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.

 

Reports coming from Port Phillip Bay have been a bit quiet recently. There has been a run of snapper hanging around since the start of the rough 'winter' weather which has gotten a few anglers excited, but action close to home has been a bit quiet. The salmon have been showing up around some of the local piers like Frankston, Seaford and Mordi during a bit of onshore southwesterly chop. Baits of bluebait or whitebait have been good, along with small plastics and metal slugs.

Around the estuaries the bream have been touch and go with the recent rain and average weather. Baits of prawn and scrubworm have been tempting a few fish out of the Patterson River. The 'Patto' has also seen a couple of mulloway caught recently as well. Customer Ben managed 2 in a session recently using plastics, with the bigger fish measuring 80cm.

Over towards Altona customer Tony reports of some reasonable squid fishing in close, with size 3.0 jigs doing the damage. Tony also caught some nice sized flatties on strips of freshly caught squid out deep.

 

Reports from Port Phillip Bay have been quieter recently, and with the average Melbourne is now having it doesn't seem like much will change. The rough onshore weather has brought schools of salmon along the eastern side of the bay however, with Seaford, Frankston and Mordialloc piers all producing fish. Staff member Don went for a landbased session hopping between the piers and managed to get a heap of salmon and also couta on a mixture of lures including Yakamito Angry Baits and Squidgy plastics. The strong southwesterly winds make the fishing a bit difficult but the fish are there.

Down the bottom end of the bay the squid have been going well up until the recent rough weather. Mornington pier has been good fos amaller squid if you have the right jigs, and Portsea and Sorrento have also been good for larger squid. Customer Shane fished down the southern end of the bay recently to find some nice squid using green grass whiting pattern Yamashita jigs in size 3.5.

 

The bay has been fishing hot and cold for a mixture of species recently. Winter species like gars and salmon have started making an appearance, along with runs of mullet and the odd mulloway in the rivers. Customer Michael had another successful outing on the mulloway during the week, with a school sized fish taking a bait of fresh squid. Around the river mouths of the Patterson and Yarra there have also been schools of smaller sized salmon which are providing fun for anglers of all skill levels. Most of the salmon have been around 400g but there has been a few much bigger fish of 1.5kg+ caught from the same areas, along with the foreshore of Frankston and Mornington. Baits of bluebait and whitebait fished under a float have been effective, along with small metal lures and soft plastics. Customer Michael recently fished the mouth of the Patterson river with pearl white coloured Squidgy Flickbaits to land a heap.

 

The squid have still been active in the bay recently with some calmer weather. The southern end of the bay has still been where most of the action is, and the northern section of the bay should start to improve the further we get into winter. From Mornington south towards Portsea the fishing has been the best, with Sorrento and Portsea being hotspots at the moment. Customer Damien fished out from Sorrento around the 'Sisters' in 8m of water where good numbers of solid squid were caught on larger 3.5 size jigs. Aggressive colours like 'nemo' worked the best. Down at Portsea pier on the weekend, customer Nigel caught some nice squid on red foil based 3.5 and 3.0 sized jigs.

 

The top end of he bay has been overrun with small pinkies at present, from Williamstown through to Frankston. Virtually every section of reef has got loads of these ferocious fish on it. The main trouble has been getting through the small fish to the better size models underneath. The larger fish have been around 1 - 1.5kg and have been taking baits of pilchard, squid and saury. Customer Ryan fished for the pinkies from the piers over near Williamstown recently to land a heap using small soft plastics. Ryan found crab and worm imitations were the best when fished lightly weighted around the structure.

Further down around Seaford and Frankston there have been a few garfish caught from the shore. While numbers haven't been super, anglers specifically targeting them using maggots and silverfish have been getting a few. Fine grain berley has also been the key.

 

Down along the Peninsula the squid fishing has been good, with the piers and rocks both producing. Mornington, Blairgowrie and Sorrento piers have been fishing well for average sized squid. Mornington and Blairgowrie piers have been much better with small jigs in the 1.8 - 2.5 size range, with Sorrento fishing best on Yamashita 3.5D jigs in red foil and dark greens. Staff member Dylan fished from the rocks down near Mt Martha recently where squid to 1kg were caught using a mixture of 3.5 shallow and standard sink rates. Glow belly and dark green/black jigs were the best on the day.

 

The estuaries running into the bay have also been coughing up a few school sized mulloway for anglers putting in the time and effort recently. Most of the fish have been from 60 - 80cm, with a few bigger fish mixed in also. Live mullet, squid and even saury have been effective baits, along with soft plastics in the 3 - 5" size. Patterson River, Yarra and Maribyrnong have all seen some action of late. Customer John has been catching a few around the traps using mainly mullet for bait late during the night.

Down around the entrance/rip area the kingfish have been running hot. Anglers fishing live and dead baits, jigs, soft plastics and also trolled hardbodies have all caught fish - with the fish deciding on what they want on the day. Most of the fish caught have been around the legal size, with a few here and there pushing 10kg and some real thumpers at 12kg+ caught by persistent anglers trying all methods. Customer Edly went out and got into a few good fish out the front on a mixture of squid and also on the jigs just recently.  

If you're wanting to catch a snapper in Port Phillip bay, now is pretty much the best time to get out there! In the last couple of weeks the water temperature has risen to around the same temperature as Bass Strait, and that is when the snapper feed a lot more actively. The peak times are still generally the early morning bite, with the first few hours of daylight being the best. However in saying that, with current temperatures the fish are also feeding more throughout the day with midday and afternoon bite windows as well. 

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been smashing the snapper with customers, with some thumpers coming aboard. James has found fish anywhere from 16 - 22m out from Frankston and Carrum, with big schools of fish out deep. James sent in a pic of his Furuno screen lighting up on a massive school of fish, with hookups of up to 10 fish at a time off schools similar to the one in the photo. If you can find them and present baits to them more than likely they will go off!

Customer Zoran went out off Carrum on the weekend where he fished in 17m of water. Zoran had some prime quality WA pilchards out and by the time the 4th rod was in the water the first one went off. Zoran kept 3 fish in the 3 - 4kg mark for a feed and headed in. Customer Be fished out wide of Black Rock just recently, where he got on the sounder and looked for a few better sized fish than the school fish in close to the reef. Be got out to about 17m of water when he marked a few nice fish, and bagged a good one at around 4kg on fresh squid head. 

Customer Bill had a look around Black Rock last weekend in the 16m area and grabbed two nice fish around the 6kg mark on fresh squid heads. The 15-17m area wide of Black Rock has been consistent over the last week. Customer Mana caught some salmon in close from Oliver's Hill last Saturday and then ventured out around Wooleys' reef in search of a red. After berleying up with cubed pilchards, Mana threw out a few rods with pilchard rigged on 6/0 circles and managed a couple of nice fish.

Compleat Angler Ringwood staff member Steve went out with a mate just recently in Port Phillip looking for a snapper, and out from Black Rock was a good area for them. Fish to 6kg came aboard using pilchard, cuttlefish and squid. Neil from Noble Park Angling Club took his son Nelson out on the bay last weekend to see if he could catch him a snapper. After a bit of cubing, a couple of the rods went off and resulted in Nelson's first snapper at 3kg. The fish were caught out in 17m off Chelsea and took pillies. 

As snapper season starts to heat up more and more the fish (especially more so in port phillip) will have longer and more frequent bite 'windows' which is good news for all snapper anglers. Most anglers out there will be targeting the reds with bait fishing techniques, but artificial lures also work very well on them when used in the right scenario. You can catch snapper on plastics and other lures in virtually any area that you would normally catch them on bait, the trick is to use the right equipment. The main feature for catching snapper on plastics consistently is having a high quality, light weight graphite rod and compact but powerful reel spooled with quality braid. Snapper will soon find faults in your outfit, so having a very smooth drag along with good quality fluorocarbon leader and quality jigheads is the only way to go. 

Customer Alex has been landing fish to around 4kg on lures while out in his kayak from the northern end of the bay. Alex has also had larger fish on that have rubbed him off and chewed through heavy leader. Recently Alex has had to use 40lb leader to keep hooked fish from hitting structure. Soft plastics have been the order for Alex, with 4'' flickbaits and worm patterns doing well. 

Customer Daniel has also been out during the week chasing the snapper on plastics. Most of the fish Daniel has been catching have been around the Ricketts Point area, with 4'' plastics getting hit more often than larger presentations. 

Squid fishing around the bay has been good recently for anglers from the shore, kayak, or in the boat. Most of the usual haunts are producing squid, from one side of the bay to the other. There have been some nice squid coming from the top of the bay around Altona and Williamstown, as staff member Ian found out. Ian fished over the weekend with mate Bruce in search of a few squid and possibly a snapper. Ian fished in various locations from Williamstown to Altona and down to St Leonards, with squid coming from all locations. Various jigs worked best, including size 3.0 Gesolas and Yamashita Sutte-R. The most successful depths were around the 4m mark, with the ultra shallow too glassed off during the day. After catching their squid, Ian and Bruce moved out a bit deeper in search of a snapper, but with no avail. They did however land a few good sized flathead and salmon on snatcher style rigs fished with fresh squid. 

Along the southeastern side of the bay, staff member Kozi reports some good numbers of squid coming from Bighton, Beaumaris and Mornington piers. While Brighton can be a bit patchy, darker coloured jigs work well when there hasn't been too much angler traffic along the pier. Staff member Dylan has caught some nice squid to around 1kg from Beaumaris during the week, with dark coloured Yoshikawa jigs in size 3.0 working the best.

Australian salmon have been thick in the bay at the moment, with schools being caught along both east and west sides of the bay. Customer Ryan reports that Beaumaris bay through to Sandringham has been boiling with fish to 2.5kg on some days. While the salmon may not be visible some days, they are more than likely working 'deep' and harassing bait schools that aren't on the surface. Ryan has been out in his kayak and has found a few patches of fish pushing bait towards the surface, where he has been smashing a few with soft plastics. Whitebait imitation soft plastics in the 2 - 4" size have been dynamite, especially in white/pale yellow/pink colours.

Further down along Frankston and Seaford there have also been salmon working along the shoreline. Staff member Kozi has been down on more than one occasion and has done well on fish around 1kg on flickbait style plastics around 3" in length. Days with a strong southwesterly wind have brought the fish right in close to shore.  

It might sound funny that the days are starting to get warmer and, coincidentally so are the snapper reports. The increase in sunshine slowly warms the water temperature, to the point where the snapper will feed for longer. At the moment, the temperature along the eastern side of Port Phillip is hovering around 14.5 - 15C, which is starting to fire the snapper up. The fish will generally go from a very short and fickle early morning bite to hitting the baits with more gusto as the month rolls along. Towards the end of the month we will see more frequency in their bite windows, with morning and afternoon sessions seeing some action. Customers Peter and Matt went out from Frankston earlier in the week in search of a red, and the morning bite saw them land 2 nice fish at 65 and 67cm. The guys were fishing out along the 16m line, and their pilchard and fresh squid head baits both went off at around 7:30am.

Staff member Dylan went out on Friday morning with customer Dave, in search of a couple of reds on the plastics. Laucnhing from Mordialloc, they fished out around Ricketts Point and Beaumaris Bay to land a nice fish of 3.2kg, amongst a heap of smaller fish. Best depths were 6 - 9m of water, with small plastics working much better than large offerings. Zman grubs and jerkbaits in the 2.5 - 4" size have been good, as there are lots of schools of small baitfish around. With lots of small baitfish in the bay, the snapper have been opportunistic - feeding on this bait. Because of this, a lot of school sized fish have very sharp, pointy canine teeth, as you can see in the photo. If you're bait fishing, make sure you beef up your leader to at least 60lb - and 40lb up if using fluorocarbon.  

Most anglers fishing Port Phillip at the moment are seeing red. Pinky snapper are very prolific at the moment and are being caught in just about every corner of the bay. The better areas have been around any reef structure but these fish will also cruise around over sand and mud if the food is there. The hotspots recently have been around Williamstown and Brighton through to Beaumaris Bay, and then again from Frankston through to Mt Martha. 

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has found the fishing for pinkies excellent over the last month, with some nice fish caught again this week. James is having no troubles finding fish in the 40cm size range for his customers - with the odd fish up around 1.5 - 2.5 kg finding the baits as well. James says that constant moving has been the key to finding active schools of fish, and having a good supply of baits has been helpful as well. Baits of salted pilchard along with squid and cuttlefish have been excellent, especially when fished lightly weighted on 2/0 circle hooks. More often than not they are smashed before they hit the bottom. 

While there have been plenty of smaller fish about, there are also good numbers of better sized 'snapper' between 4 - 7kg that have been roaming about. Not as many anglers have been targeting these fish, but they are around. Mt Martha, Carrum and Williamstown are good areas to search, with baits of pilchard or fresh squid.