Snapper reports have started to really ramp up over the past week or so, with some rain and semi consistent warmer weather really helping things out a lot. With the bay temperature warming, the snapper bite is getting better and better but it still seems plenty of people are 'waiting' to hear reports rather than getting out there and doing it! There have been numbers of school fish from size to 2kg around the inshore reefs with Williamstown, Brighton, Black Rock and Mornington all holding big schools. Customer Ryan has been catching numbers of fish to about 1.5kg up the top of the bay around Williamstown on plastics. Worm style plastics on 1/6oz jigs have been good when fishing the shallower reefs in a bit of chop.


Customer Ange has also been getting into the school fish from the shore. Ange caught some nice solid pinkies from the beach around Black Rock and Sandringham during the week, with pilchard and squid doing the job. Staff member Dylan also saw some nice shore based fish caught from Brighton, St Kilda and Black Rock earlier in the week when he was in the area. Fish to around 2.5kg were caught with none smaller than about 35cm, on a mixture of baits like pilchard, squid and saury. Long casts to the surrounding reef have been the go, so 10ft - 12ft coarse 'feeder' style rods have been the most effective tools for the job.


While there aren't as many punters out in Port Phillip, Westernport bay has been solidly producing fish for the guys just getting out and having a crack. There are reasonably consistent reports coming from the Long Reef area through to channels behind Joe's, with Corinella and deep off Ryhll also producing. Many of the fish coming from the port have been quality, with the average sitting around 4kg.


Captain Perri fished out from Corinella earlier during the week with a couple of nice fish hitting the deck pretty early on. Fishing a 15m hole, fish to 5kg were caught using pillies. The bites were tentative and the fish weren't hooking themselves, so the lightest tipped rods on the boat were the go. Customer Thao also fished somewhere in the region mid week to gain his bag of fish to about 4kg. Thao found that fresh squid and pilchard were the go, with again soft bites and softer rods the go. Thao will most likely be enjoying his snapper with some mustard over the BBQ later this week, so the area is worth a look over the weekend.

 

 


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 snapper reports are about to hit the next level around Melbourne, with rising water temperatures and more stable weather on their way. Westernport is still producing more fish if you're unsure where to fish, but port Phillip is also worth a fish if you want to stick to the bay. Customer Nathan fished the bay out from Mordi during the week to land a nice fish on plastics, with a 5 inch pilchard pattern doing the job. Squid scent on the plastic sealed the deal, with the real movement, look and smell of a real bait proving too much for the reds to resist. Make sure you have the correct tackle to fish soft plastics on the snapper, as many anglers still go fishless and frustrated after trying them on the incorrect gear.


Out in westernport the reds have been going well enough for the last few weeks, if you know where to look and how to tackle the port's current and bycatch. Customer Mario fished out from Corinella during the low light period into the night to land snapper to 6kg. Freshly caught squid was the ticket, with lighter tipped 'port Phillip' style rods perfect here in the shallower holes and along the mudflats.


The Corinella area has been a go-to area for angler unsure of where to look for snapper, as the water temperature stays a bit warmer than the rest of the bay with all the rock and mudflats exposed to the sun during low water. The region can produce some solid fish, with the odd '20lb' fish coming from the area each season. Heading south from Corinella the 'Corals' area can also produce some nice fish, but seems to fire a bit later in the season. Heading west, the deep water off Rhyll and Cowes is well worth fishing at present. The fish can school up in this deeper water here, and are regularly caught in 18 - 22m. Customer Mick fished this area over the weekend to land a few school fish and a nice 4kg model, along with a nice table sized gummy. Mick was fishing in 22m of water and caught everything on 'big eye' pilchards.

 



Some nice snapper have been slowly making their way into the catches of local anglers.With some warmer weather on its way the fish should be making their presence felt around the Eastern shores of the bay. The top end around Brighton and Port Melbourne have been holding good numbers of school fish running up along the edge of the main shipping channel. Rough weather brings these fish in close around the vast grassbeds and mudflats of the top end where they can be picked off by using baits of fresh squid, pilchard and even large prawns. Customer John has been fishing the top end of the bay and has seen some nice fish to 4kg from the piers. Pilchard and squid have been the best baits for land based guys, with this particular fish falling to fresh squid.


Around the top end of Westernport the fish are starting to come on also, with anywhere from Warneet through to the back ‘finger’ channels worth a really good look for a red or two. Customer Joel had a fish close by to Joes’ Island during the week to land fish to around 4kg on fresh baits. Freshly caught couta was the pick of the baits, and good because they are normally about in numbers through the top end at this time of year.


 


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.

 


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.

 

 

 


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!

 


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 northern coastline of NSW is a popular destination for anglers as it is fairly quiet and holds a good mix of both southern and northern fish species. Popular fishing locations along this part of the coast include Brunswick Heads, Ballina, Yamba and Coffs Harbour. Customer Gary lives around Ballina and fishes the region a fair bit, and his latest beach session has seen him yield some massive tailor to 80cm. Gary has been fishing pilchard on ganged hook rigs early during the morning, with most of the fish coming while it's still dark.


Staff member Chris has just returned from a trip to Yamba, a tad south from Ballina. Chris did some fishing with his father but found the weather to hold them back a fair bit - with only 1 decent trip offshore. A good mixed bag of species were caught offshore with spotted mackerel, snapper, tuskfish, pearl perch, flathead and small whaler sharks making it to the boat. The humble pilchard did most of the damage with nearly all fish finding it heard to refuse.

 


Most anglers don't realize but the winter fishing for both pinkies and snapper can be excellent. While numbers of fish aren't as thick as say October, the rewards are certainly there for anglers braving the cold conditions. There have been fish scattered all over the bays bu the real hot spot for numbers of fish has been the top end of Port Phillip. The reefy areas from Black Rock further north right up into the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers have been the better spots to focus on.  Most of the fish have been from 35 - 50cm but ththere have been much larger fish about.

Customer Maresi caught a ripper fish from Lagoon pier recently under the cover of darkness. Not much details are known about the capture but either way landing a big snapper sure beats staying at home!


The typical schooling size fish from the Docklands region have been on the chew lately, with both bait and lures getting bites. Productive baits have been pilchard and salmon fillets, fished on twin snelled 1/0 hooks. If you are able to cast baits like this unweighted you will be much more successful, as the fish will aggressively take the bait as it slowly wafts down. The same can be said with soft plastics - heavily weighted jigheads might gain extra casting distance but they all snag up much quicker and don't attract as many bites on 'the drop' like lighter weights do. Small 3 inch grub and paddletail style plastics are proving very effective at the moment, especially through the afternoon into night.


Customer Ryan has been catching plenty of fish in the 40cm size range from the Docklands and nearby piers, on both lure and bait. Ryan's more successful bait lately has been small strips and fillets of Australian salmon, which have also been plentiful.

Customer Jake has also been catching quite a few good sized pinkies while chasing bream in the metro rivers on lures. The lower sections of the Maribyrnong and Yarra have been holding good sized schools which have been responding well to worm style soft plastics. As these schools have been moving with the tide, having a depth sounder capable of locating them without too much fuss s the best way to maximize your fishing time.