The snapper reports are starting to filter through, not that we have had ideal weather for many anglers to get out. The next 3 or so weeks will see an increase of anglers on the water as the AFL finishes up, so the bays will be a bit quieter traffic wise until then. There are still anglers getting out amongst the fish now though, as customer Chris has been. Chris has been fishing the top end of Westernport, which is known to be more productive early in the season. Chris was searching around for a larger fish in water where they are known to be caught at this time of year. A short 15 minutes after marking a good fish, Chris had a rod on and landed a cracker that weighed 9.1kg clean. The big fish was a sucker for a fresh bait near Joe's Island.

HOT SPOT: The top end of Westernport is the place to be. The area from Joe's Island around to Spit Point is a good area to be looking for a BIG snapper. The fish in the area will be grazing over the mudflats looking for crabs, mantis shrimp and whatever else they can find. While this area of the bay can seen a bit daunting with it's extensive 'high and dry' regions, if you plan your venture around a neap low tide you should be fine. Fresh baits are king here, with their scent trail wafting through the discoloured channels.

 


The local bream population had gone a bit quiet with the clear green water in most of the estuaries and lakes, and bream reports were quite low. The fish get cagey in the clean water and go off the bite a little bit, or regulate their feeding to low light times or when there is strong winds. With the recent small bit of rain we have received the fish lower their guard and bit a bit easy-'er' to tempt. Not that the weather mattered much to customer John. John and mate Bashir fished the Tambo river in Gippsland to land some nice clean bream. The guys found that live shrimp and fresh prawn were the most effective when fished along the river bank drop offs.


Back in the Patto, customer Tony has been catching a few nice fish. Tony has been fishing early morning around first light and this is when he has been catching most of his fish. Small live freshwater yabbies have been effective, but they must be fished on ultra-fine gauge hooks and light leader, with little or no sinker. The fish will sense if the yabby is impeded by a heavy hook, thick line and 'anchor' of a sinker stopping it from acting natural.


Customer Ange has also been catching a few bream in the Patto with some mates. The guys have been lurecasting from their kayaks, which off the ultimate stealth approach to these flighty fish. The most effective lures of late have been 'ned-rigged' soft plastics, and small slow sinking hardbodies. These lures are best fished with very small 'pops' of the rod tip to create a kick but not scare the fish. Most bites will come as the lure or plastic has stopped or settled on the bottom.

HOT SPOT: The Patto will continue to fish well after more rain this week, especially around the first flood gate. Just remember to scent up your lures and baits as the water turns murky.

 


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.

 

 

 


There have been quality squid around for anglers in search of them. Spring is traditionally known as a good time for big squid, as they come into the shallows to spawn. Both bays have good numbers of squid moving around to spawn and as with squid fishing, moving about to find the numbers is part of the game. Staff member Dylan noticed big numbers of 'paired' squid up around Black Rock, with many well over a kilo - and no one fishing for them. With no jigs on board things were always going to be tricky, but they are there to be caught! 


Customer Carlo fished out around Queenscliff to land some nice half kilo models on the shallow grass beds. Natural coloured jigs and UV whites were the most consistent on the day.Customer Ryan has also been catching some nice squid in a few areas. Ryan has found the Rye/Sorrento area has been good for numbers but the better sized models have been coming from Portsea - Queenscliff in the deeper water. To fish this deeper water effectively, 'deep' sinking jigs must be used, or the addition of a nose or chin weight to get the jig down in the current.


Customer Josh fished with mates out around Queenscliff recently and scored a good bag of squid. The clear and calm conditions were ideal for squid fishing with size 3.0 Hayabusa V3 jigs doing the best. Bright colours with inbuilt abalone flash were excellent at getting the attention of the squid in the clear water.

HOT SPOT: Flinders has always been the 'big squid' location but with ocean and southern port temperatures still cool now is the time to search for that big one. Fishing from the pier you want size 3.5 standard sink rate jigs, and 3.5 deep models if in the boat or kayak. Constantly changing colours and patterns and keeping an eye out for large numbers of bait is a good way to increase your odds with many anglers around.

 


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. 

 

 


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.

 


The weekend and past few days has seen a heap of anglers out making the most of the calm weather, with quite a few out targeting squid in both bays. Early spring is a popular time to be out squid fishing and many anglers will be out starting to collect baits for the looming snapper season.

Land based there have been plenty of options, with virtually all of the bayside piers running clear and cold. Customer Joh and friends fished from Beaumaris pier over the weekend and although the flat, sunny daytime conditions were almost too good - they scored some 'normal' sized squid for here. Size 2.5 and 3.0 jigs are the go, with red foil/pinks working well at the top of the tide in the bright sunlight.


Customer Emmanuel took the tinny out for a run in Westernport's top end in search of some squid - and some nice models were found. Drifting the mid depth sections of quail bank was the go, with a bright pink and orange jig getting the job done. Again flat water and clear conditions the brighter colours are standing out.

Customer John fished with his father and sister out from Hastings to score some ripper squid over the weekend. John's sister Alexandra scored her personal best squid with a ripper from along tyabb bank.


John and his family have now got some good meals and early snapper baits sorted!

 

 

 


The garfish have been about in pretty good numbers over the last week or so, and withe the calmer weather the past few days many anglers have been making the most of these tasty fish. While they have, and are about along virtually all of the eastern seaboard of the bay, there have been a few 'hot spots' the past couple of days. The locations worth having a look while the weather has been calmer have been Beaumaris, Frankston and Mornington. Mornington has been the most popular location of late, with a plethora of anglers flocking to the 'small' pier and inner harbour to catch a bag - with some fish up to the 40cm mark.


Staff member Don has been catching numbers of gars from Mornington and Frankston piers. Don has been using small silverfish as the main bait, with a mixture of float setups. The float and bait size will vary on how the fish are biting - and the honest info is make sure you have the gear to change up when required.

Berley, and fine 'mist' style berley is a must. Unless you like watching others catch around you! Berley is what will keep the school hanging around, while the correct hook pattern for your chosen bait is equally important. A mixture of different weighted floats is the other critical bit of gear, and some days your heavily weighted float will only dip or roll when a fish bites, and will prevent you from setting the hook. The difference between slight gear and rig modifications is a full bucket!

 


While it's still early days - there are snapper out there to be caught! The weather we have had over the past month hasn't helped any anglers to get out, but with some nice weather over the weekend the odd fish was caught. While the fish aren't and won't be red hot for a while, the chance of a better fish of 6-7kg is a greater, with larger fish a real possibility. These fish aren't as active as they will be once the water warms up, but they are certainly worth the effort.

Baits of freshly caught squid or pilchard are hard to beat early season, with the odd fish falling to a fresh flesh bait of mackerel or couta. Other options in tricking snapper are various lures. While many dismiss them as 'ineffective' they can be deadly - given that you've picked the right one for your scenario. While soft plastics are the most popular option, excellent early season offerings are deep running hardbodies and hybrid softvibes. Deep running trolled lures bring out the 'savage' nature of a snapper, with bone crushing and rod-jolting strikes. The advantage of slowly fishing a lure such as a softvibe along the bottom is that the snapper can hunt using their lateral line, with subtle vibrations coming from the lure imitating a small struggling baitfish or crustacean. Jarrod Day has found the softvibe option to be particularly effective early season on schooling reds.


Out in westernport the fish have been there for the taking. Customer Johnny got out for an early look around the upper reaches of westernport and was rewards with a nice 6kg fish for his efforts. Freshly caught squid was the bait of choice sitting shallow in the murky water.


Not too far away, customer Jo managed to land a lovely 6kg+ fish from a westernport back channel. The solid fish was caught not far from Elizabeth Island, and squid did the job.

So while we're just leaving winter, start getting organized for the snapper as the season will be here in full swing sooner than you know!