Snapper reports have started to really ramp up over the past week or so, with some rain and semi consistent warmer weather really helping things out a lot. With the bay temperature warming, the snapper bite is getting better and better but it still seems plenty of people are 'waiting' to hear reports rather than getting out there and doing it! There have been numbers of school fish from size to 2kg around the inshore reefs with Williamstown, Brighton, Black Rock and Mornington all holding big schools. Customer Ryan has been catching numbers of fish to about 1.5kg up the top of the bay around Williamstown on plastics. Worm style plastics on 1/6oz jigs have been good when fishing the shallower reefs in a bit of chop.


Customer Ange has also been getting into the school fish from the shore. Ange caught some nice solid pinkies from the beach around Black Rock and Sandringham during the week, with pilchard and squid doing the job. Staff member Dylan also saw some nice shore based fish caught from Brighton, St Kilda and Black Rock earlier in the week when he was in the area. Fish to around 2.5kg were caught with none smaller than about 35cm, on a mixture of baits like pilchard, squid and saury. Long casts to the surrounding reef have been the go, so 10ft - 12ft coarse 'feeder' style rods have been the most effective tools for the job.


While there aren't as many punters out in Port Phillip, Westernport bay has been solidly producing fish for the guys just getting out and having a crack. There are reasonably consistent reports coming from the Long Reef area through to channels behind Joe's, with Corinella and deep off Ryhll also producing. Many of the fish coming from the port have been quality, with the average sitting around 4kg.


Captain Perri fished out from Corinella earlier during the week with a couple of nice fish hitting the deck pretty early on. Fishing a 15m hole, fish to 5kg were caught using pillies. The bites were tentative and the fish weren't hooking themselves, so the lightest tipped rods on the boat were the go. Customer Thao also fished somewhere in the region mid week to gain his bag of fish to about 4kg. Thao found that fresh squid and pilchard were the go, with again soft bites and softer rods the go. Thao will most likely be enjoying his snapper with some mustard over the BBQ later this week, so the area is worth a look over the weekend.

 

 

The land based fishing around the bay has been good for quite a few different species lately, whether you're after some fresh baits or for some fresh fish for the dinner table. The salmon have been moving about, and while not as thick as they are during the cooler months there have still been enough about to normally get in to a few. Customer Brendan got into a heap at the mouth of the Patto recently on soft plastics. Brendan found that small paddle tail soft plastics under 3 inches were the most effective when fished on light jigheads.  During the calmer conditions the fish will push deeper and need to be fished with more finesse, and this is when plastics will outfish most other offerings.


Customer Frank also found some solid salmon fishing around Mornington. Frank again found small plastics the most effective when the other lures went quiet. Some of the salmon around the southern end of bay have been 1.5kg upwards. Around the same areas, especially inside the calmer harbours and coves the garfish have still been about. Not many anglers have been chasing them but some quality fish have been about. Staff member Don has been fishing for gars around Mornington and back to Frankston and he has seen some larger models. As usual, fine berley and very small pieces of silverfish have been the go - with size 14 hooks getting a lot more bites than bigger hooks.


Nearer to the ocean beaches, there have still some large salmon showing up. Beach fishing anglers have slowed off but there have been fish upwards of 3kg hanging around the gutters and headlands from Port Phillip heads down to Punchbowl. Customer Robin was fishing one of his usual areas around Phillip Island and found plenty of thick fish to 2.5kg. Bluebait fished on flasher style paternoster rigs with small squid skirts added got all the bites.


Around the shallower sections of the bay the flathead have starting moving in. Now is actually a good time to target these tasty fish as they push inshore and are hungry and hunting. There are a few species of flathead on offer for anglers also, with rock, sand and yank flathead all available. Customer Ryan found some nice rock flathead from the piers around the top end of the bay - with Brighton and St Kilda both productive. Small paddle tail plastics like the Megabass Hazedong Shads were super effective when fished on 1/8oz jigs. Staff member Dylan also good numbers of sand flathead to 41cm in close along the Seaford - Frankston area. 2.8'' ribbed style paddle tails accounted for every fish, with more than 30 fish caught in the space of a few hours.

 

 


Some of the school holiday crowd head out towards the east coast of Gippsland and into NSW over the school break. With beautiful scenery and even better fishing, there's no wonder so many Victorians head out that way. Down around Bemm river in east Gippsland customer Mark got into some lovely bream fishing the lake. The lake here will continue to heat up over the next month or so, and perfect timing with many anglers heading out this way around Cup Weekend. Mark caught most of his fish between fresh prawn and sandworm on light running sink rigs.

Around the southern NSW coastline, customer Lilong camped out and fished with some mates from the rocks and wharves of the area. With a large offshore algae bloom the fishing was slower than usual, but the guys caught plenty of couta, pike and salmon using a variety of lures. Casting slow jigs and smaller plastics accounted for most fish between Tathra, Merimbula and Eden. The squid fishing in the area has also been good, with the same wharves producing both calamari and arrow squid around last light on size 3.0 jigs.


Staff member Dylan was also situated around the south coast for a few days with a couple of rods packed. With cold water temperatures, there were plenty of silver trevally, tailor and salmon around in the estuaries. Dylan spent a bit of time studying the habits of some nice luderick in the area and tried a few methods of catching them on the fly rod. After a few days of different methods, he managed to work out their feeding habits a bit and got into some. Fishing home tied 'weed' flies to fish around 1kg on the sand flats was the best method, with a handful making their way home to the table. Among the luderick, he also caught flathead, tailor, silver trevally and salmon on fly in the local estuaries around Merimbula and Eden.


Further up the coast, customer Hendrik has been putting slabs of chrome on the rocks. Hendrik has been fishing around Southwest Rocks, and has been getting cleaned up by some mulloway. Along this part of the coast the mulloway range in size from big to huge! Using a few techniques, Hendrik has landed fish to around 1.1m. Fishing live baits of mullet and pike has been getting the attention of the fish, with scary big fish earning their freedom back in the reef also. Another popular method along this part of the coast is casting big hardbodied lures and swimbaits to likely areas where these predators hunt.

 


The trout fishing continues to be very good whether you're fishing locally stocked lakes or going for a 3 hour drive. The local lakes like Rowville and Karkarook have been producing plenty of fish since their pre-school holidays stocking. Customers Jay and Ariiff went down to Karkarook and young Ariiff proceeded to catch some of the rainbows on a new rod that he won during our Megabass VIP night. The most successful lure for Ariiff was a 'tailbender' in spawning fire colour. Another young gun catching fish down at Karkarook is customer Harry. Harry was fishing with his mum and managed to land himself some nice little rainbow trout using a powerbait and berley method.


Around the popular spot of Noojee, staff member Don has been catching trout with his twin boys.Don took the boys to fish the Latrobe river and had them both catching a few brown trout to 30cm. Small shallow running hardbodied lures were the most effective in natural trout patterns, with some sort of bright contrast to them. Bright orange bellies, or UV spotted patterns stood out in the tannin and silty water and had the trout crashing them - whereas plain natural patterns didn't get a bite.


Up around Eildon the pondage has still been producing some of the thumping rainbows for customers Margaret and Jozef. Being pondage locals, they have caught plenty of fish on various methods but the powerbait coarse style is still their most successful. Lately the fish have been responding well to bright 'salmon egg' coloured baits, and jozef has also caught a couple of fish in the pondage and river using a few different lure styles. Small 7g tassie devils have been working well, along with heavy weighed spinners to get down deep and throw heaps of flash.

 

 


The snapper reports are about to hit the next level around Melbourne, with rising water temperatures and more stable weather on their way. Westernport is still producing more fish if you're unsure where to fish, but port Phillip is also worth a fish if you want to stick to the bay. Customer Nathan fished the bay out from Mordi during the week to land a nice fish on plastics, with a 5 inch pilchard pattern doing the job. Squid scent on the plastic sealed the deal, with the real movement, look and smell of a real bait proving too much for the reds to resist. Make sure you have the correct tackle to fish soft plastics on the snapper, as many anglers still go fishless and frustrated after trying them on the incorrect gear.


Out in westernport the reds have been going well enough for the last few weeks, if you know where to look and how to tackle the port's current and bycatch. Customer Mario fished out from Corinella during the low light period into the night to land snapper to 6kg. Freshly caught squid was the ticket, with lighter tipped 'port Phillip' style rods perfect here in the shallower holes and along the mudflats.


The Corinella area has been a go-to area for angler unsure of where to look for snapper, as the water temperature stays a bit warmer than the rest of the bay with all the rock and mudflats exposed to the sun during low water. The region can produce some solid fish, with the odd '20lb' fish coming from the area each season. Heading south from Corinella the 'Corals' area can also produce some nice fish, but seems to fire a bit later in the season. Heading west, the deep water off Rhyll and Cowes is well worth fishing at present. The fish can school up in this deeper water here, and are regularly caught in 18 - 22m. Customer Mick fished this area over the weekend to land a few school fish and a nice 4kg model, along with a nice table sized gummy. Mick was fishing in 22m of water and caught everything on 'big eye' pilchards.

 



Some nice snapper have been slowly making their way into the catches of local anglers.With some warmer weather on its way the fish should be making their presence felt around the Eastern shores of the bay. The top end around Brighton and Port Melbourne have been holding good numbers of school fish running up along the edge of the main shipping channel. Rough weather brings these fish in close around the vast grassbeds and mudflats of the top end where they can be picked off by using baits of fresh squid, pilchard and even large prawns. Customer John has been fishing the top end of the bay and has seen some nice fish to 4kg from the piers. Pilchard and squid have been the best baits for land based guys, with this particular fish falling to fresh squid.


Around the top end of Westernport the fish are starting to come on also, with anywhere from Warneet through to the back ‘finger’ channels worth a really good look for a red or two. Customer Joel had a fish close by to Joes’ Island during the week to land fish to around 4kg on fresh baits. Freshly caught couta was the pick of the baits, and good because they are normally about in numbers through the top end at this time of year.


 



Plenty of trout have still been caught by anglers fishing both local and further away. The trout fishing in the Eildon region has still been excellent with the pondage and Goulburn both producing fish, whether you choose to lure or bait fish. Some of the large rainbow trout are still being caught in the river with deep running plastics and heavier spoons finding their way down to the fish. The deeper runs will normally hold the best fish, and these runs normally go unfished by many anglers with their standard shallower running trout lures.



The pondage has been the go if you’re fishing dough-style baits and powerbait, but remember for this method to work as well as it should you must make up a berley mix consisting crushed trout pellets. Customer Jozef and his wife Margaret fished the pondage over the weekend and caught some lovely fish using this exact method.


While it’s not all bait fishing at the pondage, it still is the more consistent method. If you’re anything like customer George you will like casting lures about. Luckily the big rainbows that George has been catching are still quite partial to a hardbody lure.



Around the suburban stocked lakes the fish have been active since their recent school holiday stocking. Customer Cipto and Ariff fished Karkarook lake over the weekend and found a few nice little rainbows. The best lures for the boys were the Yakamito trout spoons and bright coloured ‘tailbenders’.



Staff member Dylan has been up around the NSW alpine region fishing the snowy lakes while on holiday. With idyllic conditions, not much wind and bright sunshine the fish were always going to be skittish. Targeting rocky points and wind-blown bays was the most effective, with rainbow trout to 3lb hitting hardbodies and yabby imitations. Whether lure or fly fishing the area, it pays to imitate the main food source with small yabby, goldfish and minnow copies your best bet.


 


The local bream population had gone a bit quiet with the clear green water in most of the estuaries and lakes, and bream reports were quite low. The fish get cagey in the clean water and go off the bite a little bit, or regulate their feeding to low light times or when there is strong winds. With the recent small bit of rain we have received the fish lower their guard and bit a bit easy-'er' to tempt. Not that the weather mattered much to customer John. John and mate Bashir fished the Tambo river in Gippsland to land some nice clean bream. The guys found that live shrimp and fresh prawn were the most effective when fished along the river bank drop offs.


Back in the Patto, customer Tony has been catching a few nice fish. Tony has been fishing early morning around first light and this is when he has been catching most of his fish. Small live freshwater yabbies have been effective, but they must be fished on ultra-fine gauge hooks and light leader, with little or no sinker. The fish will sense if the yabby is impeded by a heavy hook, thick line and 'anchor' of a sinker stopping it from acting natural.


Customer Ange has also been catching a few bream in the Patto with some mates. The guys have been lurecasting from their kayaks, which off the ultimate stealth approach to these flighty fish. The most effective lures of late have been 'ned-rigged' soft plastics, and small slow sinking hardbodies. These lures are best fished with very small 'pops' of the rod tip to create a kick but not scare the fish. Most bites will come as the lure or plastic has stopped or settled on the bottom.

HOT SPOT: The Patto will continue to fish well after more rain this week, especially around the first flood gate. Just remember to scent up your lures and baits as the water turns murky.

 


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.

 


Many keen anglers relish the start of the spring weather, as with the warmth comes the multitude of species waking from a winter docile state. Anglers in the know will out looking for freshwater natives such as bass and yellowbelly as they become more active. This is especially true with the yellowbelly, and generally the very best fishing for them will occur over the next 8 or so weeks.


Customer David has been on the lookout for the 'yellas' around some of the stocked lakes and has been catching fish to around 2kg on lipless crankbaits. Yellowbelly really hone in on these lures and the spring 'vibe' bite can be red hot when you find a patch of fish hungry and hunting. 


Customer Ryan has also been catching some nice yellowbelly over the past week, with the biggest weighing around 4kg. Again the lure of choice for Ryan has been a lipless crankbait, but there are also plenty of other successful options for the thinking angler to try; Small spinnerbaits and jig spinners, floating crankbaits with 'double' hooks, swim-jigs, and carolina rigged soft plastics to really fish in the heavy stuff.

HOT SPOT: The best spot around for trophy yellowbelly is no doubt Lake Eildon. The northern end of the lake around Bonnie Doon is worth a good look as snow melts slowly floods the gradual edges and gives the fish plenty of food to find, and this is generally where you will find them. The next 5 or 6 weeks are the prime time, especially if we get a string of milder days.