The by catch  while fishing for both whiting and snapper in the port is enough in itself to keep many anglers content, with some being better eating that the main target themselves! Changing tactic slightly to target the fish like garfish or trevally while in the shallows can provide some fun, great bait and good fare on the table.


Customer Sam has been fishing with staff member Don out on the whiting and the silver trevally have been plentiful in between whiting bites. The trevally normally make their presence known during the slackest stage of the tides and respond very well to oily berley that has some sort of pilchard or baitfish in the mix. They are best caught using softer whiting rods and fine gauge hooks, as their soft mouths can have hooks easily torn out. Don and Sam have been finding plenty along the channel edges up the top end of the port.

The same areas have also been holding good sized garfish, and they have been coming up the berley trail and can be caught on small pieces of pipi under finely weighted floats. Some of the gars have been between 40 and 50cm.


The gummy fishing has been keeping anglers happy as many are caught as snapper by catch as much a target species. Fishing the run off channel edges especially over the mudbeds has been the best way of finding one for a feed. Some of the anglers from the Keysborough Angling Club have been catching gummies along the main channel edge out from Hastings, along with whiting salmon and mackerel.

Customers Graeme and Mick have also been catching some nice table sized sharks over on the Corals. The corals area is good foraging ground for both snapper and medium sized gummies, but also gets some solid school shark and bronze whalers over the warmer months of the year. Fresh chunk or strip baits are excellent ways to connect to one.


Some large female gummies have also been making their way into the port in preparation to pup. Customers Izzy and Bruno fished the western entrance and landed 2 big female gummies. Fishing 4/0 Reedy's Rigs with californian squid got the job done, and both were caught in around 30m of water on the tide change.


Not too far away the squid fishing has been good for the land based anglers. The extensive weed and reef from Balnarring to Flinders hold some large calamari and can be fished from the shore - you just need to select your jig sink rates accordingly. Customer Travis fished from the beach at Somers and landed a couple of nice big squid on size 3.5 jigs, with gold foils doing the best. Down at Flinders pier there have been a good number of squid caught during the day, with customer Angelo getting amongst them. Angelo caught 4 nice squid in his recent session, with a mixture of UV white, lumo glow and red foil jigs doing the damage.

 

 


Western Port's snapper fishing continues to provide some excitement for anglers around Melbourne, as the fish have stayed more consistent than that of PPB this season. There are snapper now in just about all pockets of the port, and you can target the fish without having to sit next to 500 other boats. Young gun Ashie Damelio is pretty excited with the nice fish he caught with dad Steve out towards Sandy Point recently.


Customers Graeme and Mick have been getting into heaps of big pinkies and school sized snapper both from the Corals and also further up the bay in the Lysaughts area. Both squid and pilchard have been the best baits, between either baits separate or mixing up both known as the 'squidbomb' and 'superchunk'. If you haven't seen or used these baits ask us in store how you can rig them up.


Towards the Eastern arm customer Justin has been landing some solid fish, with his best going just over 9kg or the magic 20lb mark. Just has been fishing chunk baits of freshly caught yakka, couta and pike to land the bigger fish.


In the same region over towards Ryhll customer Tony has been fishing with mates Shar and Troy. The boys have landed nice snapper to 6kg in 17m of water, with fresh squid and pike doing well. Strip baits have been more effective in the faster current, with chunks and rings providing more movement and attraction when the tides have either slowed or been smaller.

 


Well it's mid December and while many anglers are still trying to make the most of the snapper season that has been a bit sporadic, others have been giving the whiting a real hit in the port. The port has been producing some quality whiting fishing in all corners. Customer Steve fished in his annual whiting comp out from Corinella over the weekend and was out done by grandson William with his best fish weighing 887g, with Steve's best weighing 800g.


Plenty of quality fish were caught out from Corinella in the muddy water with 16 fish all measuring 42cm or bigger. Fresh squid fished in small strips and tipped with pipi or a small piece of prawn is excellent in discoloured water for these larger fish. The only negative to fishing in this terrain is that small gummy sharks can scatter the fish and take your baits on light gear.


Over on the other side of the port customer Edly has been doing well on the whiting out along the middle spit. Edly has been moving about but has been finding most of the fish in the 4 - 5m depth, and has been finding that the start of the run out tide has been the most productive for him. Fishing baits of pipi and mussel along with fresh squid has been the best, with the mussel and pipi getting the most bites but the squid taking the larger fish as the tide starts to pick up. Some pinkies and flathead have also been getting in on the act on the same baits when the whiting bite thins out.


Customer Travis and son Jax have also been catching some solid whiting out from Hastings. Many of the whiting have been around the 40cm mark and are prolific from the shallow banks in 30cm of water on the top of the tides, right through to water deeper than that of many snapper grounds. Knowing which tides to fish each area has been the key to locating the fish, and constant small bait and location movements has been the fine tuning needed to secure a good bag of fish.


Speaking of the deeper water, customer Tony has been successfully catching some nice whiting in water over 20m deep. Tony was in the store during the week picking up a slightly heavier rod for targeting the whiting in deeper water, and landed a dozen or so in his first session using it. Tony has been catching some super solid whiting in 21m of water while waiting for the snapper bite to liven up. Fishing baits of squid slivers and also pilchard fillet in this depth has seen chunky whiting to 45cm come into the bite in between snapper runs.

 


Reports from Westernport have showed that all species are well and truly on offer at the moment. The next lull in weather should see plenty of anglers tangling with both snapper and whiting, with a few gummies thrown in to the mix also. The shallows of the top end have been producing plenty of small male gummies recently, with the average fish hovering around the 5kg mark. Customer Manny fished out from Warneet last week and landed a couple of nice table sized fish on 'reddy's rigz' with fresh chunk baits. Fishing run out tides along gutter and channel edge drops has been effective, while the top edge of the banks has been a good time to target these fish on a run in tide.


The snapper reports from the top end of the port have still been quite consistent, especially through the 'Lysaughts' area. The reefy bottom through this area has been holding good numbers of pinkies and school fish to around 4kg, with some larger fish coming from the shallower areas adjacent. Fishing depths of 12 - 16m has been a good way to maximise your chances for a red or two, with the larger fish frequenting the shallower 8 - 12m zones. Customer Mick was out on the port in the Tyabb region last week and landed a few nice snapper to 4kg in the area.


The whiting fishing is not to be missed in the port at the moment however.  While some of the whiting catches are holding school sized fish, there are excellent numbers around. The lower half of the port has been producing some solid fish for anglers persisting over reef and sand holes around Shoreham, with fish to nearly 50cm floating around. Squid strips and pilchard fillets have been working well on the larger fish. Up towards the top end of the port the fish have been more plentiful but slightly lacking in size - with plenty of small schooling fish around. Customer Tony and mate Shar fished the port last weekend and put together a nice bag of fish up to 42cm on a mixture of baits including pipi, mussel and squid. Fishing the bank edges in 4m of water was the hot zone for them.

 


Westernport's whiting fishing has been excellent recently, with the fish going from strength to strength. The average size of the fish is very good at present but will drop off with more small school fish into the start of Summer. There have been some exceptional fish caught down the bottom end of the port around the deeper sand holes and section of reef out from Somers and Shoreham, but there have also been good numbers of solid fish up the top of the port.


Customer Nigel has been catching good numbers of fish from the edges of the middle spit lately, with most falling to mussel. Staff member Don has also been catching whiting from the spit, along with the Gentle Annie and Warneet channels. Fish to 42cm have been taken on both pipi and softened squid cut into small worm like strips. water depths have varied as the fish move on and off the banks but the out going tide has been when the fish have been more active.


Customers from the Keysborough Angling Club have been doing well on the whiting on Westernport of late also. Customers Norm and Dave have been fishing out from Hastings and Stony Point and most of their fish have come from around the middle spit. Both pipi and squid have been the best baits, with 'snapper magnet' berley pellets doing a good job at keeping the fish nearby. Pilchard oil mixed in has attracted plenty of whiting and other bait species like yakkas and trevally, especially when the tide has starting waining.

 


Westernport is still leading the charge when it comes to snapper action. There are fish scattered all around the port, but the solid action coming from the North arm has been very consistent and producing fish for many anglers. Customer Thao fished the top of the 'runway' leading towards Eagle rock and landed 2 nice fish last week, with a nice table sized gummy shark mixing things up. Fresh calamari cut into strips and rings worked on all of the fish.


Customer Gordon also fished a similar area of the port just recently. Gordon was fishing with his young son up in the north arm in 7m of water where they landed snapper up to 6.5kg. Gordon found that whole silver whiting were the bait of choice in the shallower water. These can be fished 'swimming' into the current if the backbone is broken to liven the action up, with can trigger otherwise unresponsive fish.


Customers Johnny and David also fished out from Hastings to land snapper to 6kg. The larger fish seem to have been preferring the slightly shallower water throughout the Lysaughts region, with depths of 7 - 12m producing better quality fish. Fishing deeper through to 20m will still see fish caught, with more school fish to 3 or 4kg coming aboard. Baits of fresh squid, couta and salmon have been excellent - especially if caught from the area adjacent. 

 


While many anglers have had their sights set on snapper out in Westernport, there has been plenty of by-catch to actively target. The gummies have been fishing well whether you're out along the offshore ledges or fishing some of the deep channels or contours well inside the port. Customer Ben fished out along the western entrance in search of a big gummy and landed a monster female in the 30kg range. This fish had been offshore for some time as it's colouration is well suited for clear oceanic waters. Fresh cutlets of mackerel and salmon were excellent on the gummies for Ben.


Customer Bart has also been landing a few gummies, in amongst some other bycatch fishing out near Rhyll. Fishing were the eastern channels drop into some deeper water, most of Bart's gummies have been in the 5 - 8kg mark. Super pilchards and whiting heads have been very effective when fished on Reedy's rigs paternoster rigs. Fishing the shallower edges along where the channels drop Bart has landed a heap of pinkies and quality baits like salmon, yakkas, mackerel, pike and trevally. A bit of berley consisting of pellets and pilchard oil logs has really helped ramped up the bite with these species around the slacker stages of the tide.


While targeting snapper customers Daniel and Vito landed some nice table sized gummies. Fishing fresh squid and yakka chunks the gummies came along and provided some quality by-catch in between snapper bites along the north arm. Customer Edly also found some tasty bycatch while whiting fishing around the middle spit in the form of quality garfish. Edly found them hard to tempt and hook at first, but ramping up the berley mix and changing to smaller, narrow gaped hooks the bites were soon converted. A fine grain berley trail set up over the shallow banks is normally a good method of finding some of these tasty fish.


On the whiting front the fish have been fairly good for a few weeks. While many are sidetracked by the snapper the whiting fishing has been worth the effort. The top end of the port around the many channels has been producing whiting up to the low 40cm mark. The abundance of smaller school fish hasn't quite infiltrated the estuary as yet, but as the water warms these fish will fill the catches. Staff member Don and mate Sam fished out from Warneet over the weekend and found a good bag of fish to 41cm. Small strips of fresh squid and pipi made for the best baits when fished on smaller hooks than usual - as the bites were quite timid. Changing hook pattern to suit baits and fish activity is paramount to keeping on top of the bite at times.

 


Westernport has been fishing better for snapper on the past month than Port Phillip bay, mainly due to water temperatures. The fish have been on the bite for a little bit longer here which is normal, and they have been fairly well spread out throughout the port. Customer Tony has caught some nice fish over the past week week and even a few while whiting fishing! Tony managed a lovely fish 4kg fish on a small fine wire worm hook around the corals while chasing whiting, and was lucky to land it! The parabolic nature of the rod Tony was using was ideal to keep the fine hook in and not bend it out.


Along the north arm a good run of  fish continues, and customer Zach has been in the midst of it. Zach has been fishing fresh baits, with couta, pike and calamari all producing fish. Some of the better fish have been taken during the night and have been pushing the 7kg mark.


The same region of the port has been producing snapper for customer Manny. Manny headed out for his first snapper session in the port and managed a couple of nice fish around the 3.5kg mark. Manny had been fishing outside Eagle rock in 17m of water and found paternoster rigs tipped with strips of fresh squid were the only rig that got bites.

 


Flinders pier is still producing serious squid for persistent anglers. The squid fishing around the southern end of Westernport and Port Phillip bays has been good, with many anglers landing some big squid. This week customer Angelo has been catching some solid specimens but on some different jigs and colour schemes. Angelo has been experimenting with UV whites and also bright UV 'aggressive' colours with all of them working.


Sometimes these aggressive attention-seeking colours can work when nothing else does as they scream 'over here, eat me!' Especially in the clear oceanic water in the south of the bays, these colours really stand out. Angelo is normally a fan of passive and natural colours from Flinders pier but his gamble on some other colour patterns has paid off, so it's worth a shot!

 


While the snapper action hasn't been red hot, there are more fish caught every week - with the really good fishing coming over the next week or so. That said, keen anglers out there fishing for the reds are catching them, just not with red hot sessions. Customer Mario has been catching a few decent fish from the piers and rocks in Port Phillip, and hasn't been seeing too many others doing it. Preparation in collecting fresh bait and long hours of persistence have been the fruits of the labor and red rewards have been coming his way.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been finding the snapper fishing a bit tough at the moment, but time on the water has been getting him results for his customers. When James has been fishing Port Phillip he has been looking around the northern end of the bay from Williamstown to Brighton and Altona. James and clients have landed fish to around the 5kg mark on fresh squid and local pilchards either early morning or late into the evening.


Across in Westernport the snapper fishing has still been holding more consistent. There have been reports of fish coming from most of the port but the top of the north arm has been the best area (and potentially the busiest) to target these fish. Customers Christian and Damien fished deep around Crawfish rock to land a couple of fish to around 3kg. Fresh squid was the best bait to have, along with sinkers up around 20oz for this deep tidal scour.


Not far away in the same region of the port customer Dorian has been landing a few nice snapper. Dorian has been fishing from Tyabb through to Joes for fish like this one up around 7kg. Fresh local baits of squid, yakka and couta have been excellent up the top end of the port.