Snapper season is apon us! No, the fish aren't going red hot but they are out there to be caught! Water temperatures in the bay are hovering around 11.0 - 11.7C, so things are happening but not as mental as they will be! A few weeks of milder weather should start to run good and proper.

Captain Bill from Mornington snagged a nice fish around 4kg during the week fishing out wide off Mornington. There have been patches of fish sitting around 19 - 20m in this area as they come in.


The northern sections of the the bay have been producing snapper for keen anglers, as the water feeding from the Yarra brings a slight warmth to this end of the bay. Customers John and Bashir fished out from St Kilda during the week to land a few nice 5kg using fresh gars.

Across in westernport there have been a few fish caught in the normal 'early season' locations. The port holds a bit more warmth, especially in the north-eastern sections. Customers Johnny and Thao got out a few nights ago and braved the wind to score a nice fish from the top of the north arm around Yaringa. The boys fished in 11m of water and scored the fish on frozen squid.

HOT SPOT: If you're keen to try for a snapper either the top end of Port Phillip, 12 - 15m around St Kilda is worth a shot. For the westernport angler the northern Corinella mudflats are worth a good look. Stay under 11m. Squid and pilchard are the choice for early baits.

 

 

 


The salmon have no signs of slowing up, whether you're on the ocean beaches or bayside around the piers and river mouths. September is normally a good time of year to be chasing them for prime snapper baits, as spring wind and rain keep them about. On the beach scene, Venus Bay is still the spot, with customer Mark still smashing the fish on bait and lure. Mark has said that this is the best salmon season he has had in the last few years at least.


A bit further down the road along the 90 mile beach customer Michael has been enjoying some quality salmon fishing. Michael came in store to stock up and decided to try out some 'bungee grubs' among flasher rigs and extra surf poppers, and he wasn't let down. Fishing in a local competition, Michael ended up taking out the title and gaining the attention from surrounding anglers when his huge salmon were landed on the grubs. Needless to say Michael was well and truly sold on the idea of plastics in the surf for the salmon, especially when they're crab-proof!


Around the local piers the salmon have been making their presence felt, with schools popping up left, right and center along the shores of the bay. Up towards the mouth of the Yarra the fish have been roaming about in the dirty water eating anything unfortunate to be in their path. The piers around the Williamstown esplanade have been producing fish to 1.5kg when fished with small, whitebait imitating soft plastics. Customer Lilong fished around the top end of the bay and over the other side across to Bawron to land fish just under 2kg on a mixture of metal jigs and hardbodies when conditions were windy, and soft plastics when the wind was down.


From the mouth of the Patterson river right down to Blairgowrie the salmon schools have been pushing baitfish right in close where they are being caught from shore. The fish from Carrum to Frankston have been on the smaller side averaging half a kilo, while down the southern end of the bay there have been some monsters caught. One of the larger fish we've heard of weighed a genuine 4kg! At this size they're serious opponents and will strain most muscles to aching point.

Customer Tony fished from Blairgowrie during the windier conditions last week to land fish up to about 2.5kg. Tony found that the fish were picky and only wanted baits fished back to them, with each fish coughing up berley to keep the rest around. Customer Jerome also fished the pier this week where he found some salmon to 2kg in amongst the moorings. The fish were actively cruising and ate small, baitfish imitating hardbodies and metal lures when a long cast was needed. Lures with pink/white patterns imitate the small prat and baitfish well. 

 

 


Many land based anglers have been making the most of the pinkies lately with no shortage of excellent eating size fish about. Just about any pier, beach or rockwall along the eastern side of the bay with some reef nearby is worth having a look at, especially after a few days of strong westerly winds. Customer Steve has been getting a few around the traps with fish to 45cm pretty common place, and ideal for the plate!


Customer Kien has been making the most of the large numbers of pinkies that have been about over the winter. Kien has been fishing Victoria Harbour or the 'Docklands' for his fish, with many fish around 40cm landed and some larger up to 2.5kg. The most effective bait has been the humble pilchard, fished on a running rig. Heavier leader has been useful when fishing the harbour as there are many barnacle encrusted posts and objects for the fish to break off against.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been having some fun on the school sized pinkies out in the bay. James has found the numbers of nice table fish to be very good, with plenty of happy customers taking home a feed of fish. Most of the larger fish have been found out from the reef a bit further, as the big schools normally hold tight to the reef for cover. Having a quality sounder to locate the small patches of fish is vital, and once found smaller baits of pilchard and squid on 2/0 sized hooks have been deadly.

While it may not seem it yet, snapper season is just around the corner. There have already been some scattered reports of solid fish around towards the southern end of the bay. Most of the southern land based spots - Mornington Pier, Mt Martha Rocks will be worth fishing from now on - especially for a 'trophy' fish. Regardless the fish aren't far away, so it's the time to get your gear organized for the season.

 


Most anglers don't realize but the winter fishing for both pinkies and snapper can be excellent. While numbers of fish aren't as thick as say October, the rewards are certainly there for anglers braving the cold conditions. There have been fish scattered all over the bays bu the real hot spot for numbers of fish has been the top end of Port Phillip. The reefy areas from Black Rock further north right up into the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers have been the better spots to focus on.  Most of the fish have been from 35 - 50cm but ththere have been much larger fish about.

Customer Maresi caught a ripper fish from Lagoon pier recently under the cover of darkness. Not much details are known about the capture but either way landing a big snapper sure beats staying at home!


The typical schooling size fish from the Docklands region have been on the chew lately, with both bait and lures getting bites. Productive baits have been pilchard and salmon fillets, fished on twin snelled 1/0 hooks. If you are able to cast baits like this unweighted you will be much more successful, as the fish will aggressively take the bait as it slowly wafts down. The same can be said with soft plastics - heavily weighted jigheads might gain extra casting distance but they all snag up much quicker and don't attract as many bites on 'the drop' like lighter weights do. Small 3 inch grub and paddletail style plastics are proving very effective at the moment, especially through the afternoon into night.


Customer Ryan has been catching plenty of fish in the 40cm size range from the Docklands and nearby piers, on both lure and bait. Ryan's more successful bait lately has been small strips and fillets of Australian salmon, which have also been plentiful.

Customer Jake has also been catching quite a few good sized pinkies while chasing bream in the metro rivers on lures. The lower sections of the Maribyrnong and Yarra have been holding good sized schools which have been responding well to worm style soft plastics. As these schools have been moving with the tide, having a depth sounder capable of locating them without too much fuss s the best way to maximize your fishing time.

 


Not that many people realize, but the snapper in the bay have been worth fishing for whether you're landbased or from the boat. Winter sees some snapper hang around, but many angler associate Spring with snapper fishing. At the moment there aren't as many fish about as in Spring, but they are generally good size and there to be caught in you're willing to target them. Many of the piers along the Eastern side of the bay have been worth a shot, with customer Kong claiming a nice 4kg fish for himself just a few nights ago from Mordi.


The piers with heavy reef nearby have been the go, as the fish will graze over the reef and onto the sand and mud nearby during rougher weather, especially during the night or low light periods. Piers worth a look at the moment have been; Mordialloc, Beaumaris, Black Rock, Brighton, Kerford Road and the multiple structures at Williamstown and right up into the Yarra itself. If boat fishing is more your thing, the extensive reef from Ricketts through to Brighton has been good, along with Victoria Harbour, or better known as 'Docklands'.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has recently been having a ball on school sized snapper and pinkies from Black Rock all the way north to the docks. James has gotten stuck into the schools of fish that have been hanging about in the harbour, with fish to 4kg coming out. Baits of fresh squid or small pilchards have been excellent when fished on smaller 2/0 suicide style hooks and very little weight.

 


The bream fishing has been good around Melbourne over the last week as the water temperature has cooled off slightly with the weather we've had. While many anglers go about their bream fishing on a day to day basis, now is almost the perfect time to be out chasing them. The fish are still super active as there is an abundance of food items, but the water in the shallows isn't too hot making them lethargic.

Customer Aaron and partner Borom caught and released some bream just recently. They used a mixture of offerings with small freshwater yabbies on 'C10U' hooks working well, along with lightly weighted Zman grubs.


Customer Jordan fished with mates in the Patto over the weekend where they landed some nice bream. The guys caught 5 nice fish with most between 32 - 40cm. A finesse rig with ultra light running sinker and light leader brought the fish undone, with the humble scrubworm being the bait of choice.


Customer Ryan has also been catching some nice bream around the metro rivers. Ryan has been sticking with a simple approach, fishing landbased around the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers and using only lures. Small single tail grubs have been the most effective when fished on jigheads up to 1/12th in weight. Natural coloured plastics smeared in bloodworm scent have been getting eaten by most fish especially when fished around pontoons, bridges and litter traps that line the metro rivers.

 


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.

 

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.

 

Well it's been a fairly slow start to the snapper season in Port Phillip Bay, as most would agree. The fish have been scattered and the bulk of the catches have been coming from the northern end of the bay between Altona deep and Brighton. Over the last week or so the fish have pushed a bit further south and the mud out off Carrum is starting to see a few more reports. As we reach the peak of the warm weather over the next week the reports should get better and better.

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been following the fish around a bit and while the top of the bay around P is still producing fish, there are more and more fish between Carrum - Black Rock every day. Most of James' captures over the last few days have been in the Aspendale 14 - 18m area through to 16m off Black Rock. Pilchards are proving ever reliable.


Customer Mark has also been finding the fish out from Carrum. Mark has had fish to 5kg over the past week, with depths of 12 - 18m all holding fish. Some of these groups haven't been feeding but once you find the right patch of fish pretty soon you'll know that they're feeding. Pillies again have been the go-to.

 

 

 

 


While the weather can be starting to get a little cold for some, land based fishing around Melbourne has it's options at the moment. In some cases you don't have to travel any more than about half an hour from the suburbs to get into some good fishing. Up towards the top end of the bay there have been some nice bream and pinkies moving about, with customer Robin having some good success in the city itself. Robin found plenty of small bream willing to attack baits along with some nice chunky an sized pinkies. Robin had a bit of fun on these fish on the light gear and in the 'upside down' river. 


Further down towards Black Rock customer Steve got a pleasant surprise when he hooked up to this ripper flathead from the beach. This beauty measured 63cm, not bad for from the shore! Around the piers on the Eastern seaboard there has been some good salmon fishing on the rougher days, with fish to 1kg reasonably common. Small soft plastics in natural whites and blues have been getting there attention, along with metal slugs in the same colours and occasionally bluebait and whitebait under a float. When the salmon haven't been around, there have also been reasonable numbers of garfish hanging about. Generally the calmer conditions have been more favourable for the gars, and once you have established a good quality fine berley trail you can normally pick up a few. Silverfish, prawn and maggots have been the go recently, with finely balanced floats ensuring that you can see any slight touch from the fish.