Port Phillip's autumn snapper bite continues with fish to nearly 8kg being landed by persistent anglers. The fish have been a bit more widespread this autumn, as they were over the spring period but there are enough about to be targeting them. Customer Rohan again fished out from Mornington with mates where they landed some lovely fish to just over 7kg. Fishing the early dawn bite got them their fish - with both pilchard and squid doing the job.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been finding some nice snapper in the bay over the past week or so. James has been concentrating around the Mornington and Mount Martha areas but has also been landing some cracker autumn reds over 6kg from around Black Rock and Brighton. Fishing a bit wider out in 19m or so seems to have been the most consistent ground, although there has been the odd solid fish caught right in close in the 7 - 10m area. Freshly caught squid, pilchard and yakka has all been good but silver whiting cubes and heads fished on 'Reedy's Rigs' have been excellent when left to dangle just above the seabed.

 


While the focus hasn't been on the gummies or snapper in particular in both bays - there have been a few caught, especially pinkies and snapper. The small pinkies from 20cm to 1.5kg or so are thick especially in Port Phillip, no matter which area you're fishing. While they can be frustrating - there have been plenty of better size fish amongst them. Staff member Dylan got out for a quick arvo fish recently and was kept busy on fish from 20cm to around 45cm on lures. 4'' jerkbait style plastics caught their share but 100 - 120mm hardbodies were the most effective once the wind got up. Trolling these lures around the isolated reef patches around Brighton resulted in more than 50 fish landed, and a handful of 500g kept for the pan.


The larger fish have also been found in the same areas in the top of the bay - but the real hot spot for the next little while is the Mt Eliza - Mt Martha region. Fish like these held by customer Sam from around Mt Eliza will be worth targeting the deeper we get into Autumn. Early morning bites from dawn to around 9am are the norm, with KGW heads deadly when fished on 'dangle' rigs over the boat's side.


Out in Western port there have been some nice snapper caught amongst the smaller pinkies. While the pinkies have been thick through the whiting grounds and grass beds, fishing the 'barren' mud and rubble beds has seen red to over 4kg landed. The main region producing the quality fish has been between Rhyll and Corinella. Customers Tony and Allan have caught fish in the area to nearly 6kg. There have also been quality fish on the reef just outside both entrances, with some super solid gummies providing some quality bycatch at the same time.


While most of the larger gummies have been coming from outside the port, there have been some big fish caught throughout the Western Entrance along the deeper ledges and channel scours. Fishing these areas during the latter part of the ebb tide or start of the flood is generally the more productive time. Customer Izzy has been landing gummies to around 15kg once the sun goes down, with baits of freshly caught yakka, slimey or trevally among the best.

For the land based anglers the weekend's calmer weather should make shore-bashing a bit more enjoyable. Customer Pete has just started chasing gummies from the shore and landed his first fish during the week. Pete was fishing from the shore at Grantville and after missing and losing a few fish he changed rigs and tactics and landed this one on a circle hook baited with fresh mackerel. Fishing water no more than 1m deep in this area is very effective - but it's all very tide dependent!

 


Land based options around the bay have been good over the past week or so, with garfish and whiting providing some good fun and better eating. Rye through to Brighton has been excellent for the gars, with the hot spots Mornington, Frankston and Seaford. There have been some larger gars about but most have been from 15 - 30cm. Staff member Dylan has been catching them from Seaford and also Sandringham, with maggots being the best bait. Constant depth adjustment and fresh baits was the key to landing a few. As usual fine grit berley is needed to get he fish going and keep them firing while you're catching them.


Staff member Don has been catching some gars from Frankston pier during the week. Don has found small pieces of prawn have been working well, with the main tip being constant adjustment of float and bait depth. The gars have been hanging around Frankston pier during slight winds - with any wind over 15 or so knots bringing the salmon in and scaring the gars off.


The whiting fishing around the bay has been good for the land based angler - all be it that most of the fish are caught around or after dark. There have been fish caught all over the bay from Brighton all the way down to Portsea. Any area of scattered reef around sand has is worth a look, with some satellite maps your best friend. Customer Adam has been catching whiting to 44cm from the shore around Black Rock, with the isolated reef patches producing fish after dark. Staff member Dylan has also been catching fish to 40cm from the shore from Sandringham and Frankston. Baits of pipi, mussel, banana prawn and squid have all been good when fished on the sand around the reef. Most of the fish seem to be more active well after dusk, especially around the top of the tide.

 


While this season wasn't the greatest for many bay anglers, there are still some decent snapper holding in the bay. Most anglers have hung up the snapper gear for the meanwhile but there are still fish there to catch. The main areas to concentrate your efforts on have been between Frankston and Mt Martha, in depths between 16m and 19m. Outside of this region there have been a few nice fish holding out from St Leonards and Queenscliff. Customer Mario caught some nice fish to 8kg fishing around the Prince George Light out from Portarlington recently. Mario found freshly caught calamari was the best bait and he found the fish in 7m of water.


Young gun Harry went out with on a trip with Reel Time Fishing Charters recently and landed his first snapper. Harry landed the fish on a small chunk of pilchard in 18m of water out from Frankston. The area off Frankston has also been fishing well with snatcher style rigs suspended just off the seabed and baited with chunks of whiting or squid.


Fishing out from Carrum customer Nahin landed a nice snapper recently also. Nahin was fishing with friends Grant, Himel and Chan and they all landed some nice pinkies and flathead along with the decent snapper. The guys were fishing in 18m of water and using pilchard and squid. These fish should come on the bite heavily over the next 5 or so weeks and run right through to mid Autumn.

 


While it has been an average snapper season weather wise, there is some fishable weather on it's way, with conditions looking good for the weekend and early next week. With the strong onshore winds Port Phillip has copped recently, the calmer weather will give anglers a window to fish. Before the heavy winds and onshore weather customer Travis and son Jax had some nice fish in the boat.


Customers Billy and Johnny fished out in the bay during some weather lulls and caught some nice snapper to around 6kg. The boys found the 16m area out from Mordialloc was the most productive and all fish were caught on Fish Candy pilchards. There have been some nice fish around the Mordialloc region and after the current blow the fish will fire up around the shallow reef in the area.


The Mt Eliza/ Frankston/Mornington area has also been fishing well over the last week or so, when anglers have been able to get out. The main talked about region seems to have been Frankston - Mt Eliza in 16m.Customer Izzy fished out from the Mornington/Mt Eliza region and landed some nice fish to 6kg. Silver whiting have been an excellent bait out in this area.


Customer Steve has also been catching fish not too far away in Mornington and Mt Martha. Steve has been finding quality fish in 16m of water, with fish to 5.3kg coming aboard. Steve has been fishing both strayline and paternoster rigs with fish taken on both. Pilchards fished on straylines have been good, while silver whiting heads have been excellent when fished on paternoster rigs fished just off the bottom. The same style of circle hook paternoster rigs have been good for anglers fishing from the shore. Nearby around Mt Martha rocks the snapper have been caught in close during the big south-westerly blows but caution must be exercised when fishing from these areas during rough weather.


Speaking of land based snapper, there have still been good numbers of fish caught from the stones around the bays and offshore. Customer Cong has landed snapper to 4kg from local rock points and ledges with pilchard being the most consistent bait. Saury and yakka have also been producing the odd fish, with the large fish favouring the harder baits.

 


Port Phillip bay has turned on the heat for snapper anglers over the last week or so. The increase of water temperature has really seen the fish start to bite better, as they should well into December. Customers from the Keysborough Angling Club fished the bay last week for 7 nice snapper landed in tough conditions. Fishing both pilchard and silver whiting fish to 5.3kg were caught out from Carrum in 17m. Customers Dave and Jack weighed in snapper to over 5kg during the comp and took out the points.


Customer Andy reports that the snapper have been going well out from Mt Eliza and Mornington. Andy and Zoe fished a couple of days during the week and did well. The fish were found and caught around the 'Ansetts' and 'Hospital' marks in 18.5 and 19m of water. The most productive baits during both trips were silver whiting, with fish to around 4kg hammering them. Paternoster rigs have also been very productive out in this region of the bay at present.


Customers around the Black Rock area have also been getting into the fish. Customers Vito and Harry had a blinder of a session on the reds recently with over 40 hookups on snapper. With 30 or so fish landed up to 6kg the fish were well and truly on the chew and willing to eat. The boys fished mostly circle hooks with small baits and found the fish obliging. Rick from Juro Tackle has also been getting amongst the snapper around Ricketts point and Black Rock. Rick has been fishing his favourite 4 inch jerkbait style soft plastics to land fish to around 4kg. Fishing along the edge of the reef here has been a good way to find some slightly larger than school fish.

 


Some clean weather has let anglers out for a break to catch some squid. The squid fishing hasn't been red hot but has been fairly consistent in both bays but the standout has been Port Phillip bay. Southern Port Phillip has been the go-to around Rye and Sorrento, but there have been good reports coming from Frankston and further south around Mornington. Customer Thao fished the Rye region recently with a mate and they found some nice squid for their efforts. Fishing the banks in 4m of water was the go, with multiple squid taken from single drifts. The killer jigs were the Hayabusa 'Aussie' specials in red whiting and black oil in size 3.0.


Customer Justin has also been making the most of the good quality squid about in southern Port Phillip. Justin has landed some nice squid to over 2kg from the Portsea - Rosebud region, with the bigger ones holding deeper in the fast tidal water. Justin has been fishing baited jigs in the shallows and 'tip run' deep jigs in the depths. Size 3.5 jigs in dark greens and purples have been good towards Portsea and UV white a standout back in the shallows off Rosebud.


Across Bass Strait customer Zach has been going hard on the squid. Zach has been fishing King Island from the rocks and piers and has been landing squid to around a kilo. Zach has been liking the white red head Shimano Sephia along with the Yakamito 'lemon' colour in size 3.0 and 3.5. The best time for Zach has been an hour or so around sunrise, with the light level change a real hot bite time.

 


If you're keen on snapper then you should be fishing the southern end of the bay at present. The fish continue to bite from Mornington down to the start of the south channel. The common size of these fish at the moment is around a couple of kilos with fish to 6kg a proper chance, and a good mix of pinkies amongst the bite. Fishing the deeper water from 19 - 22m has been the area, with there no real hot spots just a keen eye on your sounder and a good amount of cubed pilchard or pellet berley. Being at your spot before first light with a trail of berley and baits in the water is a must.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been putting customers on to some lovely fish around the Mt Eliza over the past week, with both pinkies and school snapper on the go. James has been working the deeper water from 19m and wider for the larger fish, while the inshore reef and nearby water has been producing heaps of smaller pinkies and school fish to 1kg or so. Pilchard and squid have both been good baits.


Further up the bay there have been plenty of pinkies hovering about the reef points, and large patches of fish moving around the open mud and sand. Between Mordialloc and Carrum there have been plenty of smaller sized pinkies to around 35cm. Customer Simon fished out from Carrum in 17m on the mud where he brought home a good score of size pinkies. Squid and small silver whiting were the go to baits.

 


There are skeptics out there, but Port Phillip is still producing some good snapper fishing. Some could say it is as good as during October or November, but without the boat traffic. Fish to 5kg aren't a scare occurrence if you're out doing the first light sessions in the south of the bay. Mornington/Mt Martha has still been the better area to concentrate on, but school sized fish and decent pinkies are prolific all throughout the bay around the reef structure. 

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching some ripper fish during recent charters with clients, with some very nice fish coming over the sides. Pilchard and Whiting have been the best baits. 


The pinkies have been red hot around the shallower reef areas of the bay, and probably as good as they'll be all year with some nice fish to 2kg floating about the mix. Fishing soft plastics and lures and covering ground is the most effective method at finding the better fish, as static bait fishing really relies on waiting until the fish come to you. Customer Ryan has been catching heaps of fish around the 30cm mark on plastics, with a few up around 40cm in the mix also. Ryan has been fishing a few different rig methods with the plastics, with 'sled' heads and snagproof hooks being able to really break down the structure and pick out any likely pockets while not getting hung up.


Staff member Dylan got out on the bay on Saturday afternoon for a quick 2hr session and found plenty of pinkies, with fish to around 1.5kg taking the plastics. Locating isolated bait schools was the most productive method for finding the better sized fish, as the heavy reef held the smaller fish. The larger active fish were hunting the dense patches of anchovies out from the reef, and were more than happy to eat a slow falling plastic. TPR 'tearproof' plastics were the most effective in UV colours fished on around 3g jigheads.

 


The autumn run of snapper and pinkies has been excellent in the bay. There has been fish caught all over the bay from Williamstown to Brighton through to Mordialloc and down to Mount Martha. The smaller school fish to 2kg or so have been prevalent around the inshore reefs but the main run of better fish has been between Mt Eliza and Mount Martha.

Customer Pete caught some lovely fish to around 6kg out wide from Mornington last week. Fishing 21m of water around first light and an early tide change was the go, with pilchard being the gun bait.


Also fishing the same area was customer Rohan. Rohan fished in 22.5m out from Mount Martha and got a couple of fish to 4kg. The first light bite around the tide change again was the productive time, with pilchard again the best bait. There is a huge amount of small frogmouth pilchards in the bay at present so small soft baits can be very productive.  Customer Adam fished with his kids out from Mornington during the week and got into some nice school sized fish. The smaller school fish have been thick in the area but bait changes are a must, keeping fresh baits on the hook at all times.