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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.  

 

There are plenty of light line options for family anglers fishing from the shoreline and piers over the Christmas break, not all fishing needs to be done out of an expensive boat. For anglers wanting to head out somewhere close to home, most of the piers along the Eastern side of Port Phillip have been producing a few different species. Provided you take some light outfits and berley along, you can have a bit of fun.

The main species on offer using these methods will be; squid, bream, trevally, salmon, yakkas, garfish and couta. The bream fishing in the Patterson and Maribyrnong Rivers has been good over the last week with some nice fish being caught. Customer Peter fished the Patto using yabbies and scrubworms to catch a few bream to 32cm. Small 'shiner' style hooks fished on 4lb fluorocarbon and a split shot have been a very effective way to catch these fish.

Down at Mornington pier there have been a few light line options for anglers, with mullet, salmon, yakkas and couta all on the go. A slow release berley mix like the pier and jetty mix is vital for targeting these fish, if you want to catch more that just the odd one. Staff member Dylan fished from the pier during the week to collect some baits and caught yakkas, garfish, tommy rough and couta using this berley mixture, along with delicately weighted float set ups.

 

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.

While a lot of fisherman zoom straight out to the deepest water they can find, there is also some quality fishing to be found in the shallower sections of the bay. Customer Angelo and mates went for a walk throughout some of the shallow water across near Geelong last week where they came up with some lovely flounder, sole and flathead. Garfish and salmon were also seen in the area. Angelo said that water up to chest deep was productive. 

If you're going to give this style of fishing a shot, invest in a good quality LED light. The Perfect Image CREE LED Prawn lights are one of the better lights out there, as they emit a bright light for floundering and prawning while drawing very little power, and these lights take AA batteries straight into the handle - no more dragging batteries around in the water. 

In the shallows over around Frankston there have been a few gars showing up. The gars aren't super thick in numbers but they have been decent size. Customer Ronnie reported catching a good bag of them from the pier during the week, with silverfish being the better bait. There have also been plenty of salmon around the area, and usually if the gars are on then the salmon won't be around. Working between Oliver's Hill and Mordialloc will usually see you find the salmon somewhere in between. Bluebait and salted whitebait fished deep under a float has been effective, and for the lure casters River2Sea sea rocks in 14 - 40g have been the best. Most colours are working but whites and blues are hard to beat, just remember to retrofit them with in-line single hooks. 

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been putting customers on to some lovely whiting in the top end of the Port over the last week or so, with many anglers catching fish in the 40cm size bracket. A lot of whiting caught at the minute are falling between 33 - 39cm and when a school is located they can be caught easily. Baits of pipi, squid and mussel are some of the best, with bass yabbies also fishing well - the trick is keeping them on the hook.

The garfish have been fairly thick in the same areas of Westernport, and can sometimes be caught along with the whiting. Some of the gars at the minute are about as chunky as you will find - with some getting close to 50cm. Customer John bagged a few last week while fishing for whiting with small pieces of prawn under a float getting the most attention.

 

Customer Johnny took his girlfriend out in Westernport fishing for whiting over the weekend and they weren't disappointed. Fishing in 8m of water off the top end of the middle spit, they managed a good bag of fish to 40cm, using mainly pipi as bait. Johnny said the bite really fired up towards the end of the run out tide.

Another customer John also fished around the spit for whiting, although he has been fishing the southern end. John has been catching plenty of whiting averaging 35cm on mussel and prawn, and while chasing the whiting he has also caught some nice gars in the shallows and the odd gummy along the deeper edges.