Snapper reports have started to really ramp up over the past week or so, with some rain and semi consistent warmer weather really helping things out a lot. With the bay temperature warming, the snapper bite is getting better and better but it still seems plenty of people are 'waiting' to hear reports rather than getting out there and doing it! There have been numbers of school fish from size to 2kg around the inshore reefs with Williamstown, Brighton, Black Rock and Mornington all holding big schools. Customer Ryan has been catching numbers of fish to about 1.5kg up the top of the bay around Williamstown on plastics. Worm style plastics on 1/6oz jigs have been good when fishing the shallower reefs in a bit of chop.


Customer Ange has also been getting into the school fish from the shore. Ange caught some nice solid pinkies from the beach around Black Rock and Sandringham during the week, with pilchard and squid doing the job. Staff member Dylan also saw some nice shore based fish caught from Brighton, St Kilda and Black Rock earlier in the week when he was in the area. Fish to around 2.5kg were caught with none smaller than about 35cm, on a mixture of baits like pilchard, squid and saury. Long casts to the surrounding reef have been the go, so 10ft - 12ft coarse 'feeder' style rods have been the most effective tools for the job.


While there aren't as many punters out in Port Phillip, Westernport bay has been solidly producing fish for the guys just getting out and having a crack. There are reasonably consistent reports coming from the Long Reef area through to channels behind Joe's, with Corinella and deep off Ryhll also producing. Many of the fish coming from the port have been quality, with the average sitting around 4kg.


Captain Perri fished out from Corinella earlier during the week with a couple of nice fish hitting the deck pretty early on. Fishing a 15m hole, fish to 5kg were caught using pillies. The bites were tentative and the fish weren't hooking themselves, so the lightest tipped rods on the boat were the go. Customer Thao also fished somewhere in the region mid week to gain his bag of fish to about 4kg. Thao found that fresh squid and pilchard were the go, with again soft bites and softer rods the go. Thao will most likely be enjoying his snapper with some mustard over the BBQ later this week, so the area is worth a look over the weekend.

 

 


With some warm weather present over the past week, things have heated up on the snapper front. Both bays are producing quality fish with 4-5kg common. Another 3 weeks or so and things should be almost red hot, but there are fish out there ready to catch now! Bill from Mornington got out and scored a nice 4kg fish in 18m on pilly. The Mornington area has been well worth a shot especially out in the 18-22m area.


Customer Mana scored a ripper fish at 7.8kg out from Mornington also in 21m towards the channel. Mana caught the fish on pilchard and had to bring the fish via handlining method as the braid-spooled reel knocked into freespool and caused a massive knot which meant the fish had to be retrieved old school style!


Out in Westernport the fish have been going fairly well, but the hoards of anglers haven't flocked to many areas of the port just yet. The 'top end' is the place to be concentrating - with the area around Joe's Island attracting numbers of anglers and also producing some nice fish. The surrounding channels have been harbouring fish to 8kg, with many around the 5kg mark also. Customers Jason and Brent were fishing the area over the weekend and caught fish around the 5kg mark using freshly caught yakkas.


The deeper water out from Rhyll and Cowes has been holding some nice fish with some good gummies mixed in. Fishing in 18m of water around 'Silverleaves' is a pretty good way to connect to a nice fish at present. Customer Johnny has been landing fish to 6kg from the area on freshly caught squid. Silver whiting can be a good bait option here also and pilchards are just plain silly to forget also!


A bit further around towards Warneet there have also been some nice fish caught. The shoals of Bagge Harbour and Long Reef at Lysaughts have had fish to 8kg popping up, with the shallower areas producing the better fish. Customer Zac has been having fun on fish to 7.5kg out along the area between 8 and 15m. Pilchard, squid and pike have all accounted for fish this week.

 

 

The land based fishing around the bay has been good for quite a few different species lately, whether you're after some fresh baits or for some fresh fish for the dinner table. The salmon have been moving about, and while not as thick as they are during the cooler months there have still been enough about to normally get in to a few. Customer Brendan got into a heap at the mouth of the Patto recently on soft plastics. Brendan found that small paddle tail soft plastics under 3 inches were the most effective when fished on light jigheads.  During the calmer conditions the fish will push deeper and need to be fished with more finesse, and this is when plastics will outfish most other offerings.


Customer Frank also found some solid salmon fishing around Mornington. Frank again found small plastics the most effective when the other lures went quiet. Some of the salmon around the southern end of bay have been 1.5kg upwards. Around the same areas, especially inside the calmer harbours and coves the garfish have still been about. Not many anglers have been chasing them but some quality fish have been about. Staff member Don has been fishing for gars around Mornington and back to Frankston and he has seen some larger models. As usual, fine berley and very small pieces of silverfish have been the go - with size 14 hooks getting a lot more bites than bigger hooks.


Nearer to the ocean beaches, there have still some large salmon showing up. Beach fishing anglers have slowed off but there have been fish upwards of 3kg hanging around the gutters and headlands from Port Phillip heads down to Punchbowl. Customer Robin was fishing one of his usual areas around Phillip Island and found plenty of thick fish to 2.5kg. Bluebait fished on flasher style paternoster rigs with small squid skirts added got all the bites.


Around the shallower sections of the bay the flathead have starting moving in. Now is actually a good time to target these tasty fish as they push inshore and are hungry and hunting. There are a few species of flathead on offer for anglers also, with rock, sand and yank flathead all available. Customer Ryan found some nice rock flathead from the piers around the top end of the bay - with Brighton and St Kilda both productive. Small paddle tail plastics like the Megabass Hazedong Shads were super effective when fished on 1/8oz jigs. Staff member Dylan also good numbers of sand flathead to 41cm in close along the Seaford - Frankston area. 2.8'' ribbed style paddle tails accounted for every fish, with more than 30 fish caught in the space of a few hours.

 

 


The snapper reports are about to hit the next level around Melbourne, with rising water temperatures and more stable weather on their way. Westernport is still producing more fish if you're unsure where to fish, but port Phillip is also worth a fish if you want to stick to the bay. Customer Nathan fished the bay out from Mordi during the week to land a nice fish on plastics, with a 5 inch pilchard pattern doing the job. Squid scent on the plastic sealed the deal, with the real movement, look and smell of a real bait proving too much for the reds to resist. Make sure you have the correct tackle to fish soft plastics on the snapper, as many anglers still go fishless and frustrated after trying them on the incorrect gear.


Out in westernport the reds have been going well enough for the last few weeks, if you know where to look and how to tackle the port's current and bycatch. Customer Mario fished out from Corinella during the low light period into the night to land snapper to 6kg. Freshly caught squid was the ticket, with lighter tipped 'port Phillip' style rods perfect here in the shallower holes and along the mudflats.


The Corinella area has been a go-to area for angler unsure of where to look for snapper, as the water temperature stays a bit warmer than the rest of the bay with all the rock and mudflats exposed to the sun during low water. The region can produce some solid fish, with the odd '20lb' fish coming from the area each season. Heading south from Corinella the 'Corals' area can also produce some nice fish, but seems to fire a bit later in the season. Heading west, the deep water off Rhyll and Cowes is well worth fishing at present. The fish can school up in this deeper water here, and are regularly caught in 18 - 22m. Customer Mick fished this area over the weekend to land a few school fish and a nice 4kg model, along with a nice table sized gummy. Mick was fishing in 22m of water and caught everything on 'big eye' pilchards.

 


While many angler may not the King George whiting on their mind for a good few months yet, the start of spring and initial snapper run normally signals the 'unofficial' start of the whiting season. While large bags of fish aren't as common, the much larger 'winter' condition fish are worth targeting while there's generally few people on them. The fish aren't generally up on the banks and flats like in summer - more often residing in the deeper, colder waters closer to Bass Strait. Moving about like you would on a normal whiting session is again the key to putting a bag of solid fish together. The areas of Westernport worth looking around at the moment are from Flinders to Balnarring and around Vetnor, and the southern end of the middle spit around Tankerton and Stony Point. In Port Phillip the Queenscliff - St Leonards region and Portsea to Mt Martha have been the go/


Customer Carlo and mate fished across near St Leonards recently where they found some nice sized fish. After a few moves the guys had a decent bag of fish, with averaging just shy of 40cm and nice and fat. Pipi and fresh squid were the best baits when fished on number 4 worm style hooks. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been catching some quality whiting around southern Port Phillip bay, with plenty of fish over 40cm present. The larger fish have been moving in smaller schools and have to be made the most of when they come through. Having enough baits at the ready and a small amount of organized berley, along with extra pre-tied rigs will make sure you make the most of the hot 10 minute bite windows.


Not far away customer Josh and friends got some nice fish around Queenscliff. Fishing around 7m of water saw them with a nice bag of fish, with pipi the standout. Along the same ground there were some quality squid which all hammered a size 3.0 'abalone white' Hayabusa jig.

 


While the snapper run is about to get most Melbourne anglers excited, here is a good reason to keep all options covered! Customer Steve was out fishing just offshore from Westernport recently in search of some snapper moving in when he scored a ripper gummy and school shark. Steve's ripping gummy weighed in at 22kg and took a cutlet of fresh salmon, while the school shark he landed weighed 18kg and took pilchard around slack water.


Another Spring surprize was a huge kingfish caught by customer Trent. Trent didn't want to say too much but we do know that the massive kingie was taken on live squid, and was caught inside Westernport. These thugs should start turning up over the next month, so yet another option to stretch your arms on.

 


Well we're right in the thick of the beach fishing season here and many anglers are experiencing the best salmon fishing that they've seen for at least the last 2 or 3 years. Numbers of fish have been good and average size has also been good - with good sized schools of bigger fish hanging about as well. As for the hot beaches, close to home the best have been Gunnamatta and Kilcunda, with Venus Bay/Walkerville excellent and the 90 mile has been very good also.

A hot tip if you're heading out to the beach - check the conditions of your chosen location from aerial maps or satellites first if possible.


When you're looking at a satellite view of your location the giveaway of deep water 'gutters' and 'holes' is easily picked up in the above photo. Gunnamatta beach has a few nice gutters which are easily distinguished by the red stars marking them. The darker water usually means deeper water or weed and rock - but in this case you can see that it is deep clear water. From the satellite view you can see the breaking water and the direction which the gutters move along the beach - just bear in mind the satellites aren't updated every day so they are a 'guide' for you, when you get to the beach a 10 minute scout from the dunes or high vantage point will confirm deeper water for you.


Customer Mark has been putting his beach knowledge to good use down at Venus Bay this week with some great salmon landed. During his last few sessions Mark has been spinning the fish up using metal stickbaits in 40g and 60g weights. Mark has caught more than his share of fish, with some models topping 3kg on the lures. Leaving them biting and having some much bigger fish shake the trebles out, Mark will be back with a vengeance after upgrading to assist hook set ups on his lures.


Customers from the store and members of the Keysborough Angling Club fished the section of the 90 mile beach in Gippsland at Woodside beach and had some excellent results. With all members landing salmon it was an excellent trip, and the largest salmon weighed in at 1.5kg which was caught by Mark Watson. Over all just over 150 salmon were weighed in over the two days, which shows excellent numbers of fish.


Happy anglers with their salmon! The salmon along the 90 mile have really been hitting bluebait, with blue and red surf poppers also claiming lost of fish. Some anglers fishing small 'bungee grubs' on the back of their poppers have been catching just as many fish as anglers who are fishing bait. The best part about these plastics is that they're crab-proof!

 

 

 


The surf beaches around the region have really been producing some quality salmon of late. With some nice calm winter weather and moderate swell it has made for good beach fishing conditions, and salmon to over 1.5kg just top it off. While there have been fish along most of the beaches, Gunnamatta and St Andrews have been the pick along the peninsula, with Kilcunda and Venus Bay providing plenty of fish heading down into South Gippsland.


Staff member Don fished Gunnamatta for an afternoon during the week to land a few nice sized fish. While Don wasn't fishing for 8 hours, fish around the kilo mark were around and responded to his berley. With other anglers on the beach reporting no fish, and no berley it really is the key. Don berleyed up enough in the gutters to bring some fish in and keep them there. Bluebait and soft plastics got the bites on the paternoster rig but the key is getting the fish in to your area.


Customer Mark fished Venus Bay beach number 1 with friends over the weekend where they did really well on the salmon. Bluebait and pilchard were the best baits but again the key was to create a berley trail to bring the fish into the small holes and troughs just out from the shoreline. When making your beach berley you have to ensure that you have enough smell and consistency to create a trail for the fish to hone in on, but it also has to be fine enough to not feed the salmon and send them away full and no longer hungry. A normal beach session will see around 20 litres used so make sure you pack your gear adequately and don't cart too much heavy and unneeded gear with you. 

 

 


With intermittent rain and wind, the squid fishing has been sporadic - good when conditions clear but then put off for a few days while the water becomes stained and murky. The good news is that even when conditions are like this the southern end of Port Phillip is still worth a shot and much more consistent.

Customer Romello fished from Sorrento pier over the weekend where he landed a few. Romello cycled through a few jigs and found the Yamashita Q Lives were the best, with deep models working while the tide was pumping and shallow models doing the job when the tide stopped. Romello also landed a small cuttlefish from the pier using a Yakamito size 3.0 jig.


Customers Dale and Lochie fished out from Rye during the week in search of some calamari and they weren't left hanging with an excellent bag of squid making it home. The guys found that UV whites were the most successful in 4 - 6m of water straight out from Rye.


Customer Steve has also been getting into both the squid and whiting recently. Steve has found that both can be caught while fishing the same marks, with the squid often chasing the whiting around and attacking hooked fish. KGW patterned squid jigs can be very effective in these conditions, and the Hayabusa Aussie limited whiting colour has been excellent at tricking these squid. If you're able to keep the larger squid at bay good numbers of whiting can still be had, with areas like the southern section of middle spit and Tankerton fishing well - along with further south around Point Leo and Cat Bay.


The southern end of Port Phillip has been fishing well for whiting also. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been experiencing good bags of fish from around Rye to Sorrento, with mussel and squid standout baits. While there can be a bit of moving about to stay on these fish at this time of year, once you put together a bag of these tasty fish it will all be worth it!


For the land based guys the whiting have been a bit harder work. The odd fish has been caught shore based, with Mornington and Portsea piers probably the best two to be trying from. A bit further down the road there have been some nice school sized fish from around Lorne. Customer Jim fished Lorne pier over the weekend with a few mates and they weren't let down with a few nice fish to take home. Prawn and squid were effective baits from the pier, and accounted for King George when cast over the sand towards the weed - and grass whiting when dropped into the thick weed beds.

 


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.