The top end of Westernport has been getting fished a bit over the last week by anglers in search of whiting, and the whiting fishing has been a bit sporadic in the shallows - but there have been some nice flathead caught as bycatch. Most of the flathead caught around the whiting grounds tend to be sand flathead, but sometimes you will find a patch of tasty rock flathead as well. Staff member Chris fished with mate Jay out near Yaringa where they did catch both King George whiting and rock flathead. The rock flathead were good size and took baits intended for the whiting over thick weed beds in 4m of water. The same ground also produced school sized whiting.


Just over at Warneet, customer Sam caught a nice bag of whiting earlier in the week. Sam fished in 7m of water and found the start of the incoming tide the most productive time. Fish to 44cm took a mixture of baits including pipi, squid and cuttlefish. The 6 - 12m area seems to have been the more productive depth for the whiting at the moment, with most anglers concentrating in this zone. 

 

Whiting reports from Westernport this week have been a bit patchy, with quite a few anglers talking of hard fishing and sparse action. Many anglers who have been going out and 'staying put' in known areas have been struggling a bit, but the guys constantly moving about and trying different things are getting some nice fish. Fishing deep has been productive for anglers recently, with less fish coming aboard but much better quality in the fish that are. Just make sure you have suitable 'deep water' whiting rods, as many standard 'bank' whiting rods will be overloaded with the extra weight needed in the deeper water.

Customer Steve fished out from Warneet earlier this week and while the reports were grim, Steve and his mate managed 10 whiting between them - with only 2 fish measuring under 40cm. The boys worked hard and found the better fish a bit deeper in the 10m area, with the run out tide providing the action, and baits of pipi and mussel fishing the best for them.


Staff member Don fished around the top end as well over the weekend where him and mate Sam caught 17 fish. Fishing in around 5m of water, the bite started going as the run out tide started gaining momentum and the fish wouldn't look past a small pipi fished on a size 6 'worm. hook.

 


There has been some quality fishing out around the entrances to both bays and in Bass Strait over the last week or so. Reports of acres of Bluefin tuna hanging around, kingfish in good numbers off the headlands and reasonable shark fishing as well. While the tuna have been getting caught, most anglers aren't keeping their eyes peeled for signs that these fish are about. Water temperature and colour changes, seabirds hovering or shimmering 'slicks' of baitfish can be enough of an indication that the larger predators are around, so it's not just a matter of throwing a lure out and driving around until you hook up. Smaller lures have been working better than larger offerings lately as well, as most of the baitfish in the area are small pilchards and whitebait.


Customer Justin got outside over the weekend and went around towards Cape Schank where he managed 2 nice kingies. Justin caught one of the fish on a fresh squid head near the bottom and the other on a 'Slither' jig in 165g.

Customer Marty has been catching both tuna and kings down at King Island recently. Marty has found casting to be the most productive method on both fish, with soft plastics like 'sluggos' working well rigged on a jighead, and small surface stickbaits like the nomad 'madscad' also doing the job. Natural, baitfish colours are tricking the fish when conidtions are calm.


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The warm weather over the last week has seen plenty of anglers out fishing after dark, making the most of the mild nights. The squid fishing has been good around the many piers and rocks around both bays although no real monsters have been caught. Customers Jim and Harry fished with staff member George down at Flinders earlier this week where a few nice specimens were caught. They weren't monsters by Flinders standards but quality none the less. The boys also noticed lots of anglers targeting the horse mackerel around the pier with small baits under a float.


The best jig for the night was the slow-sinking Yamashita Q Live Search in pink. The tide was low at Flinders so the slow sink rate of this particular jig helped in staying in the 'hit zone' for longer, while also keeping above the leather-like weed and kelp that claims many jigs every day. These 'slow sink' jigs in 3.5 size are recommended for any shallow. heavily weeded bays like around the pier.


Over at Queenscliff customer Scott has been getting some nice squid. Scott came in store to top up his jig supplies, after losing some to the weed. Scott and mates have been getting most of their squid on a mixture of baited jigs and artificial jigs along the right hand side of the pier.


Small garfish suspended under a 'flasher' style float have been getting results, while the Yamashita Q Live 490 search jigs have also been working around the this area. The slow sinking models (blue eyes) have been good as the ground around Queenscliff is similar to Flinders and lacks the amount of tidal flow compared to places like Portsea or Sorrento.


Further back up Port Phillip, the small pier at Mornington has been producing loads of 'typical' sized squid. While there have been a few better sized squid coming from the cobblestone wall section of the main pier, they have been patchy in numbers. The small pier in front of the restaurants has been holding large numbers of these small squid, which have been a bit picky on jigs. Being so small, the most effective jig size on these are tiny little 1.5 - 2.0's, with natural baitfish patterns working when most others aren't. Start with a brighter colour to test the mood of the squid, as some nights they will hammer the brighter colours over the naturals. Staff members Dylan and Don have been at the pier catching these bait sized squid with the above mentioned jig sizes working best, and the odd one like this grabbing a size 2.5.

 

The whiting fishing in westernport has picked up a bit over the last week or so, with some better size fish on the go. The hot areas have been the middle spit and also the Yaringa end of quail bank. Many fish over 40cm have been around, with the average size being about 38cm. Customer Carlo got out over the weekend and got into some nice sized fish. The hot bait was fresh squid, with a few taking pipi also. The run out tide fished the best in 6m of water.


Quail bank has been producing some solid whiting like this ripper for customer Colin. Colin fished around the 4m area along the bank and got his bag of fish, with 10 of them being over 40cm. Pipi and mussel fished best during the incoming tide.

 


There has been plenty of talk of bluefin tuna over the last week or so, which is good as most anglers only assume tuna season is May-June. Yes they are certainly about during late autumn and winter, but some of the best tuna fishing can be had right now no matter where you're fishing for them. While many anglers may find the thoughts of finding tuna locally quite daunting, there are normally fish around within reach of offshore anglers during the summer months. These fish can be very flighty however, and trolling straight through bait schools with big lures very rarely cuts it. A lot of these fish are feeding on schools of small whitebait and pilchards or similar sized prey, so scaling down your gear and lure choices is the way to go.


James Roger from Unreel Fishing Charters has spent some time last week down fishing around Portland where he has caught some nice bluefin tuna with his sons. The tuna have been around in small numbers along the west coast, with the inshore reefs and contours holding fish.

A fair bit closer to home the tuna have been making their presence felt, with a ripper bluefin caught by James' son Dylan amongst some nice kingies just earlier this week. This nice fish was caught on a small pilchard patterned stickbait on a 3000 sized stradic reel, and took nearly 2hrs to land! The best part was this fish was caught just out from Flinders, where a few fish have been hooked - even by locals fishing from the pier.

 

While most people assume that shore based fishing isn't any good around the bays, there's been a lot of variety caught at the moment. There are many piers, rockwalls and beaches around both bays where you can catch some fish - the trick is to try and target a particular species. While this can sometimes be fruitless (that's why it's called fishing and not catching) you will generally do better if you set yourself up in search of a particular fish, instead of setting up for everything and most likely not catching much.


Around most of the piers in southern Port Phillip and Westernport there have been good numbers of yakkas. While they turn up and disappear pretty quickly, they should hang around for a while now as the reports have only recently hotted up. Portsea, Blairgowrie, Sorrento and Flinders are all worth a shot. Customer Angelo fished from Flinders pier during the week and while the squid were quiet for him, the mackerel made up for it. Small pieces of prawn fished on light gauge hooks off a paternoster rig were the go for him. Many anglers have also been catching good numbers of mackerel fishing under a float, as they tend to move about mid-water a lot. A fine grit, coarse-like berley mix is deadly when these fish are around, as it will keep the school actively feeding in your area. They can also be caught using small soft plastics fished on light weight and fine gauge jigheads.


While not normally known for whiting, fished from the shores of Port Phillip can produce some nice fish. Staff member Dylan has seen some good sized fish around Brighton and Black Rock during the week while swimming - with no one fishing for them. Fishing after dark around the top of the tide can be the most productive time, especially after a warm day. Customer Ange fished from the shore around Sandringham during the week where he caught some nice fish. Ange also found a patch of smaller pinkies, which came from a nearby reef to hammer his baits.

If you are chasing the whiting, try and target areas of sand with small patches of eelgrass or light reef nearby, and cast your baits around the edge of this structure, as the whiting will frequently patrol the edges looking for food. If it's pinkies your after, areas of heavier reef with broken sand patches are more productive, especially around last light. There are plenty of areas like around Brighton, Black Rock, Frankston and Mornington.


On the squid scene, things have been good. The warm afternoons have been good for squidding from the beaches and rocks, with Blairgowrie, Mornington and Mt Martha all producing. Customer Harry got out and fished from the beaches around Mt Martha and Mt Eliza, where he caught 8 nice squid using the Yakamito 'fluoro lemon' jig.


Around the same sort of ground off Mt Martha, customer Daniels and Jake fished in close to the shore in their kayak. A nice calm 5:30am start meant they caught prospect around the shallows without much chop and boat wake. The guys ended up with 9 squid in a few hours, on a variety of jigs in both size 2.5 and 3.0. Orange, green and purple colours worked on the day. Staff member Dylan fished in a similar area during the week to land 9 squid on size 2.5 Yamashita and Shimano jigs, with UV based blacks and pinks the standouts.

 


While normally slipping under the radar amongst all the other fishing to be done over the summer months, there have been some ripper gars about. While a lot of anglers overlook them as a target, the beauty of them is they can be caught land based or boat. Most of the shallow inshore areas of both bays and all of our other estuaries will hold gars, it's just a matter of getting numbers of them to hang around. A bit of berley normally gets them going and they are a brilliant eating fish to add to the day's bag.

Pier fishing for gars in the bay has been good around Brighton, Sandringham, Beaumaris, Frankston and Dromana, along with Stony point pier in Westernport. Gawaine Blake has been catching some real gars around Stony Point while out near the whiting grounds.


Don't be fooled, gars CAN be very tricky to catch consistently and the correct tackle and technique will soon separate the full buckets from the empty ones. Delicately balanced and weighted floats with mid length shank hooks are some of the tackle 'must-haves' but matching hook to bait selection and the correct consistency berley mixture is also vital. 


Customer Tim has been getting some good gars from Frankston pier recently. Tim used both maggots and silverfish in conjunction with his berley mix to secure a bag.


 


Flinders has been producing some very good squid if you're in the area - both boat and pier based. If the weather permits you can launch a small boat or kayak from the beach here and fish out just beyond the pier, as the kelp beds here stretch far and wide and hold good numbers of big squid. Customer Vito has been catching some big squid in the boat just out from the pier when the conditions are right, with bigger size 3.5 and 4.0 jigs attracting the larger squid. Black, purple, green, and white based colours seem to be producing the best around here of late.


Customer Thua fished with his friends from the pier during the week where they caught some ripper squid. The most effective method was a dropshot/paternoster rigged Yamashita Live Search jig in size 3.0, kept above the kelp beds.

 

Well the story the past week on the whiting front from MOST people is that they have been fairly slow. The consistent reports of inconsistent fishing have been the word, but this should improve over the next week as we pass the moon. There have been anglers putting together bags of fish from their normal marks but the standout seems to have been the larger fish coming from the deeper water around the smaller tides. The quality of the fish coming from the deeper is generally always much better, and the bonus can come in the form of snapper and gummies, as most of the reports show.

Gawaine Blake has been getting some ripper whiting from the deep water around Cowes during the week, with genuine 50cm fish hitting the deck. The first hour of run in tide has been the most productive time, with squid strips the deadly bait.


Customers Zoran and Tony have been putting together numbers of whiting, in amongst pinkies, trevally, flathead and gummies by fishing deeper water. Generally you can get away with slightly larger hook and bait sizes in the deeper water as the whiting have less time to worry about picking at the baits as there are bigger mouths lurking around.

Customer Bart has been fishing up around Hastings for the whiting and has done ok considering the slower fishing. Bart has been working his way along the middle spit and tyabb banks to catch some nice whiting on pipi, with good numbers of squid coming from the same areas, following hooked whiting up to the boat. A fresh squid tentacle or strip has also helped bag the odd whiting too.