With some warm weather present over the past week, things have heated up on the snapper front. Both bays are producing quality fish with 4-5kg common. Another 3 weeks or so and things should be almost red hot, but there are fish out there ready to catch now! Bill from Mornington got out and scored a nice 4kg fish in 18m on pilly. The Mornington area has been well worth a shot especially out in the 18-22m area.


Customer Mana scored a ripper fish at 7.8kg out from Mornington also in 21m towards the channel. Mana caught the fish on pilchard and had to bring the fish via handlining method as the braid-spooled reel knocked into freespool and caused a massive knot which meant the fish had to be retrieved old school style!


Out in Westernport the fish have been going fairly well, but the hoards of anglers haven't flocked to many areas of the port just yet. The 'top end' is the place to be concentrating - with the area around Joe's Island attracting numbers of anglers and also producing some nice fish. The surrounding channels have been harbouring fish to 8kg, with many around the 5kg mark also. Customers Jason and Brent were fishing the area over the weekend and caught fish around the 5kg mark using freshly caught yakkas.


The deeper water out from Rhyll and Cowes has been holding some nice fish with some good gummies mixed in. Fishing in 18m of water around 'Silverleaves' is a pretty good way to connect to a nice fish at present. Customer Johnny has been landing fish to 6kg from the area on freshly caught squid. Silver whiting can be a good bait option here also and pilchards are just plain silly to forget also!


A bit further around towards Warneet there have also been some nice fish caught. The shoals of Bagge Harbour and Long Reef at Lysaughts have had fish to 8kg popping up, with the shallower areas producing the better fish. Customer Zac has been having fun on fish to 7.5kg out along the area between 8 and 15m. Pilchard, squid and pike have all accounted for fish this week.

 

 

The land based fishing around the bay has been good for quite a few different species lately, whether you're after some fresh baits or for some fresh fish for the dinner table. The salmon have been moving about, and while not as thick as they are during the cooler months there have still been enough about to normally get in to a few. Customer Brendan got into a heap at the mouth of the Patto recently on soft plastics. Brendan found that small paddle tail soft plastics under 3 inches were the most effective when fished on light jigheads.  During the calmer conditions the fish will push deeper and need to be fished with more finesse, and this is when plastics will outfish most other offerings.


Customer Frank also found some solid salmon fishing around Mornington. Frank again found small plastics the most effective when the other lures went quiet. Some of the salmon around the southern end of bay have been 1.5kg upwards. Around the same areas, especially inside the calmer harbours and coves the garfish have still been about. Not many anglers have been chasing them but some quality fish have been about. Staff member Don has been fishing for gars around Mornington and back to Frankston and he has seen some larger models. As usual, fine berley and very small pieces of silverfish have been the go - with size 14 hooks getting a lot more bites than bigger hooks.


Nearer to the ocean beaches, there have still some large salmon showing up. Beach fishing anglers have slowed off but there have been fish upwards of 3kg hanging around the gutters and headlands from Port Phillip heads down to Punchbowl. Customer Robin was fishing one of his usual areas around Phillip Island and found plenty of thick fish to 2.5kg. Bluebait fished on flasher style paternoster rigs with small squid skirts added got all the bites.


Around the shallower sections of the bay the flathead have starting moving in. Now is actually a good time to target these tasty fish as they push inshore and are hungry and hunting. There are a few species of flathead on offer for anglers also, with rock, sand and yank flathead all available. Customer Ryan found some nice rock flathead from the piers around the top end of the bay - with Brighton and St Kilda both productive. Small paddle tail plastics like the Megabass Hazedong Shads were super effective when fished on 1/8oz jigs. Staff member Dylan also good numbers of sand flathead to 41cm in close along the Seaford - Frankston area. 2.8'' ribbed style paddle tails accounted for every fish, with more than 30 fish caught in the space of a few hours.

 

 


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.

 


The calm weather we've been receiving bayside has been great for doing a spot of gar fishing. The normal trend around the eastern shoreline piers is garfish during calmer weather, and salmon disrupting all this when rougher conditions push their food withing herding proximity of the shoreline. The gar hot spots of late have been anywhere from Brighton to Frankston, with Seaford and Frankston the two more popular options. Silverfish and small pieces of prawn have been good baits, and as usual fine mist berley is key - if you're not packing a good berley you may as well stay home!


Customer Stephen has been down at Frankston trying his luck on the gars and has found some quality fish. The fish were feeding right up high in the water and unless you adjusted your rig to suit you wouldn't get a bite. Stephen used silverfish on a size 12 hook with a finely weighted small 'aaa' float equipped with chemical light to see the subtle bites.

Being able to see the smallest movement in your float can mean the difference between landing now fish and getting a few on the pier. Adding or removing shot to your rig to get it to sit perfect is paramount, and one of the reason we go on about certain float setups so much!

 

The garfish have been steady around the piers and breakwalls of Port Phillip. They seem to go under the radar but the anglers looking for them can be seen as regulars along said land based locations. The good sized gars seem to have stayed about in numbers since winter, and hopefully they hang around for most of the year this year. The reports this week are a little patchy with slightly rougher onshore conditions, but the next calm day should see regulars out bagging some again. The whole eastern seaboard of Port Phillip has been producing, but the area of Seaford - Mornington seems to have been more consistent. Captain Bill from Mornington went out and got an excellent bag of fish in the shallows just recently


The key for catching numbers of gars is to have the right consistency berley, and to have your float and rig dialed in. The gar bite can be very aggressive at times, or super timid to the point where you will barely see your float move. If you have a finely balanced and buoyant float, and slight tipping or movement will give the fishes presence away.

Staff member George has been getting a few fish from Seaford and Frankston piers at night, with super finesse rigged floats getting bites where others didn't. Baits of choice were silverfish and small pieces of prawn.


 


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.

 


There has been some good fishing for garfish this week, with most of the shallow inshore areas holding good numbers of fish. Many of the shallow sandy bays from the top end around St Kilda all the way down to Portsea have been producing fish, with fish varying from pencil sized right the way through to over 40cm. Most of the piers have been producing these tasty fish but the more popular areas have been Seaford, Frankston and Rye. Generally these piers over sandier ground seem to fish better, especially once you have gotten them berleyed up. The daylight hours have seen the gars biting best, but they can still be caught after dark if you have them berleyed up and hanging around as the sun goes down.


Customer Tas has been fishing in close out the front of Mordialloc to land some nice fish. Silverfish has been the best bait for him with some of the bigger gars eating full silverfish on size 10 hooks. 

 


The last few weeks have seen some good garfish activity locally, with the piers producing a few for the anglers chasing them. There have been numbers to catch if you're fishing inshore in a boat or kayak, but most of the reports have been coming from the piers and rock groynes around the eastern side of the bay. Berley is a must when targeting these fish as without it you may only get 1 or 2, whereas the use of a fine mix berley trail can result in good bags of these tasty fish.

Customer Dragon fished Frankston pier earlier this week where he got a great bag of fish. Both silverfish and maggots worked equally well when fished on size 14 hooks.


Staff member Don has also been out on the gars as well with his family. Fishing from Frankston pier over the weekend, Don managed a nice feed of gars, with silverfish being the more productive bait. A fine grit berley mixture keep going helped keep the fish biting while there were people jumping off the pier and swimming around it.

 

 


While normally slipping under the radar amongst all the other fishing to be done over the summer months, there have been some ripper gars about. While a lot of anglers overlook them as a target, the beauty of them is they can be caught land based or boat. Most of the shallow inshore areas of both bays and all of our other estuaries will hold gars, it's just a matter of getting numbers of them to hang around. A bit of berley normally gets them going and they are a brilliant eating fish to add to the day's bag.

Pier fishing for gars in the bay has been good around Brighton, Sandringham, Beaumaris, Frankston and Dromana, along with Stony point pier in Westernport. Gawaine Blake has been catching some real gars around Stony Point while out near the whiting grounds.


Don't be fooled, gars CAN be very tricky to catch consistently and the correct tackle and technique will soon separate the full buckets from the empty ones. Delicately balanced and weighted floats with mid length shank hooks are some of the tackle 'must-haves' but matching hook to bait selection and the correct consistency berley mixture is also vital. 


Customer Tim has been getting some good gars from Frankston pier recently. Tim used both maggots and silverfish in conjunction with his berley mix to secure a bag.


 

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.