Whiting season is apon us! While not the norm for many at the time of year, the whiting fishing has been excellent for the past 5 weeks or so. At the moment there are plenty of whiting about to be caught, and while they are still a bit of work in the cooler water the quality has been excellent - whether you're fishing in Westernport or southern Port Phillip. If you think big squid grounds - think big whiting also. Customer Thomas has been fishing around the bottom end of the middle spit and Tortoise head for fish up to 41cm. The outgoing tide has been the most productive time for him.


The region around Tortoise head has been excellent for customer John. John has fished the area for the past few weeks and has consistently found good bags of fish, especially when fishing late in the afternoons. Many of John's fish have been either side of 40cm and have been taken on pipi and mussel.


Southern Port Phillip has been excellent for whiting also. The southern end from around Rye through to Portsea and Queenscliff has been the area to target. Fishing water from 2 - 7m has been where most of the bites have been coming from. Customer Josh has been catching some good bags of fish around Rye and again just wide of Portsea pier in about 6m. Pipi and fresh squid have been the baits of choice.

Customer Aaron also fished southern Port Phillip recently around the Sorrento area and further back to Blairgowrie and landed a good haul of fish. Pipi and mussel have been the better baits, with some better size fish coming through just on or after dark. Small amounts of berley have been a good way of turning a couple of fish into a solid bag. Small size whiting nuts have been excellent berley for whiting, mixed in with a small amount of mashed pilchard or fish oil to create a small slick. Just don't over-do the berley down here and schools of salmon and trevally will overrun your whiting school.

 


Estuary species have been fishing well over the past few weeks, with late winter rain really helping the fishing along. The main species being bream and mulloway throughout the Gippsland lakes and around the metro estuaries. The Gippsland rivers have been producing the bream throughout mainly the lower reaches as the salinity levels are more comfortable for the fish. Customer Peter was recently fishing from the shore of the lower Tambo with his wife where they landed some nice fish. Multiple bream up to 42cm were caught on sandworm and prawn.


Around the Melbourne metro rivers the bream have been found down a bit lower in the systems and semi schooled up in more open water. The lower Werribee river has seen a lot of the fish down in the lower river just up from the boat ramp, with crab and freshwater yabbies being the baits of choice. In the Patterson river the bream have been found towards the lower river and out into the mouth of the bay, and open waters of the river. Staff member Dylan has been fishing the river recently and finding good numbers of fish to around 41cm. The fish have been moving about and timid, but have been taking small crab and yabby pattern soft plastics on the open water mudflats and silt beds. There has also been the odd mulloways cruising the main river as well for anglers using heavier gear.


On the mulloway front, there have been fishing cruising the metro rivers and also in decent numbers in the western coastal estuaries. Staff member Dylan fished some of the western rivers with mates recently in search of the mulloway and after a lot of searching the fish were found. Among all the boats fishing nearby the fish were quite spooky and moving about a lot - but found with the use of side scan on the sounder.


All up 10 mulloway were landed, with the largest measuring around 90cm. The mulloway were hard to tempt and were only willing to eat a small selection of lures, with small heavily weighted vibes being the pick of the bunch - with a few picked up on soft plastic also. Subtle action in the lures was what the fish were after most, with light tail twitches on the plastics and soft lifts on the vibes getting the fishes' attention.

 


While the phrase "it's still too early" is commonly being uttered among snapper fishing talk - we're now mid September and the fish have been hanging about for a while, and anglers have been catching them. Sure, water temperatures are not quiet at 'optimum' but the fish are still there and they have to eat. Many landbased locations have been producing fish and patches of both bays are also holding fish that are eating on more regular terms. Captain Bill from Mornington took a photo of a local angler fishing the pier and rockwall just a few days ago with a nice fish taken on fresh squid. During heavy onshore weather the pier has been holding some quality fish and is worth fishing straight after said weather.


While Mornington pier has been producing fish, Frankston, Mordialloc and Brighton have also been doing the same. The beaches in these same areas have been producing active fish also - so if the pier is packed head onto the beach nearby instead of casting into the same area as a heap of other anglers, this way you're giving yourself a better chance. Customer Ahmad has been looking around the piers and beaches over the past month and has landed snapper to around 7kg for his efforts, with fresh squid and pilchard still the better baits.


For the boat based anglers in Westernport the fish have come on a bit stronger - which is normal for this time of year. Water temperatures and rainfall play a big part in when the fish switch on and where. At the moment the more consistent areas to concentrate on are between Corinella north and Grantville and about Hastings. There have been numbers of fish moving around the 'finger' channels way up the North-Eastern corner of the port, where the low tide mudflats are warming up the surrounding water. Customer Anthony has been fishing this area with his daughter and together have caught her first snapper. The nice school fish took fresh squid.

Customer Zach has also been amongst the snapper. Zach has been fishing the water of the North arm and has managed a brace of nice fish in his first trip - with fresh squid and pike both doing the job. Searching for small pockets of slightly warmer water and bait nearby is a good way to locate some snapper at the moment.

 


There have been dome snapper, and plenty of pinkies coming into the reports around the bay over the past week or so. While the fish are still scattered and not thick in numbers, they are definitely out there and are being caught. Water temperatures around the bay have been hovering around 12C, and once jump above 13-14 and stay there the fish will come on the bite more frequently. While the top end of the bay from Hobsons Bay through to around Black Rock is the area worth looking in, there has been the odd fish further down the bay.

Customer Ngoc got a surprise fishing in the Patto river last week, with a solid 3.5kg snapper taking his bait up towards the last boat ramp. Ngoc managed to land the fish on light tackle and with a minuscule size 8 C10U hook set up for bream.


Around most of the inshore reef through the top end of the bay there has been stacks of pinkies, with plenty of size fish to around 2kg in the mix. Staff member Dylan has caught a few both on bait while chasing other fish and also on plastics from the shore over the past few weeks. Brighton, St Kilda and Mordialloc piers and the adjacent beaches have been providing fish to around 45cm on plastics when fished in the afternoons. Dylan has found 'weedless' jigs and buoyant plastics to be the most successful over the broken reef.

 

 


Murray cod season around the country finished up just this week until later this year, but a few anglers got out and gave it one last crack before giving the fish a bit of a break. While not normally seen as the cod 'time' of year, there have been plenty of fish caught. One nice fish was caught by customer Izzy, on her first cod session. Izzy saved it until the last few days of the season but managed her first Murray cod on a spinnerbait, and even better locally in the Yarra River. Now just bring on December 1!


Up around Mulwala customer Vito fished with mates in search of a few fish before the close. With some good conditions they fished the lake and down into the Bundalong region, doing a bit of casting and trolling. The guys managed a few fish on both techniques, with swimbaits as big as 25cm catching fish - right down to lures under 10cm also. The better fish from the session was caught on the troll, and was a nice solid river fish taken on a hardbody bumping the timber.


It's not all over luckily - as Lake Eildon stays open for Murray cod fishing year round. Some of the big fish have been seen moving into shallow bays and fighting with each other for prime habitat so bigger lures have been working still. Customer Ben fished the lake on the weekend and had a 600g trout almost jump into the boat to escape a big cod lurking nearby, while the roach schools have also been a target for active fish. Customer Thomas fished the lake just recently and nailed another nice fish from the the timber - with the huge Megabass Garuda looking like a snack in comparison to the chunky fish. Thomas has been spending hours on the water casting and has found both the Garuda and Magslowl to be some of the more consistent performers on the lake.

 


If you're looking for a good quality gummy shark for the table and the weather plays ball - head offshore from the bays. The offshore gummy fishing has been excellent all winter and continues on, with the wind and swell the only real factors to consider. Heading out from either entrance in Westernport or from The Rip there is acres and acres of quality shark ground to drift or anchor near. If you're heading out from the eastern entrance like customer Steve did, you can head halfway towards Cape Paterson on the right conditions, and catch your bait and gummies out there. Steve fished a bit closer in around Cape Woolamai just recently, where he a couple of gummies to 12kg on baits of freshly caught wrasse and red mullet. Steve managed the fish in about 35m of water.


Out from the western entrance customers Benny and Damien have also been getting into the gummies. The boys fished out from the Seal Rock area in 40m of water and landed 3 nice fish between them. All 3 of the fish were around the 10kg mark and took baits of wrasse and pike caught from the area. There have also been a few snapper floating around these same reef areas as they make their migration into the bays.

 


Westernport bay has been fishing well as we roll on into the start of Spring. The main species are on offer for anglers chasing them with whiting, squid and snapper all worth the effort. While the snapper fishing is far from red hot, there are fish in the port willing to eat if you are out there looking for them. The usual late Winter areas of the port are where the fish have been, with the Corinella region to Spit Point a good area to look, along with up the North arm out from Hastings. Customers Thao and Johnny have been out making the most of the weather windows in the port and have seen a couple of fish for their efforts. Snapper to 4.4kg have made their way into the boat with fresh squid being the successful bait. 14m of water and the early stage of the run out tide were the go.


The squid fishing has been good in the port also, even with some milky water up on some of the banks after the rain. The hot spots have been the Quail and Tyabb banks, with most coming from slightly deeper grassbeds in the cleaner water. Spring is normally a great time to be out in search of the larger squid as they spawn - and the southern end of the port has already seen some nice specimens caught. As usual a variety of jigs will give you be best results rather than 'putting all your eggs in one basket' with one colour. The best thing to pay attention to when selecting jigs colours is light level in the sky and water colour.


Staff member Don and mate Sam fished out on the port over the weekend in search of some squid and they caught some up to around a kilogram. Water conidtions in the morning were ideal but as the wind picked up they were forced to fish a bit deeper off the banks in 8m where they caught some larger squid. Red foil jigs worked well on the shallower banks, with UV blues and greens doing more damage in the deeper water. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been spending time out in the port with customers on the squid grounds - with plenty of happy anglers. James has been fishing a variety of colours and sizes with blacks, green, and bright UV yellow/orange all working - just depending on light and cloud conditions. The Tortoise head area and south of Sandy Point has been excellent for numbers of squid.


While many anglers aren't really thinking King George whiting, there have been enough out in the port to keep any KGW angler happy. Numbers of fish have been good, and average sizes around the high 30cm mark to low 40cm nothing to turn your nose up at. The middle spit and Tortoise head have been excellent areas to try and where most of the fish have been coming from. The region around Balnarring and Somers has also had some quality fish but much smaller numbers of fish. Customers like Long have been catching some respectable bags of fish to around 39cm from the area on both pipi and squid. Pipi has been the standout in the shallower water with the fish really firing up before dark.

 


The late Winter rain has done wonders for the estuary fishing both locally and down into Gippsland. The local Port Phillip rivers have been fishing well for bream, particularly with bait. Customer George was fishing the Werribee river just last week where he found a few reasonable size bream, but was also pleasantly surprized when a nice 90cm mulloway decided to eat one of his bass yabbies. George managed to wrangle the fish in using very light main line and leader which was a good effort.


Members of the Keysborough Angling Club fished the Melbourne metro rivers in search of bream over the weekend with mixed results. With only a few members able to fish over the weekend there weren't a huge number of fish weighed in, but the fish that were came from the Patterson River. The Patto has been running dirty in the main river with fresh coming down from the top, but the bream have been feeding actively. Customers Paul and Dave managed a few fish around 350g from the river using mainly prawn for bait. Fishing eddies and small drop offs in the river will see you come across a few fish as they cruise out of the main current and feed at their leisure. 


Down in the Gippsland lakes there have been some solid bream on the chew as the freshwater pushes down the rivers and gets them schooling and into pre-spawn mode. The fish in the 3 main rivers have been biting well, once they have been found. Looking for downstream areas of higher salinity has been where a few fish have been hanging out lately.  Customers Brendan and Phil have been doing well on nice fish into the 40cm mark fishing the Mitchell river in Bairnsdale. The best baits for targeting these bigger fish have been cut crab and freshwater yabbies. Fishing these hardier baits generally flushes out the smaller 'pickers' and leaves a solid bait intact for a bigger fish to eat. Just make sure to match your hook style and size to the bait correctly.

 

 


As of this Sunday 1st of September, Murray cod are off the table for anglers around the state - but there are still a couple of days to go! If you're fishing the early states of the weekend you still have a chance to land a ripper like customer Ivan did. Ivan was fishing over near Gunbower in the state's North-West when he landed this cracker on yabbies. The big fish went well into the metre mark and is true trophy status!

Never fear if you miss your chance this weekend as Lake Eildon is a year-round Murray cod fishery, and open for cod angling 24/7. The best part is that Eildon has been fishing very well for cod this winter, and should continue well into Spring. The key with Eildon cod is persistence and presenting large offering for these fish. Most of the large fish caught from the lake this Winter have been on big lures. If you are keen for an Eildon session come past the store and get your big lure fix and terminal tackle to suit.

 


While not everyone's game, there has been some excellent offshore fishing when a break in the weather opens up. There are numbers of snapper starting to move just offshore from the entrance to both bays, some excellent gummies on offer and still decent numbers of tuna along the West coast. James from Unreel Fishing Charters had a purple patch on the tuna along the West coast earlier this week, with 2 massive fish over the 100kg mark. James and his son both managed a 'barrel' each - with the monsters weighing 110kg and 140kg. There are still some serious inshore tuna out there to had when the wind and swell decide to calm down...


A little bit closer to home around the offshore reef the gummies have still been quality. Customers Johnny and Thao have been outside when conditions allow and have seen some serious gummies punching well above 15kg. There haven't been any 'hotspots' as the boys tried a new area recently and had results. Finding and plotting isolated patches of reef has been the key, with locally sourced baits also a key step. Catching wrasse and parrotfish from the reef is an excellent step in catching a solid sea-going gummy. Baits of squid are excellent for catching fresh bait, as are artificial offerings.


Small flutter-style jigs and soft plastics get eaten within metres of the reef by the wrasse species, but keeping them as  close to the bottom is key. Multi-coloured depth marked braid is excellent for doing this. Generally speaking, the most successful reef zones are outside the main entrance shelves, in the 25 - 30m depth or wider around 40 - 45m. At this depth there is plenty of bait and food for cruising gummies.