. Many of the smaller channels and gutters held schools of silver trevally along with dusky flathead to 57cm, with larger fish up to 80cm sighted. Soft plastics accounted for a couple, but with slightly milky coloured water hardbodied minnows really did the job when crashed into the mud and sand bottom. Lure like Jackall squirrels, Daiwa double clutches and Zerek tango shads all worked well, with high UV colours the absolute standouts.

While not a red hot session, the guys managed a decent catch of prawns around Lakes Entrance at night. The prawns weren't really running as such, but they were around in large enough numbers to be caught. A good quality headlamp and prawn light were essential in picking up on the prawns as they sat around patches of weed and rock, and a decent length net handle also helped heaps in collecting the prawns from the slightly deeper water.


Jinsu Park also caught a chunky sea mullet from Lake Tyers on a Zman soft plastic which gave a good account for itself.