The calm weather we've been receiving bayside has been great for doing a spot of gar fishing. The normal trend around the eastern shoreline piers is garfish during calmer weather, and salmon disrupting all this when rougher conditions push their food withing herding proximity of the shoreline. The gar hot spots of late have been anywhere from Brighton to Frankston, with Seaford and Frankston the two more popular options. Silverfish and small pieces of prawn have been good baits, and as usual fine mist berley is key - if you're not packing a good berley you may as well stay home!


Customer Stephen has been down at Frankston trying his luck on the gars and has found some quality fish. The fish were feeding right up high in the water and unless you adjusted your rig to suit you wouldn't get a bite. Stephen used silverfish on a size 12 hook with a finely weighted small 'aaa' float equipped with chemical light to see the subtle bites.

Being able to see the smallest movement in your float can mean the difference between landing now fish and getting a few on the pier. Adding or removing shot to your rig to get it to sit perfect is paramount, and one of the reason we go on about certain float setups so much!

 

The garfish have been steady around the piers and breakwalls of Port Phillip. They seem to go under the radar but the anglers looking for them can be seen as regulars along said land based locations. The good sized gars seem to have stayed about in numbers since winter, and hopefully they hang around for most of the year this year. The reports this week are a little patchy with slightly rougher onshore conditions, but the next calm day should see regulars out bagging some again. The whole eastern seaboard of Port Phillip has been producing, but the area of Seaford - Mornington seems to have been more consistent. Captain Bill from Mornington went out and got an excellent bag of fish in the shallows just recently


The key for catching numbers of gars is to have the right consistency berley, and to have your float and rig dialed in. The gar bite can be very aggressive at times, or super timid to the point where you will barely see your float move. If you have a finely balanced and buoyant float, and slight tipping or movement will give the fishes presence away.

Staff member George has been getting a few fish from Seaford and Frankston piers at night, with super finesse rigged floats getting bites where others didn't. Baits of choice were silverfish and small pieces of prawn.


 


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.

 


There has been some good fishing for garfish this week, with most of the shallow inshore areas holding good numbers of fish. Many of the shallow sandy bays from the top end around St Kilda all the way down to Portsea have been producing fish, with fish varying from pencil sized right the way through to over 40cm. Most of the piers have been producing these tasty fish but the more popular areas have been Seaford, Frankston and Rye. Generally these piers over sandier ground seem to fish better, especially once you have gotten them berleyed up. The daylight hours have seen the gars biting best, but they can still be caught after dark if you have them berleyed up and hanging around as the sun goes down.


Customer Tas has been fishing in close out the front of Mordialloc to land some nice fish. Silverfish has been the best bait for him with some of the bigger gars eating full silverfish on size 10 hooks. 

 


The last few weeks have seen some good garfish activity locally, with the piers producing a few for the anglers chasing them. There have been numbers to catch if you're fishing inshore in a boat or kayak, but most of the reports have been coming from the piers and rock groynes around the eastern side of the bay. Berley is a must when targeting these fish as without it you may only get 1 or 2, whereas the use of a fine mix berley trail can result in good bags of these tasty fish.

Customer Dragon fished Frankston pier earlier this week where he got a great bag of fish. Both silverfish and maggots worked equally well when fished on size 14 hooks.


Staff member Don has also been out on the gars as well with his family. Fishing from Frankston pier over the weekend, Don managed a nice feed of gars, with silverfish being the more productive bait. A fine grit berley mixture keep going helped keep the fish biting while there were people jumping off the pier and swimming around it.

 

 


While normally slipping under the radar amongst all the other fishing to be done over the summer months, there have been some ripper gars about. While a lot of anglers overlook them as a target, the beauty of them is they can be caught land based or boat. Most of the shallow inshore areas of both bays and all of our other estuaries will hold gars, it's just a matter of getting numbers of them to hang around. A bit of berley normally gets them going and they are a brilliant eating fish to add to the day's bag.

Pier fishing for gars in the bay has been good around Brighton, Sandringham, Beaumaris, Frankston and Dromana, along with Stony point pier in Westernport. Gawaine Blake has been catching some real gars around Stony Point while out near the whiting grounds.


Don't be fooled, gars CAN be very tricky to catch consistently and the correct tackle and technique will soon separate the full buckets from the empty ones. Delicately balanced and weighted floats with mid length shank hooks are some of the tackle 'must-haves' but matching hook to bait selection and the correct consistency berley mixture is also vital. 


Customer Tim has been getting some good gars from Frankston pier recently. Tim used both maggots and silverfish in conjunction with his berley mix to secure a bag.


 


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.