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.

 


While conditions have been favourable earlier during the week the squid fishing has been very good. Calm Autumn afternoons coupled with very good water clarity have had the squid going well around most of the local land based haunts. This time of the year the shallow mid-northern reef sections of Port Phillip tend to start firing as the water temperature cools down from it's Summer heat and that's where a few reports have been coming from. Most of these areas are quite shallow and littered with heavy coffee rock and reef, so picking the correct jig to suit is as important as having your rod with you.


Customer Ismail has been catching some nice squid from both Beaumaris and Black Rock jetties. Ismail has been fishing the Daiwa size 1.8 squid jigs and having success with them in these spots. These smaller more finesse jigs work well in shallow reefy areas because they tend to sink a bit slower than most small jigs, and their small profile can accurately represent the many small shrimp and baitfish on the reef. Just make sure to run a bit lighter leader strength when using these small jigs, as heavy leader can kill their 'dart' and action, and make the squid a lot less interested in them.


Staff member Dylan has been catching some squid from the shore of the bay. Dylan has been fishing around Brighton and has found some decent sized squid for the area. Dylan has been finding the late afternoon bite has been sporadic, but best around the top of the tide. Otherwise into the night the squid have been foraging over the shallow reef and sand, with one particular squid caught after casting to spraying baitfish almost right on the beach! The more productive jigs have been luminous or '490' glow Yamashita models with coloured overcloth, in size 2.5. Shallow sinking size 3.0 jigs have also caught a few the slightly smaller profile has been good when the bite is a bit slow.


From around the same area staff member George has been getting a few squid also. George has been using some larger jigs with good success but keeping them above the harsh reef can be tricky, especially if they sink a bit too fast for the area. Red foil and also natural yakka and baitfish patterns have been getting the bites, with a few larger models coming off the sand patches close by to the reef. A common theme with this form of rock squid fishing is changing jigs very often, so having them in an easy to reach squid bag is a must, along with quick-change spiral clips for effortless jig swapping in the dark.

 


While the reports haven't been coming in thick and fast, the land based action at this time of year can be excellent. Depending what you want to catch and how far you wish to travel, there are normally plenty of options.

Down along the shores of Westernport customers Matt and Brendan have been having fun with some nice table sized gummies. The areas such as Stockyard point and Tenby point have been good as has the Somers region. Freshly caught salmon, pike, yakka or squid has been excellent, otherwise pillies and frozen squid or cuttlefish have also been doing well with fish averaging around 4kg. Tides will depend on location you choose, as you won't be able to access some areas on high tides, others you will want to fish as the tide reaches it's peak.


The surf beaches have started producing some numbers of salmon, with no huge schools present at the moment but as always the larger fish seem to come through before the smaller school fish do. Peninsula beaches such as Gunnamatta and St Andrews have had some solid fish to just shy of 2kg, with early morning or late afternoon high tides the hot times. Bluebait and squid have been the best baits, but there have been a good number of fish caught on unbaited 'flasher' style rigs and surf poppers. Remember whenever you fish the beaches these types of rigs will stand out to the fish much easier than a normal rig, and increase your chances of a bite.

Customers Mark and Darren fished the beach down towards Venus bay, which has been producing better numbers of smaller school fish. The guys fished beach no.5 where they caught salmon to just under a kilo, and a couple of flatties to around 35cm. The guys found that bluebait and pipi were the best baits, with a number of fish taking the red surf popper also.


The pinkies have been fishing very well from most of the shore based locations around Port Phillip bay recently. The many rock groynes and points, along with the piers have had schools of fish anywhere from 25cm through to around 3kg. Fishing first or last light is the prime time to catch a few, but right through the night they have also been fairly active. First light has seen some better sized fish come through, with customer Sergio catching some lovely fish to nearly 2kg during the morning.


Sergio has been fishing a few different locations around the top end of the bay, with nearly all of them producing fish. He has been finding pilchard or salted mackerel fillets to be the best baits lately, with pinkies, flathead and small gummies all taking the same baits.

 

 

 


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.

 


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.

 

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.

 


For many of the famliy-based fishing over the holiday period, piers can provide some fun for the kids and adults alike. At almost every local pier you can find fish like salmon, pike, trevally and mullet. Bait fishing on the piers can be effective but lure fishing can also get you into some fish. At the moment the salmon schools are fairly good along the eastern seaboard with fish popping up from Black Rock all the way down to Dromana and Blairgowrie. 

Customer Ryan was in the boat out from Mordialloc recently where he caught some ripper salmon within casting distance of the pier. Ryan found the fish to be moving about a bit so trolling covered the ground needed to locate them. Deep trolled hardbodied lures got most of the fish when the schools went down, with lures in a pilchard blue or purple/silver colour getting the most bites. Customer Ange was fishing the pier landbased earlier this week where he was catching a few fish on bait, with this big snook coming aboard the pier on 6lb leader. Snook like this are always a shot when on the pier, especially when fishing small paddle tail soft plastics.

 

Reports from Port Phillip have been good over the last week with plenty of anglers scoring snapper. While the crowds at the ramps can be uninspiring, the quality of the fish has been good with plenty of 4-5kg fish about. The water temperature has risen to a point where the fish have been much more active, with longer bite windows and also at different stages of the day. At present the afternoon bite seems to be more productive than getting out there at 3:00am while it's still pitch black.

Customers Damien and John have been scoring some solid fish during the week, with Mt Eliza 16m and Black Rock both producing. Silver whiting have been the bait of choice over the past week. 


The Keysborough Angling Club have been enjoying the run of fish over the past week with members Peter and Dave both scoring some nice size school snapper in Port Phillip. Pillies and silver whiting have been good, with Carrum-Black Rock-Seaford region firing. Depths haven't mattered as much, with just a matter of sounding some nice marks to drop anchor on more important.

 

Port Phillip has heated up in terms of snapper activity. Up until recently the majority of bites were coming from the northern end of the bay, but now things have picked up of Carrum through to Black Rock. Customer Steve a nice 5kg fish out from Black Rock in 19m of water on silver whiting during the week.

 

Customer Ben took his father out during the week where they got into some nice school sized snapper off Carrum. Best baits were pillies and silver whiting. We have been noticing that the bite on silver whiting is much better now than it was around 10 days ago, especially out from Carrum.

When the snapper are more actively hitting harder baits like whiting they are a better target for lures. Customers Harry and Stephan were out earlier in the week where calm conditions made for some tough fishing. The boys could find fish marking but they weren't super keen to eat. On the way back in they found a small baitball and threw some small pilchard patterned flutter jigs around it to see if any salmon were about, but they ended up with a couple of nice school sized snapper. It pays to try more than one method when you're out there!

While there are still fishing going early morning, the late afternoon bite is quite good in Port Phillip even so into the night. Customer Peter fished out in 18m of water straight out off Carrum and caught fish from 3 - 5kg during the afternoon into the early night. Silver whiting and pillies did the job. Customer Chris also did well after dark out from Beaumaris during the week, where he caught fish to nearly 7kg on pilchard.