While not the same rush as the months of October and November, Port Phillip has been producing a wave of snapper as they feed up and move out of the bay. There will continue to be some resident fish in the bay all year, but good sized schools have been found in the Mornington region at present. These fish have been caught in depths of 17 -21m out to the edge of the spoil ground. First light bites are consistent with fish at this time of year, and well worth the effort. Bill from Mornington recently landed fish to around 5.5kg on pilchard and silver whiting.


Among the larger fish there have been plenty of pinkie schools, both out on the mud and around the reef patches. While wading through the smaller fish can be painstaking there have been enough fish to just over a kilo if you are changing up baits and rigs to suit. The reefy areas of Mornington and Black Rock have been holding large numbers of fish but also larger numbers of undersize fish. Moving to the mud just off the reef and berleying lightly has been a good method of luring better fish to your baits. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been landing heaps of plate sized pinkies for customers by fishing just outside the reef areas with fresh squid and pilchard. If the smaller fish are getting the better of you, switching to harder baits such as whiting or yakka can drag out some bigger fish for you.

 


Whiting fishing has been steady in the port, and still the mainstay for local anglers. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching some good size fish up the top end of bay, with many of fish around the 40cm mark. Fresh mussel has been an excellent bait along with tenderized squid.Staff member Don has also been catching whiting up around Tyabb. Don and mate Sam fished an afternoon run out tide in 6m of water to land around 20 fish up to 43cm. The average school size fish were in the 36 - 39cm and fell to squid and pipi cocktail baits.


With the onset of Autumn the pinkies and school snapper will pick up in the port. While there have been hoards of smaller fish, there have been some better fish coming from the long reef area (think Lysaughts through to Eagle rock). Working through the undersize fish has been a chore but larger baits and hooks will keep the smallest fish at bay - also hardier baits of yakka and pike will help hang in there until a bigger fish finds it. Depths of 10 - 14m have been better for larger fish, with the deeper water carrying large numbers of small fish. Customer Michael fished with a mate out from Stony point in 10m of water out from the pier to score a nice bag of pan sized fish on pilchard.

 


Port Phillip has still been busy with holiday boaties over the past week, and most of the reports have been bread and butter fishing for pinkies, whiting and squid. The rip has seen some kingfish caught but this week has been a bit patchy. For the persistent anglers some of the pinkies have been reasonable, but you'll have to fish through the smaller ones until a few larger fish come through. Customer Darcy slogged away from the rocks recently in search of a better fish, and managed a nice fish of around 3kg from near Mt Martha. Pilchard was the go for him, and most of the better fish have been taken late into the night.


While the whiting fishing has been patchy around the full moon, there have still been plenty of anglers getting into a few of them. Customers Bashir and Danny have been doing alright on the whiting fishing out from Altona. Fishing the broken ground between 4 - 6m has been the go, with pipi and mussel being the most effective baits.


Most of the whiting have come on the bite before dark, which has been when a bit of the water traffic has slowed down. It pays to have multiple rods rigged and plenty of baits prepped around this time, as the small pinkies have also been ravenous around last light.


The other hots area for the whiting at present has been around Sorrento. Customer Josh fished out from here during the week and found some nice fish over 40cm. The best bait was pipi, but fresh cuttlefish is also very good in this southern section of the bay. Fishing the broken ground wide of the moorings and around the broken patches of the 'south sand' has been effective, especially when fishing in depths of 5 - 7m.


The squid fishing around the bay has been good, without being red hot. Most of the piers and everyday areas have been producing some solid squid, but no real monsters this week. Staff member Dylan has found that red and orange jigs have been super effective this week, moreso than most other colours. Dylan has been fishing the piers between Mornington and Sorrento, with size 3.0 being the most 'universal' size.


Customer Noel fished from the pier at Sorrento during the week where he managed a nice cuttlefish. Noel caught the cuttlefish on a red  foil jig, while conditions were cloudy and overcast. Fishing your jigs very close to the bottom and almost dragging them above the sand is a very good way to land cuttlefish, as they seem to prefer the jig 'hovering' just above the bottom. Fishing this method 'tip run' style is the best way to keep contact with the jig, and be ready to strike or move it from the weed as soon as you feel the drift change.

 


Port Phillip has been producing a bit of mixed bag fishing recently. While the snapper have all but gone quiet, there have been patches of fish around that have been eating. If you were to target them the southern region around Mt Martha has been the area to look around, in depths of 18 - 20m. Customer Simon got out recently after purchasing a new outfit for the bay and christened it nicely with a couple of nice fish at 6.5 and 5.2kg. Simon caught both fish on squid, in 17m off Mt Martha.


There have been some whiting reports floating around the bay, but not as many as Western port. Many anglers don't fish for the whiting as much in the bay but they are there to be caught. Friend of the store Bruce fished with mates out from Queenscliff to land a bag of nice whiting to 41cm. Run out tide was the better time with fresh squid and pipi doing the damage on size 2 long shank hooks. During the whiting fishing some nice squid also found themselves on a 'sleeper' jig behind the boat as they chased the hooked whiting in. The area between here and St Leonards has been more consistent for KGW lately.


There have been whiting caught up the top end by anglers persisting. Customer Bashir and mate fished out from Black Rock to land a nice bag of fish around the reef. Fishing pipi and prawn was the go on these fish, and constantly moving from the schools of pinkies. The area between Black Rock and Brighton has been producing whiting around the shallow broken ground.


The large gummies have showed up in the southern channels of the bay recently for anglers after them. Fishing the south channel has been the go for these larger fish, but many of the neighboring channels have been producing smaller table fish. Customer Josh fished the south channel and Rye channel recently to land a couple of quality gummies. Josh found that salmon and squid were the productive baits for the session.


Around the head and the 'rip' the kingies are starting to show up. While not red hot just yet they are about to go. Customer Damien has been helping out aboard 'Reel Time' Fishing Charters and over the weekend they landed their first solid king for the season at 13kg. The fish was caught in shallow water around the rip and gave some real heat when hooked. This is just a taste of things to come, so the time to get prepared is now!

 


While reports have thinned off a little from Port Phillip, there is still plenty going on! The snapper have slowed off a little with their usual pre-xmas spawning movements, but there are still plenty of patches of fish to catch. The southern end of the bay seems to be the go at the moment, as the water temp is slightly lower and more conducive to a snapper bite.


Out from Mornington, customers aboard 'Relax, Go Fishing' charters have been getting some solid fish to around the 6kg mark throughout the week. Baits of silver whiting have been very effective along with squid, and a few fish taking the usual pilchard as well. The productive areas have been from Mt Eliza through to Mornington in 16-17-18m of water.


Out from Black Rock customer Adrian has been catching some nice fish to around 4.5kg on pillies. Adrian has been fishing around the reef edge in 9m and fishing pilchards. Using a strong berley trail of pilchard cubes has been the best way to keep the nearby fish interested, with a handful of cubes going in every 40 minutes or so. Customer Michael has been getting a few fish still out from Carrum also. Michael has been fishing nearby to the outer artificial reef in 18m and finding the odd fish around sunrise. Fresh squid has been Michael's preferred bait.


Customer Mick came into the store recently to set up some Port Phillip 'specific' gear. After realizing that some of his stuff was more suited to Western port Mick purchased a lighter outfit to tackle the finicky nature of Port Phillip's snapper. Very next session Mick was out and into fish to about 3.5kg, with long octopus tentacles getting the bites.

Down along the Peninsula there have been some squid caught from some of the piers. Dirtier water and winds have slowed things a bit but persistence and constant jig changes has been the way to piece a bag together. Staff member Don got down to Mornington and although conditions weren't super favourable he still managed a decent haul. Switching between rattle and non rattle 2.5 size jigs was the go, with UV colours and rattles getting bites before the other jigs.


At the bottom of the peninsula there has been some movement from the schooling kingfish. While not 'on fire' yet, there are fish around - and they are worth targeting. Friend of the shop Bruce fished around the heads and offshore towards Barwon over the weekend to get into a few school sized fish. Bruce's best tactic was to run a 'Fanasty squid' hardbody behind the boat and pin a long squid strip on a dropper behind the lure. The lure works to get the king's attention and the squid strip seals the deal.



 


Westernport has seen fewer snapper reports of recent compared to Port Phillip but there have still been some nice fish moving about. The snapper have been found along the 'plateaus' of the North Arm, between Stony Point and Yaringa, and also in reasonable numbers out from Rhyll. Customer Steve caught some nice fish to around 4kg out from Rhyll in 17m of water recently, with fresh squid and salmon working the best. Customer Thao fished the North Arm in search of some snapper and got a nice bag of fish to 4kg on freshly caught squid.


The gummies of the port have been the unsung heroes of late, and while they are always a possibility when fishing Westernport, there have been some nice fish about - with many large breeding females starting to move in. Customer Justin has landed gummies to 16kg during the week fishing around the Western Entrance with chunks of fresh salmon.


Customer Steve has been landing some nice gummies in amongst the snapper out from Rhyll. Steve has found the table sized gummies have been fond of pillies and trevally, and normally coming through and the tide reallys starts picking up. Around the Corinella region customer Mark has had a hard time finding a snapper through the gummies. Mark has been fishing fresh squid in depths of around 6m and has had no shortage picking up gummies in the 5kg size.

Customer Steve has been catching a few nice gummies around the Rhyll area. Some of the gummies Steve has been landing have been up to 15kg, with fresh chunk baits doing the job. Salmon, trevally and wrasse have been effective when fished on BKK 'glow' gummy circle hooks. A few bite offs from larger toothy sharks have been common in the region also, which are normally school shark and bronze whalers.


On the whiting front, things have been good for anglers moving about to stay on top of the fish. Customer Cashir fished with a mate along Tankerton and Tortoise head to land their bag of fish. Staying in the shallows of around 3m of water was the go, with pipi, squid and mussel cocktail baits working well.  Customer Tu fished the middle spit using pipi and strips of fresh squid to land some solid fish to 44cm. Tu found the 6m line was the better ground to stay in, while moving along to keep on top of the school.

 


At present, the snapper bite has been good but has also had some inconsistency over the last week or so. As water temperatures heat up more in about 2 weeks the fish should go off the bite as they spawn. At the moment though they are still being caught. Customer Sylvio has caught fish to 5kg fishing in close from Black Rock. Pilchards have been the best bait for him.


Customers Robbie and Matej have been fishing out from Mornington recently. The guys have been fishing in the 16m area and have been catching snapper to around the 4kg mark. Fishing with multiple baits, the best bite for them has been between 7:30 and 9:00 am. Hard baits have been fishing better, with silver whiting the standout.


Again around the 16m line customer Aaron has landed snapper to 4kg. Aaron has been fishing the Frankston/Mt Eliza region and has been using freshly caught squid to land his fish.


The Frankston area has been fishing quite well over the past week or so, with good numbers of fish holding in water between 15 - 18m. Customer Steve recently caught a few nice fish to 4.5kg out towards 18m. Customer Paul fished 16m off Frankston to land some crackers to around 6.5kg on silver whiting and pilchard, with the morning tide change more productive than dawn.


Friend of the shop Bruce and mates fished the arvo whiting bite at Queenscliff. Some thumping whiting were caught, with the best baits being pipi and squid. The key for these bigger whiting has been to present bigger baits which works best on slightly bigger hooks like Shogun black baitholders in size 2, on a Paternoster style rig.

 


Previous to whiting fishing, Bruce headed just offshore from Queenscliff in search of a kingfish. Large numbers of school snapper have been around and plaguing baits, but there have been some small kingfish caught around the rubble grounds. Fresh squid has been the go if you can get through the snapper. Gawaine Blake also headed out in search of a kingfish around the heads, and he wasn't disappointed with a couple of lovely fish landed. The time has come!


 


Port Phillip has still been seeing most of the snapper action of late, with some afternoon bites during the week along side the normal early morning feeding routine. The best bet is still to be out before light and  mark up some fish before setting anchor and berley, but if you're into fishing gentlemen's hours then you can still score a fish or two.

Captain Jack fished out from Patto recently to score a nice table sized snapper using a 'snapper snatcher'. Jack fished in 18m and baited up the snatcher with chunks of yakka.


Fishing out wider has been more effective the past week, with the bulk of the reports coming from 16m and deeper. Out from Mornington Captain Bill has been picking up fish to 5kg on pilly and silver whiting. Customer Zoran has also been landing fish early morning out wide from Seaford in 19m. Zoran has been finding silver whiting to be effective at the moment, and he has been berleying with 'snapper magnet' pellets to get the bite going.


Customer Damien has been marking a few fish up out in 19m also. Fishing out from Patto, Damien has been looking for active on the sounder just above the bottom, and sitting around these fish. Squid, pilchard and silver whiting have all been effective on fish to about 4kg.


Out from Seaford customer Mark has been finding some quality fish. Mark has landed fish to better than 6.5kg just earlier in the week, with silver whiting being the best bait. Just make sure to upsize your hooks if fishing larger, harder baits as the snapper's jaw power can roll smaller hooks back into the bait which will foul the hookup. 5/0 and 6/0 are minimum for baits like medium sized whiting and other baitfish.


There have been plenty of school sized fish about recently too, with pinky numbers fairly thick around the inshore and channel reefs. Customers Benny and Ryan fished out from Frankston during the week to land some nice table pinkies on pilchard. If smaller fish are present, pilchard halves or cubes on smaller 2/0 hooks are a much better way to hook up than using whole baits. Customer Dennis has also been finding good school sized fish this week. Dennies has been fishing out from Patto where the average fish has been around 3.5 - 4kg.


Dennis has been fishing with a few mates and has landed fish to 6.7kg, with the most productive depths still out from 16 - 18m. Marking fish on the sounder is fairly crucial as it can show you the mood and size of the fish, and whether to stop on them or not.

 


While Western Port has been fishing well for good variety, it seems a fair bulk of anglers out doing most of their snapper fishing have been out in Port Phillip so reports are less than normal. There have been decent reports of snapper coming from around the port, but the main hotspots are the 'Lysaughts' region, Rhyll and Cowes deep, and through the 'corals' area. The bait preference for the Western Bay has been pilchard, or fresh baits of locally caught species like squid, salmon, couta and yakkas.

Customer Bart had a good session with some mates out from Rhyll. The guys managed 3 table sized gummies and a good bag of snapper to around 3kg fishing in 17.5m of water. Bart said that pilchard was by far the most effective bait, and the fish bit best around the last stage of the run out tide.


On the whiting front, many customers have been remarking "Have the whiting have started already?" The short answer is yes. The Whiting normally start around September in the port but number catches are patchy, with larger fish making up the bags. Currently at present there are good numbers along the banks throughout the top end, with some quality amongst them. As the heat of Summer approaches the school fish will make up the bulk of the catch up along the banks, but right now there are some good ones about.

Staff member Don has been out on the 'tings' again which is no shock to us, with fish to around the 40cm marking up his recent bag. Fishing deep in Bagge Harbour towards 'Crawfish' Don and mate managed 30 fish with lots around the 37cm size. Usual baits of pipi worked well but long thin strips of fresh squid were also very effective on 'worm' style hooks in the current.

 


Port Phillip remains the number 1 choice for many anglers when it comes to catching snapper. It can be less daunting for anglers who haven't done as much snapper fishing as others, but can also get quite rough when strong winds rip up. This week we have had plenty of strong winds and rainfall which has kept all but the keenest anglers off the water, but it has really knocked the snapper bite up another gear.


Early in the week as the Southwesterly blow backed off the fish bit very well, with good numbers moving about and right up into the shallower murky water to feed. Customer Phil made the most of the bite and scored fish around the 6kg mark fishing out from Chelsea. Baits of squid and silver whiting were the most effective for him. Customer Bashir has also been capitalizing on the good bite since the rain with fish to 5kg coming from 13m of water out from Black Rock. Pilchard and gars have been the best baits for him.


Customer Dominic and mate Gary fished out wide from Mt Martha over early during the week to land some nice fish. The largest fish weighed just over 8.5kg and took silver whiting. The hard baits have been a definite preference for the snapper over the last few weeks, with silver whiting deadly. Other hard baits worth fishing have been small salmon or yakkas, with the pickers normally leaving these alone. Customer Sylvio fished out from Black Rock using silver whiting and pilchard over the weekend and reports fish to 5kg biting well around the 12m area.


Members of the Keysborough Angling Club fished Port Phillip recently and most anglers reported snapper back at the weigh in. The largest fish weighed around 4.5kg, with plenty more caught between the 1-4kg mark.


While the snapper are the main focus at the moment, there have been some nice King George Whiting caught around the southern end of the bay. Customer Michael fished around Tootgarook with mate Dominic and some nice solid were caught. Fishing around 6m of water was best, as the pinkies would take over in the deeper water. Pipi and fresh squid was also very successful, with the squid giving some substance to the bait when the pinkies were hassling eh whiting off the baits. The whiting should only improve from now on, with the Mt Martha-Rye-Blairgowrie region a good place to focus on.