While the weather can be starting to get a little cold for some, land based fishing around Melbourne has it's options at the moment. In some cases you don't have to travel any more than about half an hour from the suburbs to get into some good fishing. Up towards the top end of the bay there have been some nice bream and pinkies moving about, with customer Robin having some good success in the city itself. Robin found plenty of small bream willing to attack baits along with some nice chunky an sized pinkies. Robin had a bit of fun on these fish on the light gear and in the 'upside down' river. 


Further down towards Black Rock customer Steve got a pleasant surprise when he hooked up to this ripper flathead from the beach. This beauty measured 63cm, not bad for from the shore! Around the piers on the Eastern seaboard there has been some good salmon fishing on the rougher days, with fish to 1kg reasonably common. Small soft plastics in natural whites and blues have been getting there attention, along with metal slugs in the same colours and occasionally bluebait and whitebait under a float. When the salmon haven't been around, there have also been reasonable numbers of garfish hanging about. Generally the calmer conditions have been more favourable for the gars, and once you have established a good quality fine berley trail you can normally pick up a few. Silverfish, prawn and maggots have been the go recently, with finely balanced floats ensuring that you can see any slight touch from the fish.


As the days slowly start to get longer here in Melbourne the one thing that is on many angler's minds in the crimson tide of snapper that have slowly started to infiltrate the bays. The fish that enter Port Phillip at this stage of the season are generally larger than that of typical school fish which appear a bit later in Spring. These fish are subtle feeders generally, and this coupled with colder water temperatures - especially compared to this time last year, can make them a bit more challenging to catch. At this stage of the season the fish generally don't eat as often compared to when the water is warmer, so that fish you've marked off Frankston might only eat every couple of days. In saying this, there will be another fish close by that will eat sooner - especially if your bait is A1 and you have paid attention to your rigging.  


James from Unreel Fishing Charters and mate Daniel have both been doing some early work out on the bay in search of a few reds and a couple of areas have held feeding fish. The Carrum area has been holding a few fish that have been responding to quality pilchards and also squid.


Customers Zoran and Ned have also been doing some early recon on the Port Phillip reds. The guys have been fishing the Chelsea/Carrum area and so far have found fish to around 4.5kg. Pilchards and squid have been good at the moment.


There have also been plenty of smaller pinkies hovering around many of the inshore reef areas lately as well. While a lot of the fish can be either undersize or smaller than 30cm there have also been pockets of better fish amongst them. The bigger fish tend to move about a bit more and not station themselves in one area of reef, but patrol the edges more frequently - and this is where to look for them. Small cut baits of pilchard and squid are deadly, but soft plastics also claim their fair share of fish. Small minnow patterns have been effective lately, especially when fished on reasonably light jigheads - for pinkies even in relatively deep water 1/4oz is the heaviest you'll need. Arm yourself with some 3'' minnow and curl tail/worm patterns and fish them around reef structure and you'll most likely come into contact with some fish like this.   

 

Although the last thing some people might about during the winter months of the year is landbased fishing - some of the best fishing from the shore can be had at this time of the year. The winter months can be interesting while fishing from the shore with some species preferring calm, stable weather and others fishing best during the roughest weather that we get. With the recent rough onshore weather that Melbourne has experienced there will be some snapper roaming about close to shore. Of course standing on the pier or rocks when it's 8C and facing a 20 knot westerly wind isn't always easy - but these are the sort of conditions when your chances are the best. Customer Tony fished recently after a big front and was successful in catching a ripper snapper from the shore. Needless to say the location isn't really rocket science, but it is more about picking the conditions to target these fish. Tony managed this ripper fish on some freshly caught squid pinned to a 5/0 Owner SSW hook, on 60lb leader.

If you'd prefer to fish from the pier when the conditions are a bit more friendly - then garfish are for you. These fish prefer less rough weather and have been pretty good this season from all of the normal haunts including Beaumaris, Mordi, Frankston, Seaford and Frankston piers. Customer Kozi fished Frankston pier recently and caught a few during the run in tide. Zealcol fine grit berley and silverfish worked the best for him. Staff member Don also got a good haul of gars recently further down towards Blairgowrie. Don found that maggots and silverfish both worked well but the key was definitely setting up a good quality berley trail to bring the fish in and keep them around.

Further down towards the bottom end of the bay the squid fishing has been good. Blairgowrie, Sorrento and Portsea piers have been producing quality squid both during the day and after dark. A good selection of jigs in the 3.0 - 3.5 size range is crucial down here, as colour/foil and running depth will determine whether you have a good day or a quiet day. Customer Kozi fished Portsea pier just recently and did well during the run out tide on size 3.0 Keimura jigs with red foil. Staff member Don also fished from the pier and caught some nice sized squid on red foil Haramitsu jigs in size 3.0 and 3.5.

 

Reports coming from Port Phillip Bay have been a bit quiet recently. There has been a run of snapper hanging around since the start of the rough 'winter' weather which has gotten a few anglers excited, but action close to home has been a bit quiet. The salmon have been showing up around some of the local piers like Frankston, Seaford and Mordi during a bit of onshore southwesterly chop. Baits of bluebait or whitebait have been good, along with small plastics and metal slugs.

Around the estuaries the bream have been touch and go with the recent rain and average weather. Baits of prawn and scrubworm have been tempting a few fish out of the Patterson River. The 'Patto' has also seen a couple of mulloway caught recently as well. Customer Ben managed 2 in a session recently using plastics, with the bigger fish measuring 80cm.

Over towards Altona customer Tony reports of some reasonable squid fishing in close, with size 3.0 jigs doing the damage. Tony also caught some nice sized flatties on strips of freshly caught squid out deep.

 

Reports from Port Phillip Bay have been quieter recently, and with the average Melbourne is now having it doesn't seem like much will change. The rough onshore weather has brought schools of salmon along the eastern side of the bay however, with Seaford, Frankston and Mordialloc piers all producing fish. Staff member Don went for a landbased session hopping between the piers and managed to get a heap of salmon and also couta on a mixture of lures including Yakamito Angry Baits and Squidgy plastics. The strong southwesterly winds make the fishing a bit difficult but the fish are there.

Down the bottom end of the bay the squid have been going well up until the recent rough weather. Mornington pier has been good fos amaller squid if you have the right jigs, and Portsea and Sorrento have also been good for larger squid. Customer Shane fished down the southern end of the bay recently to find some nice squid using green grass whiting pattern Yamashita jigs in size 3.5.

 

The bay has been fishing hot and cold for a mixture of species recently. Winter species like gars and salmon have started making an appearance, along with runs of mullet and the odd mulloway in the rivers. Customer Michael had another successful outing on the mulloway during the week, with a school sized fish taking a bait of fresh squid. Around the river mouths of the Patterson and Yarra there have also been schools of smaller sized salmon which are providing fun for anglers of all skill levels. Most of the salmon have been around 400g but there has been a few much bigger fish of 1.5kg+ caught from the same areas, along with the foreshore of Frankston and Mornington. Baits of bluebait and whitebait fished under a float have been effective, along with small metal lures and soft plastics. Customer Michael recently fished the mouth of the Patterson river with pearl white coloured Squidgy Flickbaits to land a heap.

 

The squid have still been active in the bay recently with some calmer weather. The southern end of the bay has still been where most of the action is, and the northern section of the bay should start to improve the further we get into winter. From Mornington south towards Portsea the fishing has been the best, with Sorrento and Portsea being hotspots at the moment. Customer Damien fished out from Sorrento around the 'Sisters' in 8m of water where good numbers of solid squid were caught on larger 3.5 size jigs. Aggressive colours like 'nemo' worked the best. Down at Portsea pier on the weekend, customer Nigel caught some nice squid on red foil based 3.5 and 3.0 sized jigs.

 

The top end of he bay has been overrun with small pinkies at present, from Williamstown through to Frankston. Virtually every section of reef has got loads of these ferocious fish on it. The main trouble has been getting through the small fish to the better size models underneath. The larger fish have been around 1 - 1.5kg and have been taking baits of pilchard, squid and saury. Customer Ryan fished for the pinkies from the piers over near Williamstown recently to land a heap using small soft plastics. Ryan found crab and worm imitations were the best when fished lightly weighted around the structure.

Further down around Seaford and Frankston there have been a few garfish caught from the shore. While numbers haven't been super, anglers specifically targeting them using maggots and silverfish have been getting a few. Fine grain berley has also been the key.

 

Down along the Peninsula the squid fishing has been good, with the piers and rocks both producing. Mornington, Blairgowrie and Sorrento piers have been fishing well for average sized squid. Mornington and Blairgowrie piers have been much better with small jigs in the 1.8 - 2.5 size range, with Sorrento fishing best on Yamashita 3.5D jigs in red foil and dark greens. Staff member Dylan fished from the rocks down near Mt Martha recently where squid to 1kg were caught using a mixture of 3.5 shallow and standard sink rates. Glow belly and dark green/black jigs were the best on the day.

 

The estuaries running into the bay have also been coughing up a few school sized mulloway for anglers putting in the time and effort recently. Most of the fish have been from 60 - 80cm, with a few bigger fish mixed in also. Live mullet, squid and even saury have been effective baits, along with soft plastics in the 3 - 5" size. Patterson River, Yarra and Maribyrnong have all seen some action of late. Customer John has been catching a few around the traps using mainly mullet for bait late during the night.

Down around the entrance/rip area the kingfish have been running hot. Anglers fishing live and dead baits, jigs, soft plastics and also trolled hardbodies have all caught fish - with the fish deciding on what they want on the day. Most of the fish caught have been around the legal size, with a few here and there pushing 10kg and some real thumpers at 12kg+ caught by persistent anglers trying all methods. Customer Edly went out and got into a few good fish out the front on a mixture of squid and also on the jigs just recently.  

 

The snapper reports have been a bit quiet this week out in the bay, but they are there for dedicated snapper anglers. While the weather is usually the determining factor, most of the fish have been caught in around 18m of water out from the Mornington area, which isn't too far from shore. This area right out to 24m has been producing snapper to 4.5kg on pilchard and squid. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching snapper to around the 4kg mark with customers during recent trips, and he has also found a few silver whiting out in the same areas. The whiting have been making excellent snapper bait in the same area as well.

 

In closer to shore around Mornington and Mt Eliza James has been catching good numbers or squid with customers, with most of them being excellent size for the area. James has found some of his old faithful size 3.0 jigs in natural/red foil and greens have been working very well.

 

One thing most anglers have noticed over the last year or so has been the lack of garfish being caught from the piers and rockwalls. A lot of regular pier fisherman have pretty much given up on fishing for them, as numbers just didn't seem to be around. Good news though, as the last month has seen some reasonable numbers of gars starting to come back. While they are not thick around the piers yet, many snapper anglers have reported catching large gars in their berley trails while targeting snapper - with some of the gars have been 40cm or bigger. Fine grit berley and size 12 - 14 narrow gaped hooks have been their undoing, with small pieces of squid or pilchard.

 

Staff member Kozi has been out giving the gars and other bait species a hiding from the shore between Frankston and Mornington. Kozi has caught garfish, tommy rough, salmon, scad and couta recently using a fine berley trail and small baits of pilchard, squid, silverfish and whitebait. The most effective berley has been the 'Pier and Jetty mix' from Zealcol - which is fine enough to attract all species but not feed them, so that they are still attracted to your baits. The rocks at Mornington and Mt Eliza have been good for Kozi.

Port Phillip Bay has really hit it's straps over the last few weeks on the snapper front. The temperature of the bay has risen to the hover around the same as bass strait and this is the trigger that really sets the snapper off. Over the last few weeks there have been fish caught all over the bay, from 10m through to 21m. At present the more consistent areas seem to be the 17 - 20m ground out from Mornington - Mordialloc, with the deeper parts out towards P2 in the north of the bay producing fish as well.

Baits of all sorts have been working with scad, whiting, saucy, cuttlefish, gar, salmon, couta, pilchard and squid all producing fish  - but that being said it is very wise to take a selection and definitely make sure there are some pillies and squid in that mix, along with pilchard and squid scented berley pellets. There have been too many fish caught to list each and every one, so from here on we will let the pictures do the talking.