While there has been some activity on the snapper front, the real 'hot' action for Port Phillip is still around 2 weeks off. Water temperature and rainfall at this time of year play a crucial part in when the fish 'fire' and looking at the weather we are around 10 days to 2 weeks off. There have been a few solid fish caught by searching anglers but overall the bulk of the fish are yet to enter the bay. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has caught some small fish over the past week but also landed a cracker fish of around 80cm just a few days ago, so make sure you're prepared!


There have been a few fish scattered throughout the bay however, and the bulk of the fish caught are coming from landbased anglers. Fishing any of the shoreline around Mornington and Mount Martha has been the go, along with the top end of the bay between Mordialloc and St Kilda. Customer John got out during the week and managed a couple of nice fat school fish from the shore after dark on pilchard. John has been fishing a few locations and has found the fish biting late through the night after or during a strong 20 knot onshore wind.


At the moment the top end of Westernport has been producing the lion's share of the snapper reports. While Western Port normally fires up before Port Phillip, there seems to be good numbers of fish spread right through the port. Scattered reports have come from the Corals, Silverleaves, Corinella, Joe's Island and also through Bagge Harbour and the North arm. Customer Johnny got out on to the port during the week and landed 3 fish to around 3kg in the north arm on fresh squid. The region around Lysaughts and Long Reef in 15 - 18m has been producing quite a few school fish on squid, couta and pilchard.

 


The annual snapper run is just about to kick along with warmer bay temperatures only a matter of weeks away. While Westernport has been producing a few more fish than Port Phillip that is generally the case earllier in the season. For those looking around in Port Phillip the areas to look are around Mornington or right up around Port Melbourne and Williamstown. Customer Will scored a lovely fish out wide from Mt Martha during the week. Will was cubing and fishing pilchards as bait and the big fish took a whole pillie on twin snelled 4/0's.


The top of Westernport has seen a bit more boat traffic due to the fact that the fish are 'on' a bit more. If you're fishing the 'finger' channels region or around Joe's Island you have a good shot at some lingering fish soaking up the warmth, while further around towards Hastings there has also been a few as well. Customer Chris fished Joe's last week and managed a few nice over a couple of sessions on the water. Chris has been making the most of the fresh bait in the area with couta, trevally and pike all making the baitboard and the snapper haven't rejected them.


The Hastings and Long Reef area has seen a few boats during the week with fish to around 6kg coming in. Customer Steve fished the area last week and landed a couple of nice fish to around 3kg with fresh squid being the most productive bait. Fishing the smaller tides along the reef here will normally see you land a few school fish, while moving up the banks and sitting shallower gives you a good shot at the larger fish.

 


The squid fishing has been good around the bay as the water clarity stays good.Most of the usual land based locations are producing, with the mid northern end of the bay starting to fish well.


Staff member Dylan has been fishing from the shore around the top of the bay and has found the fishing pretty good. Multiple sessions of bag limits have been had in short time, normally around an hour. In amongst a few anglers fishing the standout jigs have varied a bit but blues and purples have been very effective lately. The Yamashita 'Live Search' jigs with incorporated rattle have been deadly when t hings have gone quiet.


Around the Brighton region customer Peter has been catching a few nice sized squid from the shore. Peter has found green/glow jigs have been effective during full sunlight conditions.The same sort of jig colours have also been working for customer Aaron down near Mornington. Aaron and mates have been fishing the reef in approximately 6m of water and doing well. Green/glow, gold foil and also red foils have all been working in that depth.


On the whiting front, there have been good catches of excellent size fish coming from Westernport bay over the past week or so. While there hasn't been many anglers chasing them, the fish getting about have been of very good average size. Customer Steve found out last week that the quality of the fish was good, fishing around Tankerton and the middle spit. Steve found that the bite was hot at certain stages of the tide but as usual the fish had to be followed around and baits changed to suit. Pipi and fresh fresh was excellent with most fish going on pipi.


Customer Pat fished with his dad out in the port recently and found a good bag of fish around tortoise head and the surrounding banks. Pat fished the outgoing tide and moved about to stay on the fish. The bank edges fished the best in water around 5m deep. Pipi and mussel cocktails got the bites when fished on a small wide gap hook.

 


Squid reports have been pretty good from most of the piers locally lately, even though some locations have a bit of dirty water flowing in. The Mornington Peninsula as always is the best bet for consistency - whether you're fishing off the rocks or one of the piers.


Port Phillip has still been fishing ok, as staff member Dylan found out over the weekend. Fishing dirty water not far from the city amongst other anglers Dylan caught 3 nice squid in under half an hour and then left before another rain band came through. Size 2.5 jigs were the best performers with Yamashita's newer 'Live search 490 glow' models proving very effective compared to other anglers offerings nearby. Customer Lilong also fished the Sandringham area for squid along with Sorrento for a good bag. Lilong found that Yamashitas were the most productive, in both Aussie limited colours and also PyonPyon search models. Among the decent squid a couple of cuttlefish were also caught which was a bonus.


Staff member Don has been fishing the peninsula with both Mornington and Stony Point the favoured locations. Don has been averaging a couple every session with most around half a kilo. Size 2.5 and 3.5 jigs have both been used depending on current, with red foil and natural brown/green patterns working well. Customer Angelo has been down at Flinders recently fishing the afternoons and catching some nice squid. The squid recently haven't been as big as Flinders standards but still quality, around kilo. Size 3.5 Clicks and Owner jigs have been doing the damage in a variety of colours.

 

 


While there hasn't been many anglers chasing them, the snapper continue out wide from Mornington and Mount Martha. When weather permits an early morning bite has been worth chasing from these fish, which have been averaging around 3kg. Customer Mark got out and had a crack at the fish recently and found some rippers to around 5kg. That first light bite was the go, out in depths of 20 - 22m off Mount Martha. Soft baits of pilchard and squid have been the go but a few anglers have also done well with whiting heads fished off snatcher style rigs.


Fishing out from the mussel farm off Mornington customer Lilong and mates managed a good haul of pinkies and school sized fish on soft plastics. Lilong was fishing jerkshad and worm style plastics, alternating between 1/8 and 1/4oz jigheads to suit the plastic and the depth. Bright UV colours in the worm patterns were excellent while natural whitebait and baitfish colours suited the jerkshads perfectly and got eaten on the drop most of the time. Lilong was using scent on his plastics with the Pro Cure garlic his chosen one.


While the depths of Mornington have been the consistent area for the fish, there have been plenty of smaler school sized fish roaming about in close. Customers Pete and Howard were fishing down in the Patto near the mouth when they landed pinkies to 57cm. Calm conditions and pilchard baits were the go, with a ravenous run of fish caught in the river and quite a few hanging around the artificial reef out from the river mouth.

 


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.

 


The squid fishing ash been consistent, and will only get better especially for the larger models as the weather gets colder. Both bays have been fishing well as they have had clear water conditions, even with the recent rain. This weekend's weather should really give some good squid fishing with no rainfall and clear sunny conditions. Customer Thao has been catching some quality calamari for the table and for fresh baits out in Westernport. Thao has been concentrating around the grassbeds near Tortoise Head and Tankerton with some good size squid finding the net. Size 3.0 jigs in natural yakka and also UV white and orange have been the best.


Out from Stoney Point customer Jamie and mates caught good numbers of squid fishing size 3.5 jigs along the bank drop offs. Fishing during the faster stage of the tide the 3.5's were crucial when in only 3m of water, as they stayed in the kill zone for long enough. UV white jigs worked when the cloud cover came through and during sunshine the red foil did better.


Mornington pier and rocks have still been producing good numbers squid for patient and persistent anglers. Fishing size 1.8 jigs has been fine when fishing the inside of the harbour or small pier, while the outside edge of the main pier and rocks are better approached with 2.5 size jigs. Red foils have been good around first or last light, with UV whites and aggressive colours like pinks and oranges have been excellent during sunlight hours.

Further north in the bay the region between Brighton and Black Rock has started producing more squid as the water cools off. Customer Peter fished from the rocks near Brighton recently to land a bag of nice sized squid. The aggressive viper red foil did the damage when their was a small amount of sunlight. UV pinks and also natural grass whiting patterns are very consistent around this region also. 

 


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.

 


The snapper have been actively feeding out from Mornington through to Mt Martha over the past few weeks, with fish to over 7kg out there to be caught. Fishing depths of 17 - 22m have been the best bet, and you pretty much have to be out early as the bite is all but over by about 8am.

Customer Charlie fished out wide of Mornington after a snapper recently and turned up a nice fish just under 4kg. Charlie was anchored in 21m and found that pilchard got the bite. Cubing with small pilchard chunks or '100% freeze dried pilchard mix' has been crucial to lure the fish in towards the baits.

Further up the bay there have been some solid pinkies roaming about on the mud also occupying the reef sections. Customer Ryan has been catching fish to 2kg or so in as shallow as 3m of water between St Kilda and Black Rock. Ryan has been catching fish on cubes and chunks of freshly caught slimey mackerel and yakka along with 'tear resistant' TPR style soft plastics. The main reason for the high catch rate of this style of soft plastic over others is their natural buoyancy and 'hang' above the bottom - right where the fish can see them. Jighead weights from 1/8 to 3/8oz are needed depending on wind and depth changes.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been making the most of the abundant pinkies and school snapper around the eastern side of the bay. James has occasionally been fishing around Black Rock but mainly between Frankston and Mt Martha where there are good numbers of fish. Many school fish have been 35cm through to 1.5kg, with a few up to 4kg floating about in the shallows. Fishing just off the reef in 9m of water and slowly trickling pilchard berley has been a key to keeping the school active. Pilchard and squid have been the better baits.