As the days slowly start to get longer here in Melbourne the one thing that is on many angler's minds in the crimson tide of snapper that have slowly started to infiltrate the bays. The fish that enter Port Phillip at this stage of the season are generally larger than that of typical school fish which appear a bit later in Spring. These fish are subtle feeders generally, and this coupled with colder water temperatures - especially compared to this time last year, can make them a bit more challenging to catch. At this stage of the season the fish generally don't eat as often compared to when the water is warmer, so that fish you've marked off Frankston might only eat every couple of days. In saying this, there will be another fish close by that will eat sooner - especially if your bait is A1 and you have paid attention to your rigging.  


James from Unreel Fishing Charters and mate Daniel have both been doing some early work out on the bay in search of a few reds and a couple of areas have held feeding fish. The Carrum area has been holding a few fish that have been responding to quality pilchards and also squid.


Customers Zoran and Ned have also been doing some early recon on the Port Phillip reds. The guys have been fishing the Chelsea/Carrum area and so far have found fish to around 4.5kg. Pilchards and squid have been good at the moment.


There have also been plenty of smaller pinkies hovering around many of the inshore reef areas lately as well. While a lot of the fish can be either undersize or smaller than 30cm there have also been pockets of better fish amongst them. The bigger fish tend to move about a bit more and not station themselves in one area of reef, but patrol the edges more frequently - and this is where to look for them. Small cut baits of pilchard and squid are deadly, but soft plastics also claim their fair share of fish. Small minnow patterns have been effective lately, especially when fished on reasonably light jigheads - for pinkies even in relatively deep water 1/4oz is the heaviest you'll need. Arm yourself with some 3'' minnow and curl tail/worm patterns and fish them around reef structure and you'll most likely come into contact with some fish like this.   

The top end of Westernport Bay has been producing some quality snapper for anglers persisting with the area. While this area normally fires up earlier than Port Phillip for instance - the fish are never sure fire and still require patience and persistence. These early season top end fish are generally between 5 - 8kg but more often than not are quite timid in how they bite. Very rarely will a heavy Westernport-type rod buckle on one of these fish. Soft tipped rods are the go for early season fish, as they are much better at detecting subtle takes from the fish. Fresh baits of squid, pike, yakka and couta are excellent starting points for the top end as well a subtle berley trail of cubed pilchards to entice them.

Customer Tony recently purchased a swag of Westernport outfits and got to christen them just earlier this week while fishing with a friend near Joe's Island. Tony was using freshly caught squid cut into 'onion ring' style baits pinned on 5/0 Owner hooks when he pinned this nice fish. Tony did mention that the bite from this fish was very subtle and not noticeable unless using a rod with a fairly soft tip.


Customer Michael also had a look around the top end of the port in search of an early season red, and he wasn't disappointed with the fish that he found. Michael fished around the Corinella region and got onto 2 nice snapper along a channel edge. Baits of fresh squid did the job, and also tempted a nice table sized gummy as well.

 

Although the last thing some people might about during the winter months of the year is landbased fishing - some of the best fishing from the shore can be had at this time of the year. The winter months can be interesting while fishing from the shore with some species preferring calm, stable weather and others fishing best during the roughest weather that we get. With the recent rough onshore weather that Melbourne has experienced there will be some snapper roaming about close to shore. Of course standing on the pier or rocks when it's 8C and facing a 20 knot westerly wind isn't always easy - but these are the sort of conditions when your chances are the best. Customer Tony fished recently after a big front and was successful in catching a ripper snapper from the shore. Needless to say the location isn't really rocket science, but it is more about picking the conditions to target these fish. Tony managed this ripper fish on some freshly caught squid pinned to a 5/0 Owner SSW hook, on 60lb leader.

If you'd prefer to fish from the pier when the conditions are a bit more friendly - then garfish are for you. These fish prefer less rough weather and have been pretty good this season from all of the normal haunts including Beaumaris, Mordi, Frankston, Seaford and Frankston piers. Customer Kozi fished Frankston pier recently and caught a few during the run in tide. Zealcol fine grit berley and silverfish worked the best for him. Staff member Don also got a good haul of gars recently further down towards Blairgowrie. Don found that maggots and silverfish both worked well but the key was definitely setting up a good quality berley trail to bring the fish in and keep them around.

Further down towards the bottom end of the bay the squid fishing has been good. Blairgowrie, Sorrento and Portsea piers have been producing quality squid both during the day and after dark. A good selection of jigs in the 3.0 - 3.5 size range is crucial down here, as colour/foil and running depth will determine whether you have a good day or a quiet day. Customer Kozi fished Portsea pier just recently and did well during the run out tide on size 3.0 Keimura jigs with red foil. Staff member Don also fished from the pier and caught some nice sized squid on red foil Haramitsu jigs in size 3.0 and 3.5.

 

Snapper reports have been pretty good considering it's late June. The snapper in the bay have fired up somewhat since Melbourne copped some ugly weather a little while back, so if you're a snapper freak then now's just as good a time as any to go out and try pin a good sized fish. The best part is that the snapper action hasn't been too confined to any certain areas of the bay; there have been fish caught from Geelong to Port Melbourne and Brighton to Mount Martha. Customer Vic made use of some ugly weather earlier in the week and perched himself along the rocks down towards Mornington. Vic was targeting snapper and lost a couple of fish, but the fish that he did land was a beast. Fishing with a whole pillie on 60lb leader Vic managed to land a thumping fish of 10.2kg - not bad for landbased in June hey...meanwhile across near Williamstown in only 8m of water customer Reece caught this nice 7kg fish on pilchard while drifting along a small dropoff with flatties in mind. That's the shoreline and city in the background.

Along pretty much every reef patch in the bay the pinkies have been in plague proportions. While there have been heaps of fish to attack a bait, a lot of them have been on the small side. A lot of the fish have been around the 30cm size, with a few bigger models mixed in. Larger baits and bigger hooks are a good idea if you're after a few bigger fish for the table. Soft plastics are a good option when chasing pinkies, and brands like Zman are excellent when the smaller fish are chewing other plastics to bits. If you're lucky you might even get some by-catch like customer Shane did. Shane was fishing out around Mordi with a 4" plastic when he landed a rare catch. This strange fish is an Australian Angel shark, which can reach around 1.5m in length.

For the squidding enthusiasts, the calmer weather we have had has been perfect for hitting some of the piers and rock ledges in search of a few. The southern end of the bay has been the best recently, especially along Mornington, Blairgowrie and Portsea. Staff member Don headed down to Portsea pier during the week and found some nice squid and cuttlefish. Don found that size 3.5 Yakamito's in gold foil were the best on this occasion, with all squid and cuttlefish caught on similar jigs. Customer Ryan has also been catching a few squid from the rocks around Mornington recently. Ryan has had to work hard and hop around in search of a few but he has been getting good numbers in the end. Size 3.0 and 3.5 Gancraft and Yamashita jigs have been the best, with green/gold tones/grass whiting patterns working the best. Most of Ryan's squid have been in the 300g size lately. 

 

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.



There has been a decent winter run of snapper in Westernport Bay since Melbourne had some proper rough winter weather a few weeks back. Not long had this weather started and snapper were being caught from a few land based spots as well as by anglers in boats. The fish have also been fairly well spread out, with reports coming from the top end of the port, right down to the fast eastern sections. Customers Chez and Adrian got out on the port recently and did well catching some nice winter fish to 7kg. The boys were fishing over in the eastern arm and using fresh squid to tempt these reds.

 

Customers Andrew and Ben have also had some success on the good sized winter fish in the port as well. Andrew was fishing towards Corinella when he landed fish between 5kg and 8kg. Squid heads and strips were the most effective baits. Customer Ben fished the shallows of the top end of the port during the night recently to land snapper to 7kg. Ben found that fresh squid was the gun bait.

 

On the squid scene, reports have been good during slightly calmer weather. The shallow areas along Tyabb, Quail and Stony banks fished well during low wind and low light times. Rough, churned up banks have forced the squid a bit deeper off the edges, and they can still be caught in depths of 5 - 7m. Customer Jarrad fished the Tyabb area between 2 - 5m of water to catch some good squid on the drift. Early morning produced some on baited jigs, and once the sun got up red foil size 3.5 Yamashita jigs did well. The biggest hood length measured 40cm which took the Yamashita jig. Customer Ben also fished in the Tyabb area for a good bag of squid taken on size 3.5 jigs during the week.

Whiting reports have slowed right down, with the odd angler catching some respectable fish but definitely not in the summer numbers. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been putting together some nice bags of fish for customers, with whiting averaging the 38cm size taking fresh squid and pipi. Along some of the deeper, more reefy sections that James has been fishing he has also pulled up the odd nice size cray.

Westernport bay has been producing lots of elephants and pinkies recently, along with a few table sized gummies. The elephant fish have been fairly thick throughout the 'triangle' over the last few weeks, with fish to 5kg being caught. Customer Shane fished out from Tortoise Head recently and caught a couple of good sized fish in 8m of water. The most effective bait on them was fresh squid.

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching a few elephants with customers out between Tortoise Head and Rhyll, with baits of pilchard, squid and pipi being the most effective when fished on a sliding sinker rig. Depths of 7 - 14m over mud and broken ground have been good for the elephants, with the odd gummy finding a bait as well. Some customers have even been catching the odd elephant from the pier at Rhyll.

On the pinky front, most of the 'normal' areas where anglers would target snapper and pinkies have been loaded with fish in the 25 - 35cm size. There have however been some much better fish getting close to 2kg mixed in with the smaller fish. The trick has been to fish a larger, tougher bait that the smaller fish can't rip off the hook in 5 seconds flat, which will give the bigger fish a chance to get to it, and also fit it in their mouth. Baits of squid, salmon and couta have been good when targeting these larger school sized fish. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has caught some nice ones mixed in with smaller fish and elephants recently, which none of his customers have been complaining about!

 

South Gippsland normally experiences a run of snapper later than the bays around Melbourne, and although this year the snapper run has been quiet in general there have still been a few fish floating about. Normally around Christmas the snapper turn up around the estuaries in South Gippsland but a small run of fish has been around recently. Customer Aaron caught this nice red of around 8.5kg on freshly caught squid fishing in the Singapore Deep channel just recently.

A few kilometers away, customer Paul also caught a cracking snapper that pulled the scales down to 20lb. Paul was fishing just offshore from Mcloughlins beach when he caught the thumper.

Port Phillip has been fishing well for anglers who can get a break in the weather with snapper, squid and bream being caught by the patient anglers. Customer Dave has brushed up on his luring skills and has been getting stuck into some quality bream down at Patto. Dave has found the fish keen on small hardbodies recently, with SX40's doing the damage on some nice fish.

Staff member Dylan fished with a few mates out from Mt Martha during the week to get stuck into some squid. Fishing from Martha cove through to Mt Martha village nice squid up to 1kg were caught. With a strong wind present, 3.5 size jigs proved the most effective, with ghost/white/shrimp patterns by far the deadliest.

 

Customer Jarrad fished the southern end of the bay in search of some squid over the weekend, and he wasn't let down. Fishing the area from Rye through to Sorrento, Jarrad caught good size squid in around 3m of water. The most productive colours on the day were reds and oranges in the Shimano Keimura jigs. Both static and worked jigs got the results in the area. Just over the other side of the south channel, James from Unreel Fishing Charters has caught some quality snapper. While numbers aren't huge, the average size of the fish is quality - most being 3 - 6kg. The deep water 20 - 23m has been the go to area, with baits of whiting, yakka, squid and pilchard doing the job. 

 

The snapper reports have been a bit quiet this week out in the bay, but they are there for dedicated snapper anglers. While the weather is usually the determining factor, most of the fish have been caught in around 18m of water out from the Mornington area, which isn't too far from shore. This area right out to 24m has been producing snapper to 4.5kg on pilchard and squid. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching snapper to around the 4kg mark with customers during recent trips, and he has also found a few silver whiting out in the same areas. The whiting have been making excellent snapper bait in the same area as well.

 

In closer to shore around Mornington and Mt Eliza James has been catching good numbers or squid with customers, with most of them being excellent size for the area. James has found some of his old faithful size 3.0 jigs in natural/red foil and greens have been working very well.