The by catch  while fishing for both whiting and snapper in the port is enough in itself to keep many anglers content, with some being better eating that the main target themselves! Changing tactic slightly to target the fish like garfish or trevally while in the shallows can provide some fun, great bait and good fare on the table.


Customer Sam has been fishing with staff member Don out on the whiting and the silver trevally have been plentiful in between whiting bites. The trevally normally make their presence known during the slackest stage of the tides and respond very well to oily berley that has some sort of pilchard or baitfish in the mix. They are best caught using softer whiting rods and fine gauge hooks, as their soft mouths can have hooks easily torn out. Don and Sam have been finding plenty along the channel edges up the top end of the port.

The same areas have also been holding good sized garfish, and they have been coming up the berley trail and can be caught on small pieces of pipi under finely weighted floats. Some of the gars have been between 40 and 50cm.


The gummy fishing has been keeping anglers happy as many are caught as snapper by catch as much a target species. Fishing the run off channel edges especially over the mudbeds has been the best way of finding one for a feed. Some of the anglers from the Keysborough Angling Club have been catching gummies along the main channel edge out from Hastings, along with whiting salmon and mackerel.

Customers Graeme and Mick have also been catching some nice table sized sharks over on the Corals. The corals area is good foraging ground for both snapper and medium sized gummies, but also gets some solid school shark and bronze whalers over the warmer months of the year. Fresh chunk or strip baits are excellent ways to connect to one.


Some large female gummies have also been making their way into the port in preparation to pup. Customers Izzy and Bruno fished the western entrance and landed 2 big female gummies. Fishing 4/0 Reedy's Rigs with californian squid got the job done, and both were caught in around 30m of water on the tide change.


Not too far away the squid fishing has been good for the land based anglers. The extensive weed and reef from Balnarring to Flinders hold some large calamari and can be fished from the shore - you just need to select your jig sink rates accordingly. Customer Travis fished from the beach at Somers and landed a couple of nice big squid on size 3.5 jigs, with gold foils doing the best. Down at Flinders pier there have been a good number of squid caught during the day, with customer Angelo getting amongst them. Angelo caught 4 nice squid in his recent session, with a mixture of UV white, lumo glow and red foil jigs doing the damage.

 

 


Western Port's snapper fishing continues to provide some excitement for anglers around Melbourne, as the fish have stayed more consistent than that of PPB this season. There are snapper now in just about all pockets of the port, and you can target the fish without having to sit next to 500 other boats. Young gun Ashie Damelio is pretty excited with the nice fish he caught with dad Steve out towards Sandy Point recently.


Customers Graeme and Mick have been getting into heaps of big pinkies and school sized snapper both from the Corals and also further up the bay in the Lysaughts area. Both squid and pilchard have been the best baits, between either baits separate or mixing up both known as the 'squidbomb' and 'superchunk'. If you haven't seen or used these baits ask us in store how you can rig them up.


Towards the Eastern arm customer Justin has been landing some solid fish, with his best going just over 9kg or the magic 20lb mark. Just has been fishing chunk baits of freshly caught yakka, couta and pike to land the bigger fish.


In the same region over towards Ryhll customer Tony has been fishing with mates Shar and Troy. The boys have landed nice snapper to 6kg in 17m of water, with fresh squid and pike doing well. Strip baits have been more effective in the faster current, with chunks and rings providing more movement and attraction when the tides have either slowed or been smaller.

 


Well it's mid December and while many anglers are still trying to make the most of the snapper season that has been a bit sporadic, others have been giving the whiting a real hit in the port. The port has been producing some quality whiting fishing in all corners. Customer Steve fished in his annual whiting comp out from Corinella over the weekend and was out done by grandson William with his best fish weighing 887g, with Steve's best weighing 800g.


Plenty of quality fish were caught out from Corinella in the muddy water with 16 fish all measuring 42cm or bigger. Fresh squid fished in small strips and tipped with pipi or a small piece of prawn is excellent in discoloured water for these larger fish. The only negative to fishing in this terrain is that small gummy sharks can scatter the fish and take your baits on light gear.


Over on the other side of the port customer Edly has been doing well on the whiting out along the middle spit. Edly has been moving about but has been finding most of the fish in the 4 - 5m depth, and has been finding that the start of the run out tide has been the most productive for him. Fishing baits of pipi and mussel along with fresh squid has been the best, with the mussel and pipi getting the most bites but the squid taking the larger fish as the tide starts to pick up. Some pinkies and flathead have also been getting in on the act on the same baits when the whiting bite thins out.


Customer Travis and son Jax have also been catching some solid whiting out from Hastings. Many of the whiting have been around the 40cm mark and are prolific from the shallow banks in 30cm of water on the top of the tides, right through to water deeper than that of many snapper grounds. Knowing which tides to fish each area has been the key to locating the fish, and constant small bait and location movements has been the fine tuning needed to secure a good bag of fish.


Speaking of the deeper water, customer Tony has been successfully catching some nice whiting in water over 20m deep. Tony was in the store during the week picking up a slightly heavier rod for targeting the whiting in deeper water, and landed a dozen or so in his first session using it. Tony has been catching some super solid whiting in 21m of water while waiting for the snapper bite to liven up. Fishing baits of squid slivers and also pilchard fillet in this depth has seen chunky whiting to 45cm come into the bite in between snapper runs.

 


If you're looking for a good quality gummy shark for the table and the weather plays ball - head offshore from the bays. The offshore gummy fishing has been excellent all winter and continues on, with the wind and swell the only real factors to consider. Heading out from either entrance in Westernport or from The Rip there is acres and acres of quality shark ground to drift or anchor near. If you're heading out from the eastern entrance like customer Steve did, you can head halfway towards Cape Paterson on the right conditions, and catch your bait and gummies out there. Steve fished a bit closer in around Cape Woolamai just recently, where he a couple of gummies to 12kg on baits of freshly caught wrasse and red mullet. Steve managed the fish in about 35m of water.


Out from the western entrance customers Benny and Damien have also been getting into the gummies. The boys fished out from the Seal Rock area in 40m of water and landed 3 nice fish between them. All 3 of the fish were around the 10kg mark and took baits of wrasse and pike caught from the area. There have also been a few snapper floating around these same reef areas as they make their migration into the bays.

 


While not everyone's game, there has been some excellent offshore fishing when a break in the weather opens up. There are numbers of snapper starting to move just offshore from the entrance to both bays, some excellent gummies on offer and still decent numbers of tuna along the West coast. James from Unreel Fishing Charters had a purple patch on the tuna along the West coast earlier this week, with 2 massive fish over the 100kg mark. James and his son both managed a 'barrel' each - with the monsters weighing 110kg and 140kg. There are still some serious inshore tuna out there to had when the wind and swell decide to calm down...


A little bit closer to home around the offshore reef the gummies have still been quality. Customers Johnny and Thao have been outside when conditions allow and have seen some serious gummies punching well above 15kg. There haven't been any 'hotspots' as the boys tried a new area recently and had results. Finding and plotting isolated patches of reef has been the key, with locally sourced baits also a key step. Catching wrasse and parrotfish from the reef is an excellent step in catching a solid sea-going gummy. Baits of squid are excellent for catching fresh bait, as are artificial offerings.


Small flutter-style jigs and soft plastics get eaten within metres of the reef by the wrasse species, but keeping them as  close to the bottom is key. Multi-coloured depth marked braid is excellent for doing this. Generally speaking, the most successful reef zones are outside the main entrance shelves, in the 25 - 30m depth or wider around 40 - 45m. At this depth there is plenty of bait and food for cruising gummies.

 


During bouts of calm weather the offshore gummy fishing has been excellent. The bays have been producing good numbers of gummies for anglers but the offshore fish have been of better quality. Customer Dave and mate Gawaine fished out from Phillip Island recently in slick conditions to land some nice gummy and school sharks. The average fish ofshore at the moment has been around 15kg, with much larger fish to 25kg or so frequently encountered. Dave and Gawaine plotted a small section of reef and after working out the layout they anchored up and started collecting bait. Fresh chunks and fillets of parrotfish and wrasse along with pike did the job on both the gummies and school sharks, so make sure you are adept at catching fish like these fish fresh bait if you venture offshore.


If landbased fishing is easier for you, then gummy fishing can be good. There have been plenty of land based options for these sharks around Westernport in particular. Customer Brendan has been landing gummies table sized gummies to around 7kg from the shore along the eastern side of the port at locations such as Corinella, Tenby Point, Lang Lang and Grantville. The region from Lang Lang through to Reef Island is good for targeting gummies as there are plenty of mudflats for the fish to patrol during the night, and they can be routinely caught if you pay attention to your tides. Brendan has been landing gummies on a variety of baits, with pilchard, pike, trevally and mantis shrimp all working well after dark.

 


Although the weather over the last week hasn't been very inviting for much fishing, let alone squid fishing, there have still been a fair few caught. The top end of Port Phillip was exceptionally clear before the rain and is now murkier than usual but a spell of good weather will have it cleared up and fishing better. From about Mornington south the bay has been better for squid, with some smaller ones still found around the pier and harbour. Staff member Don has caught some around the pier during breaks in the weather, with red foil jigs working well among cloudy and gloomy conditions.


As usual the southern end of Port Phillip bay has held the most consistent squid fishing. The area between Rye and Sorrento has been the best producing area, with a mixture of sizes from 15cm through to 40cm hoods. Customer Mark has been having some ripper sessions out from Rye recently, with most trips resulting in full bags of squid in an hour or so. Mark has been finding UV white and UV blue jigs the best performers recently.


Over in Westernport the squid action has been good, once you find some cleaner water and squid happy to hunt. Customer Jamie fished with a couple of mates during the week along the Eastern side of the port and found some solid squid. Jamie had been fishing the area between San Remo and Reef Island to land this bag of squid. Red foil jigs worked the best with the small amount of moonlight helping to reflect them to the squid.


Not far away customer Steve has still been catching some nice squid, even with the inclement weather. Steve found a pocket out of the average weather during the week and plucked a few decent squid, with his favourite gold/brown base jigs doing the damage. Customer Brendan also nailed a couple of monster squid while gummy fishing earlier in the week. Brendan was fishing around some scattered reef ledges and while waiting for a gummy to cruise by he caught a handful of good squid using the 'tip run' method. Tip run is especially suited to places like Westernport, as tip run jigs are designed to sink fast at the correct angle in deep water or current. If you haven't tried these style of jig then it's definitely something you're missing out on!

 


The calm weather recently has really been good for anglers out on the gummies, and the gummy fishing has been excellent. The real hot spots at present have been the entrance channels on both bays and offshore, with a keen eye on the tides and fresh baits the real keys. Customer Paul fished with mate Jarrad out in the south channel on the gummies after chasing squid up on the banks and wasn't disappointed with a lovely 12kg fish on dark. Fish at this size are excellent for the table and normally quite common when fishing these southern channels.


Customer Petar has also done a few trips out around the southern end of Port Phillip with good results. Petar has averaged roughly 1 - 2 gummies per trip, with a 'normal' fish around 7kg. Petar has landed fish to just under 10kg during the week on fresh squid and yakka in the main channel just after dark. On the offshore gummy front, customer Edly has put fish to around 18kg in the boat during the week - with calm conditions ideal for it. Edly has been fishing small reef ledges out in 30m of water, and has found that the best baits have been parrotfish and pike.


Customer Damien got into the gummies during the week offshore also. Damien fished out from the western entrance in 40m of water and landed a brace of nice fish up to 15kg. Freshly caught wrasse and red mullet were the dynamite baits on the fish offshore.

 

 


Although the weather has been bitterly cold and average wind wise over the past few days , there is some decent weather with light winds on it's way. While the weather may not have been the most helpful for the fisherman there has still been a bit happening locally for rugged up anglers. The garfish have been around on the piers along the eastern seaboard of the bay, with Mornington, Seaford, Frankston and Sandringham all good places to start. Staff member Don has been catching a few around Mornington over the past week, with some good sized fish in the schools. Small silverfish and maggots have been the best, but as usual a fine grit berley and properly balanced floats are a must.


Customer Nathan has also been catching the gars from Seaford pier. Nathan has been finding that the fish are most active around the last bit of daylight into the first hour or so of night. Nathan has been berleying and fishing silverfish back in the berley trail but also paying attention to which direction the berley is being carried.


Nathan has also been catching some nice bream from Patterson river. Maximizing his fishing time after work hours Nathan has landed bream up to 42cm recently from the river. During his latest session Nathan caught 2 nice fish both around a kilo, and both on mussel. The bream were most active just after sunset and will still bite well with the dirty water conditions. Customer Cip has also caught a couple of nice fish recently from the Patto, but on lures. Cip has been using small sinking stickbaits and plastics but has found the stickbaits have been getting the bite more often. Letting these lures slowly sink and flutter down to the bottom has been when most fish are grabbing them.


In westernport there has been plenty on offer from the local piers, with a heap of pike, mackerel and flathead to be caught over the reef and weedbeds, and barracouta mid water. Customer Nath has landed rock flathead to 45cm fishing from the piers and has found soft plastics the best way to jag a few. Small 3 inch paddletail plastics have been the best performers especially in small whiting or wrasse colours. Customer Angelo has been catching a heap of big pike and couta from the pier down at Flinders on soft plastics also. Flinders is an excellent location to fish plastics for fish like pike as they patrol the thick kelp beds. Angelo has slowly gotten into the lure fishing and is having a ball catching lots of variety of the finesse plastic techniques.

 


With some calmer weather on it's way there some ripper gummy shark fishing to be had just inside the entrances to both bays and also offshore. With the last lot of calm weather anglers ventured out and and found the rewards in form of some lovely fresh flake. The hot areas to be fishing have been the western entrance from around Sandy point south, or in Port Phillip the Blairgowrie end of the south channel. Just outside both entrances the fishing has been excellent also, with small patches of reef from 25 - 40m productive.

Keen fisherman Ashie went out in westernport with dad Steve last week and managed a couple of nice table sized gummies from down in the western entrance. The area around cat bay was productive with chunks and fillets of freshly caught salmon and pike providing the ideal scent trail for the gummies. Fishing the small outcrops of reef along these channel edges has been productive for Steve with an average size fish being around 7 - 10kg.


Once you get offshore proper the average gummy size seems to increase, with fish around 15kg being about standard - and a 25kg+ fish a real chance. Customer Edly fished outside in 40m of water recently to land 3 solid sharks all around the 14kg size. Freshly caught baits can be the difference between fish and no fish and gummies are no different - with plenty of bait options cruising about offshore near or on your fishing grounds. Parrotfish and wrasse are excellent, along with barracouta, pike and salmon or mackerel - which can all be collected with some prior preparation to your gummy fishing. Fishing large chunk baits on heavy gauge 8/0 circle hooks will ensure a solid jaw corner hookup and get your gummies to the boat.