The snapper reports are starting to filter through, not that we have had ideal weather for many anglers to get out. The next 3 or so weeks will see an increase of anglers on the water as the AFL finishes up, so the bays will be a bit quieter traffic wise until then. There are still anglers getting out amongst the fish now though, as customer Chris has been. Chris has been fishing the top end of Westernport, which is known to be more productive early in the season. Chris was searching around for a larger fish in water where they are known to be caught at this time of year. A short 15 minutes after marking a good fish, Chris had a rod on and landed a cracker that weighed 9.1kg clean. The big fish was a sucker for a fresh bait near Joe's Island.

HOT SPOT: The top end of Westernport is the place to be. The area from Joe's Island around to Spit Point is a good area to be looking for a BIG snapper. The fish in the area will be grazing over the mudflats looking for crabs, mantis shrimp and whatever else they can find. While this area of the bay can seen a bit daunting with it's extensive 'high and dry' regions, if you plan your venture around a neap low tide you should be fine. Fresh baits are king here, with their scent trail wafting through the discoloured channels.

 


The trout fishing has really turned it on for anglers over the past few weeks since the opening, and there have been plenty of fish caught in the lakes during the week. The Eildon region is still well worth a drive to either fish the lake, pondage or rivers.

Customer Adam caught an absolute cracker brown from Lake Eildon recently, from the Jew's creek area. Adam caught the fish on a Yakamito 'slim minnow' in brown trout colour. This particular lure is nearly 10cm long, which shows that trout are not afraid to hit larger offerings, especially in rival trout patterns.


Also fishing the Lake, customer Mick had a weekend away with some mates and while the fishing was relatively slow there were still some nice fish caught. Mick managed a couple of browns around 1kg on the troll. Mick tried a few different options but the ever-faithful pink Tassie Devil got the job done. Something about a bright coloured lure, especially pink really gets the attention of the trout. One of the trout was hooked in the pec fin so the fish may still be running a late spawn and showing aggression towards anything in their space.


The pondage at Eildon is still fishing well for the large rainbows that have been lurking since opening weekend. These big fish will eat a fairly big lure if you are spinning, so don't be afraid to tie on something big, bright or just different to what you would normally use. Customer Nicole fished the Burke Street end of the pondage recently to land a thumping big rainbow around the 10lb mark casting lures. Fish of this size are capable of eating a lure or soft plastic 15cm long or so, and often the large 'main course' offering will get a more aggressive strike than the 'appetizer'.


Back in the local lakes, most of the suburban stocked lakes will be receiving a top up stocking any day now - just in time for School Holidays. Down at Karkarook Park, customer Ismail tried his hand at 'coarse' style baitfishing and caught a couple of small rainbows. While these fish can bite their heads off when they are berleyed into a frenzy, incorrect tackle and rig setup and the lack of a mixture of dough style baits will see most go fishless. There are plenty of anglers who catch consistently in these stocked lakes, through proper setup and persistence.

HOT SPOT: If it's trout luring you're after - the Eildon region is hard to beat. For a nice casual fish with the kids, Lakeside in Pakenham has just been stocked with 500 rainbow trout which will respond well to the coarse angling methods.

 


Snapper season is apon us! No, the fish aren't going red hot but they are out there to be caught! Water temperatures in the bay are hovering around 11.0 - 11.7C, so things are happening but not as mental as they will be! A few weeks of milder weather should start to run good and proper.

Captain Bill from Mornington snagged a nice fish around 4kg during the week fishing out wide off Mornington. There have been patches of fish sitting around 19 - 20m in this area as they come in.


The northern sections of the the bay have been producing snapper for keen anglers, as the water feeding from the Yarra brings a slight warmth to this end of the bay. Customers John and Bashir fished out from St Kilda during the week to land a few nice 5kg using fresh gars.

Across in westernport there have been a few fish caught in the normal 'early season' locations. The port holds a bit more warmth, especially in the north-eastern sections. Customers Johnny and Thao got out a few nights ago and braved the wind to score a nice fish from the top of the north arm around Yaringa. The boys fished in 11m of water and scored the fish on frozen squid.

HOT SPOT: If you're keen to try for a snapper either the top end of Port Phillip, 12 - 15m around St Kilda is worth a shot. For the westernport angler the northern Corinella mudflats are worth a good look. Stay under 11m. Squid and pilchard are the choice for early baits.

 

 

 


There have been quality squid around for anglers in search of them. Spring is traditionally known as a good time for big squid, as they come into the shallows to spawn. Both bays have good numbers of squid moving around to spawn and as with squid fishing, moving about to find the numbers is part of the game. Staff member Dylan noticed big numbers of 'paired' squid up around Black Rock, with many well over a kilo - and no one fishing for them. With no jigs on board things were always going to be tricky, but they are there to be caught! 


Customer Carlo fished out around Queenscliff to land some nice half kilo models on the shallow grass beds. Natural coloured jigs and UV whites were the most consistent on the day.Customer Ryan has also been catching some nice squid in a few areas. Ryan has found the Rye/Sorrento area has been good for numbers but the better sized models have been coming from Portsea - Queenscliff in the deeper water. To fish this deeper water effectively, 'deep' sinking jigs must be used, or the addition of a nose or chin weight to get the jig down in the current.


Customer Josh fished with mates out around Queenscliff recently and scored a good bag of squid. The clear and calm conditions were ideal for squid fishing with size 3.0 Hayabusa V3 jigs doing the best. Bright colours with inbuilt abalone flash were excellent at getting the attention of the squid in the clear water.

HOT SPOT: Flinders has always been the 'big squid' location but with ocean and southern port temperatures still cool now is the time to search for that big one. Fishing from the pier you want size 3.5 standard sink rate jigs, and 3.5 deep models if in the boat or kayak. Constantly changing colours and patterns and keeping an eye out for large numbers of bait is a good way to increase your odds with many anglers around.

 


While many angler may not the King George whiting on their mind for a good few months yet, the start of spring and initial snapper run normally signals the 'unofficial' start of the whiting season. While large bags of fish aren't as common, the much larger 'winter' condition fish are worth targeting while there's generally few people on them. The fish aren't generally up on the banks and flats like in summer - more often residing in the deeper, colder waters closer to Bass Strait. Moving about like you would on a normal whiting session is again the key to putting a bag of solid fish together. The areas of Westernport worth looking around at the moment are from Flinders to Balnarring and around Vetnor, and the southern end of the middle spit around Tankerton and Stony Point. In Port Phillip the Queenscliff - St Leonards region and Portsea to Mt Martha have been the go/


Customer Carlo and mate fished across near St Leonards recently where they found some nice sized fish. After a few moves the guys had a decent bag of fish, with averaging just shy of 40cm and nice and fat. Pipi and fresh squid were the best baits when fished on number 4 worm style hooks. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been catching some quality whiting around southern Port Phillip bay, with plenty of fish over 40cm present. The larger fish have been moving in smaller schools and have to be made the most of when they come through. Having enough baits at the ready and a small amount of organized berley, along with extra pre-tied rigs will make sure you make the most of the hot 10 minute bite windows.


Not far away customer Josh and friends got some nice fish around Queenscliff. Fishing around 7m of water saw them with a nice bag of fish, with pipi the standout. Along the same ground there were some quality squid which all hammered a size 3.0 'abalone white' Hayabusa jig.

 


While the snapper run is about to get most Melbourne anglers excited, here is a good reason to keep all options covered! Customer Steve was out fishing just offshore from Westernport recently in search of some snapper moving in when he scored a ripper gummy and school shark. Steve's ripping gummy weighed in at 22kg and took a cutlet of fresh salmon, while the school shark he landed weighed 18kg and took pilchard around slack water.


Another Spring surprize was a huge kingfish caught by customer Trent. Trent didn't want to say too much but we do know that the massive kingie was taken on live squid, and was caught inside Westernport. These thugs should start turning up over the next month, so yet another option to stretch your arms on.

 


The weekend and past few days has seen a heap of anglers out making the most of the calm weather, with quite a few out targeting squid in both bays. Early spring is a popular time to be out squid fishing and many anglers will be out starting to collect baits for the looming snapper season.

Land based there have been plenty of options, with virtually all of the bayside piers running clear and cold. Customer Joh and friends fished from Beaumaris pier over the weekend and although the flat, sunny daytime conditions were almost too good - they scored some 'normal' sized squid for here. Size 2.5 and 3.0 jigs are the go, with red foil/pinks working well at the top of the tide in the bright sunlight.


Customer Emmanuel took the tinny out for a run in Westernport's top end in search of some squid - and some nice models were found. Drifting the mid depth sections of quail bank was the go, with a bright pink and orange jig getting the job done. Again flat water and clear conditions the brighter colours are standing out.

Customer John fished with his father and sister out from Hastings to score some ripper squid over the weekend. John's sister Alexandra scored her personal best squid with a ripper from along tyabb bank.


John and his family have now got some good meals and early snapper baits sorted!

 

 

 


While it's still early days - there are snapper out there to be caught! The weather we have had over the past month hasn't helped any anglers to get out, but with some nice weather over the weekend the odd fish was caught. While the fish aren't and won't be red hot for a while, the chance of a better fish of 6-7kg is a greater, with larger fish a real possibility. These fish aren't as active as they will be once the water warms up, but they are certainly worth the effort.

Baits of freshly caught squid or pilchard are hard to beat early season, with the odd fish falling to a fresh flesh bait of mackerel or couta. Other options in tricking snapper are various lures. While many dismiss them as 'ineffective' they can be deadly - given that you've picked the right one for your scenario. While soft plastics are the most popular option, excellent early season offerings are deep running hardbodies and hybrid softvibes. Deep running trolled lures bring out the 'savage' nature of a snapper, with bone crushing and rod-jolting strikes. The advantage of slowly fishing a lure such as a softvibe along the bottom is that the snapper can hunt using their lateral line, with subtle vibrations coming from the lure imitating a small struggling baitfish or crustacean. Jarrod Day has found the softvibe option to be particularly effective early season on schooling reds.


Out in westernport the fish have been there for the taking. Customer Johnny got out for an early look around the upper reaches of westernport and was rewards with a nice 6kg fish for his efforts. Freshly caught squid was the bait of choice sitting shallow in the murky water.


Not too far away, customer Jo managed to land a lovely 6kg+ fish from a westernport back channel. The solid fish was caught not far from Elizabeth Island, and squid did the job.

So while we're just leaving winter, start getting organized for the snapper as the season will be here in full swing sooner than you know!

 


It's mid August and again trout season for the rivers and streams is fast approaching here in Victoria. While the rivers are still closed for a few weeks yet there's still plenty happening on the trout scene for anglers to get amongst! Emma from the Women In Recreational Fishing group recently went up to Eildon to fish the lake, and although it was foggy, overcast and freezing cold she did manage to get into some lovely brown trout. Many of the browns from the lake here spend their time in the open water and take on a very pale brown/silver appearance, with not as many spotted markings as their river cousins. For those fishing the lake, the ever reliable tassie devils have still been producing, especially when upgraded with ultra-sharp assist hooks.


Customer Paul also got into some open water brown trout, although down at Blue Rock Lake. Paul was fishing from his hobie kayak where he slow trolled tassies around the drop-offs and timbered edges of the lake to land some trout to around 45cm. Paul found all of the fish to be actively feeding in the open water, and have the same pale silvery appearance. The best tassie on the day was the no55 pink, fished on 'Dancing Jack' assist hooks.


On the bait fishing scene, there have still been some nice stockies coming from the pondage. Customer Simon came into the store to stock up on the essential ingredients for successful fishing around the Eildon area. Simon found a bag of nice rainbows from the lower pondage using the coarse method and specialist trout dough for bait.

Down at Karkarook Park there have been trout on offer for those fishing the same methods. Customer Sarah and her son Harry fished the lake recently where Harry managed some lovely rainbow trout. The best method was again the berley/feeder cage method and a powerbait/trout dough bait concoction.


A fair bit further south in Tasmania, Matt Sheriff reports that the Tassie trout season has started off well. Matt has been using his Hawk 'sniper' hardbodied lures with great effect on some solid lake trout. Many of the colours were working well but the standout have been the gold 'spawn belly' models, with some of the fish really hammering the lures on a 'stop-start' jerking retrieve.

 


While the windy weather of late hasn't been great for the boat based fisherman wanting to get out in the bays, the local estuaries around the bay and further afield have been producing some good bream. The mixed freshwater in the local systems has stirred them up enough to get the fish fired up and give anglers a bit of cover. The Patto has been running hot with the bream of late, even though it hasn't been getting fished that much.

Customer Tony got down to the river recently and caught some nice sized fish among the canals. Tony was fishing small live freshwater yabbies on fine gauge hooks on light leader to fool fish up to 39cm. 


More anglers having success in the Patto have been using mixed techniques. Customer Tony fished the main river near the end boat ramps during the week to land bream to around 35cm. Tony was using shrimp and freshwater yabbies on a basic running sinker rig. The main river has been seeing a lot of attention for mullet fisherman of late, and a lot of the berley and commotion also brings the bream around for a feed.

Customer Jake has been landing some chunky fish on lures in the canals. Jake has been using a mixture of hardbodies and plastics to land the cunning fish, but his persistence and belief that the fish will eventually eat a lure is also a vital skill to employ on such tricky fish. If you're into your plastics and lure fishing, make sure you pop into the store and check out some of the new lures available.


Down the road the Gippsland lakes have been fishing hot-and-cold for the bream. Being such a large system, the fish can be at the complete opposite of where you're fishing - especially if you only fish a few locations. Generally at present most of the bream and lower in the systems, where they school up in preparation for spawning. They can be frustrating to tempt when in such a mood, but cycling through different lure and bait options will see you eventually gain success. Customer Paul was down in the lakes system recently and found the the fish were keyed onto his plastics, with the newest model UV loaded 'Squidgies' being the most effective.


In the same part of the world angler Pat got into some nice bream. Pat was fishing the 3 rivers out in the Gippsland lakes and caught his brace of fish on fresh sandworm.