There have been good amounts of squid about for those interested in collecting fresh snapper baits or for a tasty meal, with both bays running as clear as ever and going well.


Friend of the shop and Victorian sale rep Bruce fished with mate Bachar Houli out from Queenscliff to get stuck into some quality squid and whiting. Fishing close inshore around Queenscliff around 'Cottage by the sea' was the hot spot for all the squid and whiting, with the Lonsdale Bight being a popular area for both large squid and quality whiting.


The whiting reports have started to go in the port, with the 'normal' banks producing fish. Quali, Tyabb and the spit have all been fishing well, with a few moves the norm, but some quality fish about. Customer Barry fished with his father over the weekend to land a nice bag of fish from the middle spit. Barry found the run in tide productive and when the fish wanted to feed, with pipi and squid cocktail baits getting the job done. Not far from the same area staff member Don also caught some nice whiting with mate Sam. The middle spit and Tyabb bank fished well in about 12ft of water for fish to 42cm on elongated strips of squid and pipi.


Not far from the same area customer Steve has been catching some nice squid. Steve has been fishing the Tyabb-Quail banks and just working different depths until the squid are found. Steve has also been trying a good number of jigs, with Yamashita UV whites a favourite, and some of the new Owner draw 4 jigs also producing well. Steve picked up on some handy hints regarding jigs cloth and foil colour from our last Yamashita info night which has been earning him a few extra in the boat!


Down at Flinders customer Angelo has been catching some good squid and plenty of grass whiting. Angelo has been copying the jigs patterns with the grass whiting and catching well, with a few other black jig patterns also working well in the mix. The size 4.0 and 3.5 'Black Opal' colour has been producing some big squid around the outgoing tide from the pier.

 


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.

 

 


With some warm weather present over the past week, things have heated up on the snapper front. Both bays are producing quality fish with 4-5kg common. Another 3 weeks or so and things should be almost red hot, but there are fish out there ready to catch now! Bill from Mornington got out and scored a nice 4kg fish in 18m on pilly. The Mornington area has been well worth a shot especially out in the 18-22m area.


Customer Mana scored a ripper fish at 7.8kg out from Mornington also in 21m towards the channel. Mana caught the fish on pilchard and had to bring the fish via handlining method as the braid-spooled reel knocked into freespool and caused a massive knot which meant the fish had to be retrieved old school style!


Out in Westernport the fish have been going fairly well, but the hoards of anglers haven't flocked to many areas of the port just yet. The 'top end' is the place to be concentrating - with the area around Joe's Island attracting numbers of anglers and also producing some nice fish. The surrounding channels have been harbouring fish to 8kg, with many around the 5kg mark also. Customers Jason and Brent were fishing the area over the weekend and caught fish around the 5kg mark using freshly caught yakkas.


The deeper water out from Rhyll and Cowes has been holding some nice fish with some good gummies mixed in. Fishing in 18m of water around 'Silverleaves' is a pretty good way to connect to a nice fish at present. Customer Johnny has been landing fish to 6kg from the area on freshly caught squid. Silver whiting can be a good bait option here also and pilchards are just plain silly to forget also!


A bit further around towards Warneet there have also been some nice fish caught. The shoals of Bagge Harbour and Long Reef at Lysaughts have had fish to 8kg popping up, with the shallower areas producing the better fish. Customer Zac has been having fun on fish to 7.5kg out along the area between 8 and 15m. Pilchard, squid and pike have all accounted for fish this week.

 

 


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.

 


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.

 


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!

 


In amongst the rough weather, there still have been some nice squid caught. The trick has been to fish the shore where the wind hasn't been smashing against, and try to avoid the dirtier water. Lately areas like Beauamaris have been sheltered from the northerly winds, along some of the shore from Somers to Flinders has been worth fishing also. Customers Jo and Cipto fished Beaumaris during the week to score a good bag of squid. The boys found that white and green/red jigs worked well for them in the cleaner water.


Speaking of the Flinders region, customer Damien scored a cracking squid from the pier during the week. Damien found the water clarity to be quite good so persisted with a bright 'chartreuse shrimp' colour in the new Owner Draw4 series and he was rewarded with the big squid. Brighter colours like chartreuse and pink/purple are normally good options to try in cold, clear water for larger squid.

 


With intermittent rain and wind, the squid fishing has been sporadic - good when conditions clear but then put off for a few days while the water becomes stained and murky. The good news is that even when conditions are like this the southern end of Port Phillip is still worth a shot and much more consistent.

Customer Romello fished from Sorrento pier over the weekend where he landed a few. Romello cycled through a few jigs and found the Yamashita Q Lives were the best, with deep models working while the tide was pumping and shallow models doing the job when the tide stopped. Romello also landed a small cuttlefish from the pier using a Yakamito size 3.0 jig.


Customers Dale and Lochie fished out from Rye during the week in search of some calamari and they weren't left hanging with an excellent bag of squid making it home. The guys found that UV whites were the most successful in 4 - 6m of water straight out from Rye.


Customer Steve has also been getting into both the squid and whiting recently. Steve has found that both can be caught while fishing the same marks, with the squid often chasing the whiting around and attacking hooked fish. KGW patterned squid jigs can be very effective in these conditions, and the Hayabusa Aussie limited whiting colour has been excellent at tricking these squid. If you're able to keep the larger squid at bay good numbers of whiting can still be had, with areas like the southern section of middle spit and Tankerton fishing well - along with further south around Point Leo and Cat Bay.


The southern end of Port Phillip has been fishing well for whiting also. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been experiencing good bags of fish from around Rye to Sorrento, with mussel and squid standout baits. While there can be a bit of moving about to stay on these fish at this time of year, once you put together a bag of these tasty fish it will all be worth it!


For the land based guys the whiting have been a bit harder work. The odd fish has been caught shore based, with Mornington and Portsea piers probably the best two to be trying from. A bit further down the road there have been some nice school sized fish from around Lorne. Customer Jim fished Lorne pier over the weekend with a few mates and they weren't let down with a few nice fish to take home. Prawn and squid were effective baits from the pier, and accounted for King George when cast over the sand towards the weed - and grass whiting when dropped into the thick weed beds.

 


During the recent rain and wind the squid fishing slowed off a little. The dirtier water with suspended sediment normally puts the squid off but things are starting to clear up. A little bit of rain here and there will slow proceedings for a few days but the squid fishing is starting to improve. The southern end of Port Phillip is the go for consistency at the moment, but the top end banks in Westernport have been producing for anglers out there.


Customer Steve has been out along Tyabb bank during the week with mate Nick, and they have been getting some cracking squid. Fishing the 4m edge of the bank where the water is a bit clearer, the guys have been getting on to squid up to 2kg. Mixed bag of colours have been working well, but the Yamashita 'warm jacket' technology has been putting more squid in the boat than others, especially in aggressive colour patterns.

Some of the clearer water further south has been producing smaller squid around the shallows, with more natural colours getting the bite. Mullet and whiting colour schemes in size 3.0 have been good on numbers of squid to 500g when fished around the same areas that these fish are found.