Autumn is a great time of year to be out chasing the gummy sharks, both in the inlets and bays and also offshore. When calm Autumn conditions prevail, the gummy fishing can be very productive as many have been finding out. Customer John landed a cracking gummy of 23kg recently while fishing offshore from Port Albert. John was fishing 26m of water and had a 20 minute fight in light line with the big female gummy, which snapper the stem of his reel off the rod during it's last powerful run. After some tense moments the fish was in the boat. The successful bait was freshly caught slimey mackerel.


Inside Westernport there have been plenty of table sized gummies about, and some elephant sharks floating about in the same areas. Fishing the muddy waters around Corinella, customer Alex has been landing fish to around 6kg. Fishing freshly caught fish baits around the edge of mudflats and channel drops has been the most consistent method, with baits of mullet, salmon, trevally and mackerel all working very well. Customer Anel and mates have been catching both gummies and elephants from the shore around Corinella and Lang Lang on oily baits like pilchard and salmon. Fishing after dark has been the best, with the fish moving right in close to the channel drops.


The south end of Port Phillip has been fishing well for autumn gummies for local anglers also. Customer Petar has been catching quite a few fish out from Rye in both the Rye and south channels. Petar has been averaging a few fish around a metre most trips, with some larger toothies earning their freedom also. Freshly caught yakka and squid have been the most effective baits.


If you're going to put some time into targeting these gummies, it's well worth stocking up with smaller hooks and sabiki rigs, along with a good amount of berley - as freshly caught bait is simply the most effective on these sharks. The scent that a fresh bait puts out is irresistible to any nearby shark. Petar has been catching yakkas not far from where he is fishing, with some berley and small lures. Jigging small slow jigs in the deeper water has been very effective when the mackerel come through the berley trail, which is keeping him busy and providing him with quality fresh baits.

 


The gummy shark fishing has been over the past few weeks, for both table sized fish in both bays along with the larger females that move into the bays to pup over this time of year. The smaller table fish have been caught frequently from Tenby and Stockyard Point in Westernport especially during the nights. Customer Anel caught 5 nice fish with some mates over the weekend on the run out tide. Anel found that pilchard and squid were the better baits.


Southern Port Phillip has been producing some super solid fish for anglers persisting and using fresh baits. Customer Josh has been fishing with mates in the channels around the Rye and Sorrento region and he has been catching some good fish. Josh fished the south channel over the weekend to land a ripper female fish of 18kg. Josh fished the run out tide and found fresh slimey mackerel was the successful bait.


Customer Ryan has also been catching quite a few small gummies from the Mornington region. Ryan has caught fish from 18m through to 21m, using fresh baits of yakka, slimey and squid. These smaller gummies have been present in the area, and also to the north around Brighton and Altona. Fresh baits have been the key in attracting the gummies in rather than berley also.

 


Westernport has continued to produce some quality snapper, with the bite somewhat more consistent than Port Phillip, but most anglers are aware that this is the case. With the increased tidal flow of the port, most of the fish are forced to eat on more of a schedule and once you key into their movements they can be a bit easier to consistently catch. The whole port has been producing snapper at present, from the back corner behind Joe's all the way down to Rhyll and the corals.


Captain Perri has been getting plenty of snapper selfies during the week, with more time spent on the port than at work - but who's blaming him. Customer Thao has also been catching some nice school fish from the same area, with the Hastings area really producing well. Fishing around 15m of water with fresh squid and pilchards has been the go.


The Bagge Harbour area has been holding some nice fish, with a few big patches hanging in the lee of Eagle Rock. Fishing the Bagge Harbour and further down towards Joe's customer Peter has been landing fish to 7kg. As usual, fresh squid has been the go, with other fresh baits of couta, pike and salmon claiming a few also.

Customer Tony went out for his first proper snapper trip during the week, and caught a few nice school fish to 3.8kg from the corals area. Tony was only fishing fairly shallow and using squid freshly caught that session. There have been plenty of school fish over the corals but it is also a good area to pick up the odd bigger fish or even a mulloway.


while the snapper have certainly taken the limelight for most anglers, there have been some nice gummies caught by anglers chasing them and also as bycatch. When fishing the snapper marks in the port the gummies are never far away, with main difference being that the gummies occupy the channel drops and bottom edges with more predictability. Customer Kosta was fishing fishing out from Hastings along the channel drop with fresh squid when he scored a nice fish of around 11kg. Fishing the Corinella area customer Mark has also been catching his share or table sized sharks. Mark has also been fishing fresh squid and has been landing multiple gummies to just over the metre mark.

 


While it's still early days - there are snapper out there to be caught! The weather we have had over the past month hasn't helped any anglers to get out, but with some nice weather over the weekend the odd fish was caught. While the fish aren't and won't be red hot for a while, the chance of a better fish of 6-7kg is a greater, with larger fish a real possibility. These fish aren't as active as they will be once the water warms up, but they are certainly worth the effort.

Baits of freshly caught squid or pilchard are hard to beat early season, with the odd fish falling to a fresh flesh bait of mackerel or couta. Other options in tricking snapper are various lures. While many dismiss them as 'ineffective' they can be deadly - given that you've picked the right one for your scenario. While soft plastics are the most popular option, excellent early season offerings are deep running hardbodies and hybrid softvibes. Deep running trolled lures bring out the 'savage' nature of a snapper, with bone crushing and rod-jolting strikes. The advantage of slowly fishing a lure such as a softvibe along the bottom is that the snapper can hunt using their lateral line, with subtle vibrations coming from the lure imitating a small struggling baitfish or crustacean. Jarrod Day has found the softvibe option to be particularly effective early season on schooling reds.


Out in westernport the fish have been there for the taking. Customer Johnny got out for an early look around the upper reaches of westernport and was rewards with a nice 6kg fish for his efforts. Freshly caught squid was the bait of choice sitting shallow in the murky water.


Not too far away, customer Jo managed to land a lovely 6kg+ fish from a westernport back channel. The solid fish was caught not far from Elizabeth Island, and squid did the job.

So while we're just leaving winter, start getting organized for the snapper as the season will be here in full swing sooner than you know!

 


The bread and butter species like gummy shark are an excellent option during the winter months, as you are able to catch them shore based in the bays, from the surf beaches, boat fishing the bays and also offshore. The best part about this style of fishing is you don't have to go overboard, for a landbased session a surf outfit of your choice is the way to go, along with a sturdy rod holder and enough tackle for the session. 

Staff member Dylan did just this last week, took to the the ocean beaches in search of a gummy or two. A nice gummy of around 7kg hit the sand during the first hour of the run in tide, and took a fillet of freshly caught grass whiting on a single 8/0 circle hook. Picking your preferred beach during the day can give you the advantage in spotting the more likely gutters and rips, and taking the guesswork out of your fishing.  Programs like Google earth can also help you identify similar features from the palm of your hand, but just be mindful that these conditions can change subtly between aerial shots.


If the boat fishing for gummies is more your thing, then the offshore fishing at the moment has been worth getting in to. The gummy fishing just offshore from Western Port has been exceptional, with much better average sized fish coming in. Among the gummy sharks, you will also have other species like snapper and flathead to keep you busy offshore, so you can really bring back a mixed bag at times.


Frogleys Offshore Victorian Rep Gerry took his new boat out for a spin last week in search of a gummy or two while offshore conditions were good and he wasn't disappointed. Gerry landed 2 lovely fish destined for the table using the lightweight Atomic Arrowz offshore model rods.

Customer Steve also got out offshore in the same region to land a nice fish just under 11kg. Steve fished a patch of reef that he normally tries for gummies and found multiple fish around it. Locally caught couta was the best bait for the day, which were thick mid water and easily catchable on small sabiki style rigs.

 


While the reports haven't been coming in thick and fast, the land based action at this time of year can be excellent. Depending what you want to catch and how far you wish to travel, there are normally plenty of options.

Down along the shores of Westernport customers Matt and Brendan have been having fun with some nice table sized gummies. The areas such as Stockyard point and Tenby point have been good as has the Somers region. Freshly caught salmon, pike, yakka or squid has been excellent, otherwise pillies and frozen squid or cuttlefish have also been doing well with fish averaging around 4kg. Tides will depend on location you choose, as you won't be able to access some areas on high tides, others you will want to fish as the tide reaches it's peak.


The surf beaches have started producing some numbers of salmon, with no huge schools present at the moment but as always the larger fish seem to come through before the smaller school fish do. Peninsula beaches such as Gunnamatta and St Andrews have had some solid fish to just shy of 2kg, with early morning or late afternoon high tides the hot times. Bluebait and squid have been the best baits, but there have been a good number of fish caught on unbaited 'flasher' style rigs and surf poppers. Remember whenever you fish the beaches these types of rigs will stand out to the fish much easier than a normal rig, and increase your chances of a bite.

Customers Mark and Darren fished the beach down towards Venus bay, which has been producing better numbers of smaller school fish. The guys fished beach no.5 where they caught salmon to just under a kilo, and a couple of flatties to around 35cm. The guys found that bluebait and pipi were the best baits, with a number of fish taking the red surf popper also.


The pinkies have been fishing very well from most of the shore based locations around Port Phillip bay recently. The many rock groynes and points, along with the piers have had schools of fish anywhere from 25cm through to around 3kg. Fishing first or last light is the prime time to catch a few, but right through the night they have also been fairly active. First light has seen some better sized fish come through, with customer Sergio catching some lovely fish to nearly 2kg during the morning.


Sergio has been fishing a few different locations around the top end of the bay, with nearly all of them producing fish. He has been finding pilchard or salted mackerel fillets to be the best baits lately, with pinkies, flathead and small gummies all taking the same baits.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

Westernport Bay has still been producing some ripper whiting for anglers in search of them. While most fishos are out chasing the snapper, there are a few making sure they stay a bit shallower and move about constantly to keep on top of the fish. Most of the whiting at the moment have been around the 40cm mark, with some much bigger - occasionally up around 50cm. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has still been having some good results on the whiting with customers, with most trips resulting in at least 10 or so quality fish. Baits of fresh squid and also mussel have been dynamite on these fish over the last few trips. 

On the gummy front they have been a little bit quieter than normal recently, but are still around to be caught by anglers chasing some fresh flake. The East arm of the port through to Grantville has been the most consistent, with table sized fish to 8kg. Customer Trev took his kayak out for a paddle in the eastern part of the port recently, and decided to stay out close to the shore after dark to see if he could snag a gummy or two. Using a mixture of baits, Trev managed to land a couple of nice fish, with a keeper around 6kg. The shallow channels and mudflats of the port are ideal hunting ground for fish this size after dark. Customer Zoran also went out and fished for gummies recently, with a couple of nice table sized fish taking baits of fresh yakka, salmon and squid. 

 

Westernport Bay has been worth a trip if you're after a bag of squid - be it for bait or to cook up. The fishing from some of the piers has been worth a look, along with drifting over the grass beds in the boat. Areas that have been producing lately have been Tyabb, Stony Point and further south around Flinders. 

Customer Zach loves his Westernport fishing and just this week he decided to get out and have a crack at a few big ones. Zach went and fished down around the Flinders/McHaffies area where he got a few ok squid. Zach also managed a cracker on one of his baited jigs which weighed 3.1kg

Customer Michael fished from Hastings and Stony Point piers during the week in search of a few squid for gummy baits, he said that Hastings was very quiet but Stony Point wasn't too bad - with 8 squid to his name his was happy. Michael said that the slack stage of the tide was the most productive, around this time he got 5 of his squid. His best performing jigs were Yamashita size 3.0 in grass whiting pattern, along with a few other colours.