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 anglers would not assume that Autumn is 'snapper time' - from late February through to April the snapper fishing in Port Phillip bay can be very good. The best part about this 'late' season fishing is that normally there is not as much boat traffic, and the average size of the fish can be good. The area to be looking is 18 - 20m of water anywhere from around Mt Eliza through to the Mt Martha spoil grounds. First light seems to coincide with a consistent bite, and pilchard and squid the top baits.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been doing some hard work in looking around for these fish lately, and he has been putting customers on to some lovely fish. James said that the snapper fishing at the moment may be better than what it was back in November. The fish have averaged around 2 - 4kg and have been favouring pilchard at the moment.

 

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.

 


Westernport bay has been producing snapper this week for anglers. The fish have moved about a bit as the water temperature in the port shifts but there are still good numbers to be caught. The main areas to concentrate on have been from Stony Point through to around Rhyll with the deeper water holding good schools of fish. Customer Kevin went out and did a solo trip during the week to land fish to 3.2kg close to buoy 13 around the bottom of the tide. Squid heads were the most productive bait for him.


James Rogers from Unreel Fishing Charters has been taking customer out onto Westerport during the week in search of some of the more active snapper. James has been finding similar areas to be more productive, with the deeper water from Stony Point and Tortoise Head through to Silverleaves/Rhyll the go at the moment. Fresh squid has been hard to beat, but the deeper water off Rhyll has been doing quite well with silver whiting and pilchard also.

It is worth putting a bait down on a 9/0 or similar circle hook and 100lb leader at the moment as well, as there have been a number of school shark and smaller bronze whalers hooked in the area.

 


Reports from Port Phillip bay have been a little slow over the last few weeks. Water temperatures in the bay have reached a level where a lot of the snapper will start to spawn, so the bite has slowed down, especially from Carrum north. The better areas of late seem to be around Seaford/Frankston and further south right the way to Mount Martha, where the water temperature is a fraction cooler.

Customer Jason got his bag of snapper during his last trip out off Mt Eliza. Pilchard was the go and the 18m area was the more productive depth.


Peter and Matt McCoy have been out wide from Frankston lately where they have been getting some nice fish. The guys have been putting in the hours but have had fish come through from between 11am and 2pm, so super early starts aren't needed at present. The 18m area out from Frankston was the most productive for them, with silver whiting being the best bait.


James Rogers from Unreel Fishing Charters has found the going tough out in Port Phillip at present, but he has still been getting some nice fish. James has been concentrating out wide from Mt Eliza through to Mornington for the best results, with silver whiting and pilchard doing the job on most fish.

 


The snapper in Westernport Bay have moved about a bit and while the Corinella area has been quiet, reports coming from Stony Point through to the Corals have been good. The water temperature in this section of the port has become optimum for the snapper and they have been found in some larger schools.


Greg from Better Than Working charters has been having fun with clients out around the Corals area during the week. Most of the fish have been in the 3 - 5kg size range, and normally in good sized schools at this size. Full pilchard has been good in this area, with not as much tide to worry about over the large shallow mudflats and reef. 


Customer Daniel recently purchased a new Westernport snapper outfit and he has been out sorting out the snapper on it. Daniel has been pulling fish to 6kg fishing out from Stony Point using pilchard, squid and yakka. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been finding some nice fish in Westernport for his customers, with the deeper water around Rhyll holding good numbers of fish. Cut pilchards and cubes have been accounting for plenty of fish in the 2 - 4kg range in 17m of water. This area around Rhyll should fish well right through Christmas for this size fish.

 

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.

 

Westernport's run of snapper have spread themselves out over the past week or so, with fish now being caught virtually all over the port. The north arm area from Hastings through to around Tooradin has produced many more fish over the past week, while there are still fish getting caught up around Joe's.

Customers Luke and Alex got out during the week in search of a few fish and they found some solid snapper out near Tooradin. The boys found that out of all their baits squid and yakkas were the go.


 

 

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.