The snapper have been going off in Port Phillip!

While there is normally a small run of fish during Autumn as they make their way out/move in to the bay, numbers of quality fish are excellent at the moment. Most of the hot fishing has been down along the peninsula from Mount Martha back to Frankston, but there are also patches of fish up the top end of the bay.


Bill from Mornington has been getting into some quality snapper around the area. Bill has been catching fish to 6kg from Mount Martha mussel farm back up to Mount Eliza, in water from 16m through to 20m. Fresh squid and pilchard have been the best baits, with early morning bite windows the best but not required as he has also been catching fish mid-late morning.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been making the most of these autumn snapper, with plenty of happy customers getting into some fish. The fish have been spread from around Mount Eliza up to Black Rock and Sandringham, in depths of 10m out to 16m. Midday bites and calm weather have been common this autumn.


You win some you lose some! James ended up losing a heap of line on a big snapper just this morning, with his Okuma Alaris looking worse for wear. Not long after a lovely snapper of 6.5kg was boated, with around some nice fish caught in 11m of water out from Brighton.


The numbers of school snapper or pinkies have been very good around the bay, especially up the top end from Brighton to Mordi. The reef complex along Black Rock has been holding large numbers of fish to 50cm, with the average size around 35cm. Customer Ange and mates fished in 7m of water straight out from 'The clock tower' to land a nice haul of table sized pinkies on fresh squid. Customer John also landed some nice pinkies to 45cm on pilchards in the same area in 7.5m of water recently.

 

Again this week there have been plenty of solid pinkies and larger snapper being caught out along the Mornington peninsula. The numbers of fish have been holding from Mornington down to Mt Martha spoil ground. Many of the fish have been 30 - 50cm with enough larger fish to 5kg in the mix to angler snapper angler happy. The more consistent producing baits have been pilchard and squid but enough fish have also taken fresh yakka, so it is worth having them on board also.


James Rogers from Unreel Fishing Charters has been putting customers onto number of pinkies and handfuls of larger fish, with the rougher southwest blows really bringing the larger fish onto the chew. The deeper water from 20 - 22m has been the area that most of the fish have been holding. James and his son have also been getting decent pinkies on soft plastics while at anchor, with 'nuclear chicken' and bright UV colours getting the fishes attention.


Customer Peter has also been experiencing good sessions on the pinkies down the bottom of the peninsula. Peter has been doing well on pinkies to 40cm in 10m of water along some of the southern channel drop offs. Pilchard has been the most effective bait for him, with some large squid coming up from the depths also. The squid have also turned into excellent bait for the pinkies when left to dangle enticingly from a small circle hook.

 


The snapper off Mornington and Mt Martha have still been around but there have not been many anglers targeting them. Good numbers of fish between 1 - 3kg have been schooled up in deeper water from 18m out to to 21m. First light has been the prime bite time for the larger fish to 5kg, with pilchard and squid rigged on twin 4/0's deadly. The smaller school pinkies have been suckers for half pilchards and small squid heads on single hooks.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been enjoying numbers of school sized fish with some happy customers. Plenty of good table sized pinkies for anglers to enjoy at the moment.

 


If you're a keen snapper angler and missed out a bit during the spring run, there has been a good bite from fish down south in the bay. Every year we see a fairly consistent bite during late summer through to mid autumn as our bay temperature starts to drop a bit. These fish are generally fairly concentrated out from Mornington through to Mt Martha spoil ground in 18 - 22m of water. While the fish aren't restricted to super early morning feeding patterns, the best bet is to get out before first light and sound fish and sit close to them.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been taking customers out on the snapper and pinkies over the last few weeks, and in his opinion the fishing has been better than back in November. James reports excellent numbers of fish from 35cm up to 2kg, and good amounts of fish in the 5kg range also. Gentleman's hours have been producing plenty of solid pinkies with squid, saury and pilchard all doing the job. The main consistent feature is that all of these fish have been out towards the spoil ground and channel, possibly looking to exit the bay once water temperatures drop low.


Plenty of happy anglers with abundant table sized pinkies out deep. This fishing should stay stable until about mid april.


 


Port Phillip has really been providing a variety of fish for anglers recently. Pretty much every fish that one would want to catch in the bay can be caught right now. From pinkies, snapper, gars, salmon, kingfish, flathead and whiting the species choices are pretty widespread, it's just a matter of picking a fish and targeting it.

James from Unreel Fishing Charters reports of insane pinkie snapper action, with plenty of fish up to 2kg around the inshore reefs. During low light conditions these fish are going nuts, with multiple rods getting smashed on every bait that hits the water. The plastic fishing for these fish has been very good too, with all of the same areas like Black rock, Williamstown and Mornington all producing heaps of fish if you're fishing plastics.


Soft plastics in the 2 - 4'' size range have been the best of the pinkies, with 'stretchier' and tougher style plastics proving to be excellent value for money, with more than a dozen fish landed on a single plastic and no signs of damage. 'Bungee baits', Zman's and Squidgy 'Biotough' are all excellent options, just pick a natural and a bright colour to suit most conditions.


While fishing baits or scented plastics around the inshore reefs, fish like red mullet can be a common bycatch. Customers Ryan and Nick have been a heap amongst the pinkies, flathead and salmon along the eastern seaboard of the bay. Normally if you are over shallower heavy reef you will start catching the red mullet, and as you push deeper to where the reef steps down you will find less of these and more pinkie snapper.


There have also been some serious salmon in the bay for a while, with big schools spotted anywhere from Black Rock through to The Rip. Most of the fish have been around 1kg in size which makes them great fun on light spinning gear, or not bad on the table if they are looked after. Small metal lures up to 15g have been working well, along with tiny, whitebait imitation soft plastics. If you manage to get one of these lures to the bottom without a salmon intercepting it, there have been sand flathead to around 40cm keen on eating it.


Further north in the bay, there have been some decent bream mixed in with the schools of pinkies. While the pinkies have been much faster to get to the baits, the numbers of open water bream have been a surprise to a few anglers. The shallow sandflats around the top end of the bay have seen bream feeding around low light conditions where they have been taking baits and lures meant for flathead. This 43cm fish was caught by customer Michael, on a 4'' soft plastic aimed at a shallow water flathead at first light.

 

While most people assume that shore based fishing isn't any good around the bays, there's been a lot of variety caught at the moment. There are many piers, rockwalls and beaches around both bays where you can catch some fish - the trick is to try and target a particular species. While this can sometimes be fruitless (that's why it's called fishing and not catching) you will generally do better if you set yourself up in search of a particular fish, instead of setting up for everything and most likely not catching much.


Around most of the piers in southern Port Phillip and Westernport there have been good numbers of yakkas. While they turn up and disappear pretty quickly, they should hang around for a while now as the reports have only recently hotted up. Portsea, Blairgowrie, Sorrento and Flinders are all worth a shot. Customer Angelo fished from Flinders pier during the week and while the squid were quiet for him, the mackerel made up for it. Small pieces of prawn fished on light gauge hooks off a paternoster rig were the go for him. Many anglers have also been catching good numbers of mackerel fishing under a float, as they tend to move about mid-water a lot. A fine grit, coarse-like berley mix is deadly when these fish are around, as it will keep the school actively feeding in your area. They can also be caught using small soft plastics fished on light weight and fine gauge jigheads.


While not normally known for whiting, fished from the shores of Port Phillip can produce some nice fish. Staff member Dylan has seen some good sized fish around Brighton and Black Rock during the week while swimming - with no one fishing for them. Fishing after dark around the top of the tide can be the most productive time, especially after a warm day. Customer Ange fished from the shore around Sandringham during the week where he caught some nice fish. Ange also found a patch of smaller pinkies, which came from a nearby reef to hammer his baits.

If you are chasing the whiting, try and target areas of sand with small patches of eelgrass or light reef nearby, and cast your baits around the edge of this structure, as the whiting will frequently patrol the edges looking for food. If it's pinkies your after, areas of heavier reef with broken sand patches are more productive, especially around last light. There are plenty of areas like around Brighton, Black Rock, Frankston and Mornington.


On the squid scene, things have been good. The warm afternoons have been good for squidding from the beaches and rocks, with Blairgowrie, Mornington and Mt Martha all producing. Customer Harry got out and fished from the beaches around Mt Martha and Mt Eliza, where he caught 8 nice squid using the Yakamito 'fluoro lemon' jig.


Around the same sort of ground off Mt Martha, customer Daniels and Jake fished in close to the shore in their kayak. A nice calm 5:30am start meant they caught prospect around the shallows without much chop and boat wake. The guys ended up with 9 squid in a few hours, on a variety of jigs in both size 2.5 and 3.0. Orange, green and purple colours worked on the day. Staff member Dylan fished in a similar area during the week to land 9 squid on size 2.5 Yamashita and Shimano jigs, with UV based blacks and pinks the standouts.

 

Well the story the past week on the whiting front from MOST people is that they have been fairly slow. The consistent reports of inconsistent fishing have been the word, but this should improve over the next week as we pass the moon. There have been anglers putting together bags of fish from their normal marks but the standout seems to have been the larger fish coming from the deeper water around the smaller tides. The quality of the fish coming from the deeper is generally always much better, and the bonus can come in the form of snapper and gummies, as most of the reports show.

Gawaine Blake has been getting some ripper whiting from the deep water around Cowes during the week, with genuine 50cm fish hitting the deck. The first hour of run in tide has been the most productive time, with squid strips the deadly bait.


Customers Zoran and Tony have been putting together numbers of whiting, in amongst pinkies, trevally, flathead and gummies by fishing deeper water. Generally you can get away with slightly larger hook and bait sizes in the deeper water as the whiting have less time to worry about picking at the baits as there are bigger mouths lurking around.

Customer Bart has been fishing up around Hastings for the whiting and has done ok considering the slower fishing. Bart has been working his way along the middle spit and tyabb banks to catch some nice whiting on pipi, with good numbers of squid coming from the same areas, following hooked whiting up to the boat. A fresh squid tentacle or strip has also helped bag the odd whiting too.

 

 

The bay has gotten a fair bit quieter over the last month with many anglers turning their attention towards whiting and gummies over in the other bay, but there still have been some nice snapper caught by anglers putting in the hard yards. Traditionally the main run of fish quieten off around Christmas, as water temperatures push up towards their optimal spawning temp range. As almost a direct opposite of what happens early season, the top end of the bay slows off, and the fish that are still actively feeding can be found further south around Mornington and Mt Martha. Customer Mick got a ripper fish just recently fishing down south.


For the guys out there still wanting to tangle with a few - the ideal locations to be looking at the moment are from Mt Eliza through to the Mt Martha spoil ground, and deep. Most of the fish being caught are in 18 - 22m, as this screenshot from earlier this week shows. The area was deep off Mornington, with good congregations of fish still keen to take baits like silver whiting and squid.

 


Westernport bay has been producing snapper this week for anglers. The fish have moved about a bit as the water temperature in the port shifts but there are still good numbers to be caught. The main areas to concentrate on have been from Stony Point through to around Rhyll with the deeper water holding good schools of fish. Customer Kevin went out and did a solo trip during the week to land fish to 3.2kg close to buoy 13 around the bottom of the tide. Squid heads were the most productive bait for him.


James Rogers from Unreel Fishing Charters has been taking customer out onto Westerport during the week in search of some of the more active snapper. James has been finding similar areas to be more productive, with the deeper water from Stony Point and Tortoise Head through to Silverleaves/Rhyll the go at the moment. Fresh squid has been hard to beat, but the deeper water off Rhyll has been doing quite well with silver whiting and pilchard also.

It is worth putting a bait down on a 9/0 or similar circle hook and 100lb leader at the moment as well, as there have been a number of school shark and smaller bronze whalers hooked in the area.

 


Reports from Port Phillip bay have been a little slow over the last few weeks. Water temperatures in the bay have reached a level where a lot of the snapper will start to spawn, so the bite has slowed down, especially from Carrum north. The better areas of late seem to be around Seaford/Frankston and further south right the way to Mount Martha, where the water temperature is a fraction cooler.

Customer Jason got his bag of snapper during his last trip out off Mt Eliza. Pilchard was the go and the 18m area was the more productive depth.


Peter and Matt McCoy have been out wide from Frankston lately where they have been getting some nice fish. The guys have been putting in the hours but have had fish come through from between 11am and 2pm, so super early starts aren't needed at present. The 18m area out from Frankston was the most productive for them, with silver whiting being the best bait.


James Rogers from Unreel Fishing Charters has found the going tough out in Port Phillip at present, but he has still been getting some nice fish. James has been concentrating out wide from Mt Eliza through to Mornington for the best results, with silver whiting and pilchard doing the job on most fish.