The northern coastline of NSW is a popular destination for anglers as it is fairly quiet and holds a good mix of both southern and northern fish species. Popular fishing locations along this part of the coast include Brunswick Heads, Ballina, Yamba and Coffs Harbour. Customer Gary lives around Ballina and fishes the region a fair bit, and his latest beach session has seen him yield some massive tailor to 80cm. Gary has been fishing pilchard on ganged hook rigs early during the morning, with most of the fish coming while it's still dark.


Staff member Chris has just returned from a trip to Yamba, a tad south from Ballina. Chris did some fishing with his father but found the weather to hold them back a fair bit - with only 1 decent trip offshore. A good mixed bag of species were caught offshore with spotted mackerel, snapper, tuskfish, pearl perch, flathead and small whaler sharks making it to the boat. The humble pilchard did most of the damage with nearly all fish finding it heard to refuse.

 

The offshore grounds have been producing fish for anglers making the most of breaks in the weather with kingfish still about along with the odd mako. In between there have been plenty of species to keep angler busy, and fed. Customer Cam fished out from the rip last week to land some nice school kingies on baits and jigs. Cam said that the boat traffic in the rip was crazy and the fishing was better outside, with boats able to find their own patches of fish. The kingfish should hang around locally for a little while yet, so don't be discouraged as the weather starts to get a bit cooler.


Customer Mark has been making the most of the quieter mid week water traffic, catching kingies like this in the rip and also offshore. Mark has been reefed by some much bigger fish but has also landed fish to 10kg. Fish like this one have been about average for him, with fresh squid and jigs both working. This fish took a 150g jig earlier in the morning.


Customer Brendan has been making the most of the offshore fishing recently, trying for a mako. While during his latest session no makos were seen or hooked, Brendan had plenty of fish to keep himself busy. While drifting for a shark with berley trail going, a good mixed bag was caught. Brendan managed to bag a nice eating size gummy, some tiger flathead, salmon, silver whiting, yakkas, slimies, couta and silver trevally. Some good eating fish and excellent baits for the next few sessions. Brendan was fishing offshore from Phillip Island, starting in around 60m.

 


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.

 

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 customer Steve was up in QLD for Christmas visiting family, he couldn't help but get out and wet a line. Steve fished with a mate straight out of Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast. The boys were fishing around 7km out from the bar when they spotted some birds hitting the surface, so the boys started working lures around the commotion. They ended up catching some line burning mackerel tuna and yellowfin tuna from the baitball before the fish went deep.


After some deep bottom bouncing Steve decided to put a fillet of fresh wrasse down to see if anything showed interest, and he ended up landing a nice little kingfish. The boys ended up with a few for their efforts.

 

 

With some of the spells of warm weather we have had over the past few weeks, a few switched on anglers have been out and about in search of Victorian Yellowtail Kingfish. While these hard pulling brutes aren't as prolific as in other states, there are good numbers of fish around for anglers putting in the effort to track them down. This often means a decent drive in the car only to launch the boat and spend time searching around to locate them on the water. Customer Damien is one such angler who has been out on the water trying to find them, and just last week he was fishing with a couple of mates when they struck paydirt. Kingies to around the 10kg mark were caught slow trolling live yakkas and slimies on modified 'Westernport' rigs. These rigs are used to keep the livies down in the strike zone around rocks and ledges. Damien was fishing some points and bommies in Gippsland for these fish.

 

 

While Westernport Bay is generally easier to fish from a boat, there are still plenty of options for anglers without boats. The variety of fish on offer from the shore is almost as plentiful as fishing from a kayak or boat, without all the extra expenses. Fishing from the shores of the port does require a little bit more planning and preparation to be successful, but any angler can do it. Recently customer Andrew has been fishing from the shoreline of the northern section of the, where he has had success on a few school sized mulloway. Andrew has found that fillet baits of freshly caught salmon have been working well on fish to around 5kg. Staff member Dylan has also had some shore-based success with mini mulloway around 2kg taking medium sized hardbodies cast and retrieved. The cover of darkness has been the key to catching these shy fish.

Further south in the port the squid have been fishing well from most of the main piers, with Flinders and Stony Point doing well. Customer Tony is a Flinders pier regular who normally does well when he fishes for squid off the pier. Tony was down at the pier recently, and again he managed to get some good sized squid on his favoured Gancraft jigs. Tony's colours of choice recently have been dark silvers and also green.

Down on Phillip Island, customer Pat was holidaying with family when he snuck out for a fish. Being a keen fisherman Pat couldn't spend the whole time by the water and not fish, I think we all know about that problem...Pat decided squid was the target, and with an area in mind he set off with a few jigs to try his luck. Pat ended up catching some lovely sized squid from the shore which kept himself and the family happy. Customer Shawn fished after dark from the pier at Cowes recently in search of a few shark and snapper baits. Shawn fished with a mixture of baits and lures to land some good sized yakkas and also couta.

 

While most anglers in Melbourne have turned their attention towards the sea of red - 'snapper' there are also other light line options for anglers both boat and shore based. Customer Mana was out off Frankston recently where he found a school of good sized salmon. He decided to throw some small soft plastics around and the salmon were climbing all over each other to eat a smelt coloured twitch tail minnow. Mana found most of the salmon hanging around the point at Oliver's Hill. 

Staff member Kozi has been out collecting snapper and gummy baits from the piers during the week, and most of the piers in southern Westernport have had good amounts of yakkas and pike hanging around. Kozi caught a heap of yakkas from Flinders on baits and small soft plastics, once they were berleyed up. The most effective berley for the yakkas was the Zealcol 'Pier & Jetty' fine grit mix, which kept the fish going for long enough to catch a heap. 

Further up Port Phillip Bay around Williamstown, customer Ryan has been out in his kayak throwing small soft plastics and sinking lures around. Ryan has been catching pinkies up to 1.5kg on these lures, along with some nice size bream. One of the more effective soft plastics for Ryan at the moment has been the Damiki Ripper, a 4'' worm style plastic. The new Berkley 4'' Nemesis has also been good in the natural colours when fished slowly along the bottom.

 

The northern NSW coastline has a variety of fish species available, with both southern species like snapper present, along with northern species such as cobia and various mackerel and trevally species. Staff member Chris is currently enjoying some mild weather up along the NSW coast in Yamba. 

Chris has experienced some mixed fishing from both the river and also offshore. Chris has caught school mulloway on small metal blades while fishing around reef structure and drop offs in the main river. On the offshore front, Chris has found a few warm water species like dolphinfish and spotted mackerel. Trolling lures and live baits have been the go offshore for him.