Bass Strait has been the hit with anglers recently as the run of Winter weather we've had has been excellent, with conditions too good to not make the most if them. The variety and quality of fish caught offshore during Winter can be excellent with the real mainstay being the large gummy sharks. Anglers fishing right out wide from areas such as Lakes Entrance have been tangling with fish like swordfish, trumpeter and pink ling. Customer Filip fished out wide chasing swordfish last week and landed some nice ling as tasty by-catch.

A bit closer to home the offshore gummy fishing has been nothing short of excellent. Young gun Fisherman Mike went out on an offshore tuition chasing big gummies and nailed a ripper gummy at 22kg, fishing out from Flinders. Chunk baits of wrasse and pike are super effective on the offshore gummies, and are readily available on the reefy areas. 


Mike's gummy was bigger than him! Customer Andrew also got in to the offshore gummies during the recent spell of quality weather. Andrew managed a couple of nice fish around the 20kg mark fishing fresh baits alongside the reefy points and and sand drops just outside of the western entrance.  


There has also been a few quality snapper caught offshore while targeting gummies. Customer Zac fished with his dad outside the western entrance recently and they also landed a few nice gummies around the 14kg mark, along with a nice 4kg snapper. Fishing fresh baits of mackerel, pike and squid give you an excellent chance of the snapper as well as gummies. Young Jacob and dad Gavin fished around the western entrance recently and also came across a nice snapper. Jacob was lucky enough to land the fish that weighed 6.6kg and took a strip of freshly caught couta. 

 


The local land based fishing around the bays has been good considering the nice weather we've had of late. Wether you'd enjoy a feed of flathead, garfish, whiting or squid they are all readily available. One of the more popular species on offer at present are the tasty garfish - which have been active at most of the piers around Port Phillip. Some of the hot spots worth a look have been Mordialloc, Black Rock, Seaford, Frankston and down the peninsula at Dromana and Mornington. Baits of chopped silverfish, banana prawn and maggots have all been good. Getting your float setup correctly ballasted and having a steady trail of fine berley are also some of the finer points to successful gar fishing. 

Staff member Don fished Frankston pier during the week and bagged a nice feed of gars. Tiny pieces of banana prawn fished on narrow gape fly hooks were the most effective when lightly weighted around the edge of the berley trail. 


The northern end of the bay has been fishing well for good table sized flathead and whiting. The shallows have been producing sand flathead to 50cm around any rockfall, gutter or reef ledge. Fishing soft plastics has been the most effective way to snag a flathead, but ensure that you're using a plastic that gives off natural vibration to help the fish hone in on the lure. St Kilda through to Mentone has been the are to try. 


The same areas of the bay down to around Olivers Hill have been producing whiting after dark. Customer Jordan has landed some nice flathead and whiting over the last week around Brighton. The flathead have been caught on 3 inch mullet patterned plastics and the whiting have been liking banana prawn and pipi. Customer Serge also got a nice bag of whiting from the shore around Sandringham on a mixture of squid, banana prawn and pipi. 

The same inshore reef and sand patches have been producing some nice squid after dark. Staff member Dylan fished from the shore from Brighton through to Black Rock last week and landed squid every session, with the quickest 10 squid bag taking about 40 minutes. Size 2.5 jigs are the most consistent in this area, with virtually every colour tried eventually producing a squid or two. 

Down along the bottom of the peninsula over in Westernport, customer Angelo has been catching squid and grass whiting like they're going out of fashion. Angelo has been fishing Flinders pier and has found the squid around 25cm hood length on average. Size 3.5 jigs in natural grass whiting patterns along with blacks and UV whites have been the best for him. The grass whiting have also been active around the pier pylons and grass beds and have been taking a liking to small paternoster rigs baited with either trout worms or small pieces of banana prawn.  

 


Westernport has been providing plenty of options during some of our nice Winter days, with the cartilaginous fish one of them. If conditions allow, the offshore fishing for gummy and school sharks has been excellent, while the gummy fishing inside the port has been also. On top of that, there have still been quite a few elephants about if you're fishing between Lang Lang and Rhyll. 

Customer Thao got outside during the week and fished an area behind Phillip Island in search of a solid gummy and he wasn't disappointed, landing a nice fish upward of 15kg. Thao found a small patch of reef and berleyed just off it, and had the gummy take a chunk of silver trevally. Baits of wrasse and parrotfish are also excellent if caught from the area you're fishing. 


Inside the port customers Morgan and Trent had a day of ripper weather, but small boat issues so their fishing time was shortened. In that time they managed to load up on yakkas and salmon for bait out from Rhyll and once they got sorted it wasn't long before they had a couple of eating size gummies on deck. Fishing the run off drains nearby to Rhyll they managed gummies to around 7kg, which were perfect for a feed. 


Fishing a touch north around Corinella, customer Scott caught a few smaller sharks in one session. Scott was fishing one of the potholes in the main channel where he landed 3 small sevengill sharks which were released, and 7 elephant shark also. Baits of squid and pilchard worked well. The elephant fish took a bit to turn up this year in the port, but they are still about in reasonable numbers - especially over the mudflats south of Elizabeth Island. 

 

 


The whiting fishing in Westernport continues to roll on with good numbers of school fish coming in and some larger fish around also. Large numbers of the fish have been in the 34 - 38cm size range, but searching a bit deeper has given anglers a few more here and there above 40cm. Fisherman Mike landed a lovely fish of 45cm during his last fish on the port with his dad.


Mike and his dad fished out from Hastings  They guys found that the single most effective setup were the 'Reedy's Rigs' 'Tinganoster' style rigs in bass yabby and bloodworm patterns. Small pieces of squid and pipis tipped on the hooks were deadly with a nice feed of fish coming home. Customer Jamie has also been doing well on the whiting out from Stony Point with bags of fish to just over 40cm coming from the bank edges and also around the spit during the run out tide. Pipi, mussel and squid have been the best for him.


Customer Chris from the Victoria Police Angling Club has been catching some nice whiting out from Hastings, with deeper water providing the results. Chris has been finding the fish in water 15m or so and has found pipi and squid strips best in the deeper currents. Fishing stiff leader 'snatcher' style rigs has also kept line twist and tangled rigs to a minimum and helped him secure his bag of fish.


 


While the focus hasn't been on the gummies or snapper in particular in both bays - there have been a few caught, especially pinkies and snapper. The small pinkies from 20cm to 1.5kg or so are thick especially in Port Phillip, no matter which area you're fishing. While they can be frustrating - there have been plenty of better size fish amongst them. Staff member Dylan got out for a quick arvo fish recently and was kept busy on fish from 20cm to around 45cm on lures. 4'' jerkbait style plastics caught their share but 100 - 120mm hardbodies were the most effective once the wind got up. Trolling these lures around the isolated reef patches around Brighton resulted in more than 50 fish landed, and a handful of 500g kept for the pan.


The larger fish have also been found in the same areas in the top of the bay - but the real hot spot for the next little while is the Mt Eliza - Mt Martha region. Fish like these held by customer Sam from around Mt Eliza will be worth targeting the deeper we get into Autumn. Early morning bites from dawn to around 9am are the norm, with KGW heads deadly when fished on 'dangle' rigs over the boat's side.


Out in Western port there have been some nice snapper caught amongst the smaller pinkies. While the pinkies have been thick through the whiting grounds and grass beds, fishing the 'barren' mud and rubble beds has seen red to over 4kg landed. The main region producing the quality fish has been between Rhyll and Corinella. Customers Tony and Allan have caught fish in the area to nearly 6kg. There have also been quality fish on the reef just outside both entrances, with some super solid gummies providing some quality bycatch at the same time.


While most of the larger gummies have been coming from outside the port, there have been some big fish caught throughout the Western Entrance along the deeper ledges and channel scours. Fishing these areas during the latter part of the ebb tide or start of the flood is generally the more productive time. Customer Izzy has been landing gummies to around 15kg once the sun goes down, with baits of freshly caught yakka, slimey or trevally among the best.

For the land based anglers the weekend's calmer weather should make shore-bashing a bit more enjoyable. Customer Pete has just started chasing gummies from the shore and landed his first fish during the week. Pete was fishing from the shore at Grantville and after missing and losing a few fish he changed rigs and tactics and landed this one on a circle hook baited with fresh mackerel. Fishing water no more than 1m deep in this area is very effective - but it's all very tide dependent!

 


Although the weather currently in Melbourne isn't very inspirational - the forecast is looking like some excellent weather over the coming weekend. With the recent rain the bays will be a dirty but the fish like whiting should be firing. Influxes of freshwater really stir the critters up that the whiting prey on, and they should be ready to go by the weekend. Westernport's KGW have been fishing well in all areas, with the main hot zones between Tyabb and Stony Point - be it around the middle spit or on the banks. Young gun Fisherman Mike got out and on them recently with his Dad. The guys launched at Hastings and fished the banks both north and south and landed some. Mike and his Dad are only new to Westernport's whiting fishing and took on some tips and tricks and landed a few nice fish on pipi and squid.


Fishing nearby water customer Izzy and Brett from 'Reedy's Rigs' had a good session, with a KGW bagout in only a few hours. Fishing the ultra shallow water before first light with a bit of surface chop the fish were biting hard and they were done and dusted not long after sunrise. The use of a GPS and sounder to pinpoint small sand patches and drops amongst the weed enabled locating the correct ground and fish was much easier. Fishing bass yabbies on the Reedy's 'Tinganoster' rigs was deadly - with wide gap hooks ensuring the fish stayed hooked. If you're wondering what a 'Tinganoster' rig looks like - we have these and the deadly 'Ultra' rigs in store.

 


The run of tuna local to Melbourne has continued and is gaining more and more momentum each day. With huge schools of fish to 40kg just offshore from the bays and along the coast many are taking advantage and getting amongst them when conditions allow. The schools have been isolated and as widespread as Cape Woolamai across to Portland and further west, with good numbers of fish hanging about between Cape Schank and Torquay. Vic EJ Todds Representative Mitch has been landed some sizable fish out from Barwon on stickbaits and poppers. While many anglers have been trolling lures, with increased boat traffic and pressure the fish are liable to spook - and this is where cast lures can have their advantages. Don't forget to pack popppers, stickbaits and various soft plastics!


Customer Josh came into the store after an outfit to tackle the tuna with and let us set something up for him. After gearing up Josh and some mates headed out and gave the fish a crack. The boys found the tuna just outside of the heads in quite shallow water heading towards Barwon bluff and landed a few on different hardbodies and also small skirts. Needless to say Josh is hooked will probably be doing more of it asap.


There have been plenty of anglers scoring catches of nice bluefin. The Melbourne Tuna Crumbs have been amongst the fish over the past weeks, with to just shy of 40kg coming aboard. Some of the original crumbs Michael and Pino have had fun on the fish from just outside the heads across to Angelsea. Various tactics have been working with deep running hardbodies and bibless minnows in short doing a good job at bringing the fish in. When the fish have been shy small skirts as minute as 3'' have been getting the bites, especially when fished a long way back.


The boys from Bucci Cabinets have been serving up fresh tuna with good numbers of fish in the 15 - 20kg size range being caught. The fish have again been caught along the surf coast, with the Barwon - Torquay area holding good schools. Working the 20 - 35m depth areas have been where most of the boys have been finding the numbers. Skirted lures have been the favoured method, with 5'' being about the most productive size. Some skirts as large as 10'' have been catching fish - and a good option to put in the spread as a teaser to entice the school to come up. Even if you have any huge marlin sized skirts, running them or a large popper or daisy chain of large soft plastics as an attractor has been well worth the effort.

 


Westernport's whiting fishing continues to impress. Most anglers out there and working towards a bag of fish, and the seasoned whiting fisherman are finding the fishing excellent. Most areas of the port have numbers of fish about, with pinpointed spots really not needed at all. Wherever you'd normally fish for them, they will most likely be there in numbers. Fisherman Mike went out in the port with his dad over the weekend and they caught some nice fish. Mike and his dad fished out from Hastings and caught on pipi and squid.


Customer Izzy had a whiting session late last week out in the port and got a nice bag of fish going. Pipi, fresh squid and mussel were the go along the middle spit. Customers Wayne and Simon had a quick session out from Warneet and managed a bag of around 10 fish for a quick feed. The guys fished with pipi and got most of their fish along the edge of a the shallow banks.


The area along the middle spit has been producing plenty of whiting for working anglers. Customer Jamie and mate fished along the spit and out from Stony Point over the weekend to put together a nice bag of fish. The guys caught on fresh squid, pipi and pilchard fillet. Customer Mark also fished the spit late last week with a few mates and they ended up with some nice fish to 42cm. The guys fished the spit around the top of the tide and caught on a mixture of squid and pipi.

 


Western Port's whiting fishing has still been excellent. The fish have been firing all around the port, but most of the reports have been coming from the area between Stony Point and Tooradin. The grassy banks of this region hold a lot of the substrate to protect the whiting and also give them plenty of food. If you're a novice or struggle to get yourself a feed of these fish, start the vicinity of these shallow areas. Fishing the falling tide along where the shallow grass beds drop into a main channel or gutter is a great way of intercepting them.

Staff member Don has been doing this throughout the feeder channels in the top end of the port with good success. Mixing up baits has been a must-do as the fish may have a preference for a particular bait on the day. Freshly caught squid is right up there with one of the better options, along with pipi and mussel. If you start fishing a bit deeper around the lumps and holes small pieces of pilchard is also excellent.


Customer Aaron has been fishing the top end of the port and also along the middle spit and has been doing well on the whiting. Aaron has been fishing baits of pipi and mussel and has been finding the top of the tide to be the most productive. Along the middle spit the 'cut' has been a very good section to fish lately, as this small channel is between two large shallow spits that the fish move between.


Up the top end customer Mark has also been catching his share of whiting. Mark has been fishing along the banks near the end of Tooradin channel along with Tyabb bank. Mark has been finding pipi the best performer with squid a close second. When the bite drops off a bit a small amount of aniseed and prawn mixture berley pellet gets the fish going again. Fine gauge hooks like the Gamakatsu C10U are also an excellent choice for these conditions.

 


The summertime gummy fishing has been excellent in Westernport Bay. Many anglers have been making the most of the good fishing, with large gummies on offer around most parts of the port. Customer Zoran has caught a couple of nice sharks in the 12kg mark fishing the western entrance of the port. Chunk baits of freshly caught slimey mackerel and salmon have been the most productive.


Customer Justin has also been catching some solid gummies while out on the port. Justin had a session on the whiting lately and managed to collect some fresh bait in the form of trevally, so he sat for a gummy in the western channel. He landed a nice fish around the 13kg mark on fresh trevally. The last hour of the run out tide was the productive time for the gummy, with the fish coming from a secondary channel ledge.


Further back up the port customer George had a successful session out for gummies. George fished out from Rhyll and sat along a 10m ledge, and landed a nice gummy around 8kg. The successful bait was fresh squid head, fished on a circle hook paternoster rig. Customer Izzy has also been successfully landing some nice gummies fishing similar style 'reedy's rigs'. 6/0 circle hooks on these rigs have made for easy jaw hookups and easy to remove on smaller fish.


Up along the eastern side of the port there have been plenty of gummies between 65 - 90cm roaming around the feeder channels, and these have been plenty eager enough to scoff baits of banana prawn, squid or flesh baits. These fish are best targeted around the top of the tide, as they race up the channels and feed over the mudflats. As they race back off the flats they can be intersected along these same channel ledges. There have also been reports of some bronze whalers in the same area, with the hot 'zone' between Reef Island, Elizabeth Island and Spit Point. Customer Brendan fished from Tenby Point last week chasing gummies, and landed a small bronzie of a couple kilos.