Most anglers don't realize but the winter fishing for both pinkies and snapper can be excellent. While numbers of fish aren't as thick as say October, the rewards are certainly there for anglers braving the cold conditions. There have been fish scattered all over the bays bu the real hot spot for numbers of fish has been the top end of Port Phillip. The reefy areas from Black Rock further north right up into the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers have been the better spots to focus on.  Most of the fish have been from 35 - 50cm but ththere have been much larger fish about.

Customer Maresi caught a ripper fish from Lagoon pier recently under the cover of darkness. Not much details are known about the capture but either way landing a big snapper sure beats staying at home!


The typical schooling size fish from the Docklands region have been on the chew lately, with both bait and lures getting bites. Productive baits have been pilchard and salmon fillets, fished on twin snelled 1/0 hooks. If you are able to cast baits like this unweighted you will be much more successful, as the fish will aggressively take the bait as it slowly wafts down. The same can be said with soft plastics - heavily weighted jigheads might gain extra casting distance but they all snag up much quicker and don't attract as many bites on 'the drop' like lighter weights do. Small 3 inch grub and paddletail style plastics are proving very effective at the moment, especially through the afternoon into night.


Customer Ryan has been catching plenty of fish in the 40cm size range from the Docklands and nearby piers, on both lure and bait. Ryan's more successful bait lately has been small strips and fillets of Australian salmon, which have also been plentiful.

Customer Jake has also been catching quite a few good sized pinkies while chasing bream in the metro rivers on lures. The lower sections of the Maribyrnong and Yarra have been holding good sized schools which have been responding well to worm style soft plastics. As these schools have been moving with the tide, having a depth sounder capable of locating them without too much fuss s the best way to maximize your fishing time.

 

The bream and flathead fishing both around the Gippsland estuaries has been very good recently for both bait and lure anglers. Whether you're going to nick down to one of 'The Big 3' rivers around Bairnsdale or Lakes Entrance or you're keen to drive further on out towards Mallacoota the fish have been going well. 

Friend of the shop and local Marine Accessory Distributor Trevor sent us a photo of one of his relatives with some nice bream from Lake Tyers. The bream were caught land based on a mixture of baits, with crab and worm being used.

Around the same area customer Jordan has been catching some solid bream on hardbodies. Jordan has found that the fish have slowed off a bit from shallow running lures and surface offerings, but are still very keen to smash a deeper running hardbody like the Daiwa Spike or Yakamito Devil Edge. Both of these lures will 'crash dive' to over 2m so they can be held right down where the fish are feeding.


Most of the fish Jordan has been catching have been in the mid 30cm size range, with a few nudging the 40cm mark. Deeper running hardbodies or soft plastics will gather more and more attention from the bream in the rivers as the days get cooler. These lures are perfect to slowly bump along the rock edges in rivers such as the Tambo or Nicholson.


Staff member Chris has just returned from a trip a bit further afield around Bemm River and Tamboon inlet with mates Bill and Colin. While Chris had shocking weather with gale force winds and rain while he was away, as soon as he got back to the shop the weather cleared (We'd like a dollar for every time that happened). So as the usual story goes, Bill and Colin had plenty of fun catching a good amount of dusky flathead to over 80cm while Chris was back at work.


There were plenty of excellent sized flatties caught from Tamboon and Bemm River using a variety of soft plastics. The main killers were the 'Bungee Baits' paddle tail shads which are ultra durable, which helps in the mouth of a big angry flathead or tailor.

 

Melbourne's local metro estuaries have fired up on the bream front over the past week, with some of heavy but brief rain making it's way into the systems. The bream, especially local fish which see a lot of human interaction become skittish and flighty once the water clarity stays too clear for too long. Heavy rainfall brings more food into the rivers and estuaries for them and gives them more cover from potential predators.

Since the last lot of rain the bream have fired up in all of the rivers including the Yarra, Maribyrnong, Werribee and Patto. Customer Jake popped in the store just during the week to grab some new limited lures and next thing he was catching some rippers out of the Patto. Jake was fishing the new rattling model bent minnows to fool the cagey Patto fish.


We've received a very limited supply of new 'Aussie special' rattling bent minnows. These lures are extremely effective at getting bites from picky bream and the limited colours will be a sure thing. Make sure you grab one before they disappear, at this rate they won't be available for very long!


Over in the Werribee river the bream have been on the chew as well. Member of the Keysborough Angling Club had their Melbourne Rivers fishing competition, with around 12 members out having a crack. Out of all the anglers fishing, the best results were had by members fishing the Werribee. Dave weighed 4 bream for around 2.3kg while Paul landed 3 bream for 1.2kg.

 

 

 


The bream and flathead fishing around the local and out of town estuaries has been excellent, even with heavy holiday crowds. The cooler water temperatures have got the bream at a comfortable level where they can feed in the shallows without the water being too hot, and the flathead can also ambush these shallow areas too.

Customer Morgan was down in Gippsland with mate Jinsu where they caught some nice bream on lures. Overcast and slightly breezy conditions made for some good fishing, with the fish eager to eat the lures. The most effective lures on the day were the Jackall 'spytail' jointed stickbaits. When these lures were fished with sharp twitches and a pause the fish would hit them ferociously.


Customer Shane has been out near Lakes Entrance over the break chasing the big flathead about. Shane ordered in some 'live prawn' soft plastics to give a good run on the big flatties and he has put them straight to good use. Shane has been catching good numbers of table flathead on these lures but also fish to nearly 70cm.


Working these live prawns with a sharp-hop-and-fall retrieve has been the best way to get the attention of the larger flathead, and being tear-resistant they seem to last well against the sharp teeth.


Customer Tony has been back to his old tricks, catching some nice bream in the Patto.Tony fished after some light rain using freshwater yabbies and landed 6 nice fish up to 42cm. Among these, 3 fish busted Tony off against the pylons and mussel encrusted poles, and that was on 10lb leader. The Patto will continue to fish well as we get some more rain during Autumn.

 


The estuaries out along the east Gippsland coastline are fishing well at present. The holiday crowds have quietened off and water traffic is back to a minimum and the fish are eating. The Gippsland lakes themselves have been quiet however, with some rumoured blue-green algae present. Lake Tyers has been producing fish for anglers keen enough to be on the water early and late, and move about to find the fish. Customer Shane was down at Tyers just recently where he landed this ripper flathead that measured 92cm. The monster flattie took a 5'' prawn imitation, which needless to say Shane has stocked up on again.


The bream have been actively feeding around the margins of the lakes and creeks in the area, with shallow diving minnows and surface presentations getting the most consistent results. A common theme recently has been the use of brightly coloured lures to 'shock' the bream in to giving a 'reaction' bite. Where natural or ghost colour patterns may go unnoticed the brighter contrasting colours key in to the fishes inquisitive nature and the only way for them to test is by using their mouth!


Customer Ryan with some average Gippsland bream caught using small brightly coloured surface and subsurface lures, with overcast and slightly choppy conditions favoured as being the most productive.

 

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.

 


Customer Hendrik is away holidaying with family along the mid northern NSW coastline between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, near South West Rocks. Hendrik has been doing some fishing both in the estuary and lower section of the Macleay river and also offshore using his Hobie kayak, and he has been catching lots of varieties of fish. Hendrik enjoys his lure fishing and in the river he has been catching good size dusky flathead and sand whiting using Zman and Bungee Bait grubs in the bloodworm colour. Around the river mouth and offshore he has been catching plenty of school mulloway, snapper and kingfish.


The most successful lure for the larger fish has been the 'Smash Squid' in UV lumo colour. In Hendrik's words they are 'lollies' to the fish. Hendrik has found a 1/8oz worm or weedless hook setup has been the most productive when cast around structure or cruising fish. 

 

Some of the estuaries of eastern gippsland have been fishing well. Some systems are shut and need a good flush to open them to the ocean and bring some stability back, while others are fishing very well at present.

Customer Tom fished with some of his mates down in Bemm river earlier in the week where they did ok. Fishing the Mahogony's region of the lake in around 1m of water they caught some nice bream. Sandworm and prawn fished on light sinkers did the trick with some nice fish landed. Trolling lures around the entrance channel also caught the guys some solid tailor.


Staff members George and Dylan also fished the Bemm river/Marlo region recently. Casting all manner of lures from kayaks, the guys caught and released some nice school sized fish amongst the odd nice sized flathead. While the estuaries weren't fishing super well for the guys they still managed to catch fish after a bit of lure trial and error.


The most productive method for the bream seemed to be shallow running jerkbait style hardbodies fished over the mudflats and around the reed edges. With windy conditions lure placement was harder but still very important, as the fish weren't moving far to eat the lures.

 

 

There have been some nice squid of offer if you're able to find a break in the average winter weather we've had recently. Both bays have been fishing well for the calamari, the only real factors worth keeping an eye on are the wind and rain. Once the banks and shallows become stirred up and slightly cloudy the squid can be a bit of a struggle, but as soon as these areas clean up they will be back on the chew. Customer Justin got a few nice ones out in Westernport just recently, with the 'nemo' coloured jigs working the best up on the shallow banks. The area around Hastings produced the goods for him. 


Port Phillip has seen it's share of nice squid as well, from the top end around Brighton right the way down to Portsea. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been getting some large squid around Sorrento and Portsea with many over 1kg. Small but fast sinking jigs have been doing well when fished during the faster stages of the tide. Staff member Dylan fished out from Mornington during the last calm spell in search on some squid using fly gear. Armed with just one fly outfit and a handful of flies that he tied up, he found small patches of squid along the rocky drop offs just out from the shoreline. While there were no monsters caught or bag limit quantities, catching them on fly tackle proved to be a fair bit of fun in itself.

 

Even though this time of year isn't really known as being the most productive time of year to target Murray cod, they can still be caught if you're willing to brave the cold and put in the time. During the cooler months of the year Murray cod cod generally slow their metabolism down and don't actively hunt as much, but they can still be caught. Between the lure vs bait debate, lures come into their own for triggering a strike from a cod during cooler weather. Even though they might not actually want to hunt for food, by repeatedly casting or running a lure over a likely looking snag you can tap into the cod's 'territorial' nature - whereas they are virtually annoyed into striking the lure.

Staff member Ian took his kayak up to Eildon just recently in search of a big winter cod. Ian spent a bit of time looking for likely cod water and then strategically worked these areas over to be sure he maximized his chances. After a long day on the water, Ian managed to land a 93cm 'barrel' cod from around the Frasers area. Ian landed the fish on a size 1 Stumpjumper in a redfin pattern.


Customer Ivan also had a taste of Eildon native fishing recently. Ivan caught this nice little cod from the timber in the background on a purple Yakamito lure. Fish of this size are very common to catch in the lake this days, and will only get bigger with plenty of prey items available for them.