Port Phillip has really been providing a variety of fish for anglers recently. Pretty much every fish that one would want to catch in the bay can be caught right now. From pinkies, snapper, gars, salmon, kingfish, flathead and whiting the species choices are pretty widespread, it's just a matter of picking a fish and targeting it.

James from Unreel Fishing Charters reports of insane pinkie snapper action, with plenty of fish up to 2kg around the inshore reefs. During low light conditions these fish are going nuts, with multiple rods getting smashed on every bait that hits the water. The plastic fishing for these fish has been very good too, with all of the same areas like Black rock, Williamstown and Mornington all producing heaps of fish if you're fishing plastics.


Soft plastics in the 2 - 4'' size range have been the best of the pinkies, with 'stretchier' and tougher style plastics proving to be excellent value for money, with more than a dozen fish landed on a single plastic and no signs of damage. 'Bungee baits', Zman's and Squidgy 'Biotough' are all excellent options, just pick a natural and a bright colour to suit most conditions.


While fishing baits or scented plastics around the inshore reefs, fish like red mullet can be a common bycatch. Customers Ryan and Nick have been a heap amongst the pinkies, flathead and salmon along the eastern seaboard of the bay. Normally if you are over shallower heavy reef you will start catching the red mullet, and as you push deeper to where the reef steps down you will find less of these and more pinkie snapper.


There have also been some serious salmon in the bay for a while, with big schools spotted anywhere from Black Rock through to The Rip. Most of the fish have been around 1kg in size which makes them great fun on light spinning gear, or not bad on the table if they are looked after. Small metal lures up to 15g have been working well, along with tiny, whitebait imitation soft plastics. If you manage to get one of these lures to the bottom without a salmon intercepting it, there have been sand flathead to around 40cm keen on eating it.


Further north in the bay, there have been some decent bream mixed in with the schools of pinkies. While the pinkies have been much faster to get to the baits, the numbers of open water bream have been a surprise to a few anglers. The shallow sandflats around the top end of the bay have seen bream feeding around low light conditions where they have been taking baits and lures meant for flathead. This 43cm fish was caught by customer Michael, on a 4'' soft plastic aimed at a shallow water flathead at first light.

 


The local kingfish have been good! Maybe not so much in crazy crazy numbers, but in size there have been plenty of great fish about. Plenty of fish to 10kg on the local headlands like Cape Schank, Woolamai and Pyramid Rock. The rip has also been producing similar quality fish for anglers who are persistent and able to try different techniques. A mixture of options have been working lately, with stickbaits, jigs and baits all getting fish. Customer George fished with some mates over the weekend in the rip where some nice fish were landed. Live squid were the pick of the day, with a jig always present in the water to attract fish up from the depths, and occasionally hook one. Jig weights vary for this part of the world as the depth also does, but having a mixture between 100-200g will see you getting down to the fish.


If you want to pick up on all the 'small things' that will make you a more successful bluewater angler then make sure YOU BOOK in for Gawaine Blake's Local Kingfish and Tuna info night. THIS THURSDAY 8th Feb at 7pm. You must book through the store to secure numbers, which you can do on 03 9794 9397.


George with the best kingie for the day taken on a large live squid.

 


There has been some quality fishing out around the entrances to both bays and in Bass Strait over the last week or so. Reports of acres of Bluefin tuna hanging around, kingfish in good numbers off the headlands and reasonable shark fishing as well. While the tuna have been getting caught, most anglers aren't keeping their eyes peeled for signs that these fish are about. Water temperature and colour changes, seabirds hovering or shimmering 'slicks' of baitfish can be enough of an indication that the larger predators are around, so it's not just a matter of throwing a lure out and driving around until you hook up. Smaller lures have been working better than larger offerings lately as well, as most of the baitfish in the area are small pilchards and whitebait.


Customer Justin got outside over the weekend and went around towards Cape Schank where he managed 2 nice kingies. Justin caught one of the fish on a fresh squid head near the bottom and the other on a 'Slither' jig in 165g.

Customer Marty has been catching both tuna and kings down at King Island recently. Marty has found casting to be the most productive method on both fish, with soft plastics like 'sluggos' working well rigged on a jighead, and small surface stickbaits like the nomad 'madscad' also doing the job. Natural, baitfish colours are tricking the fish when conidtions are calm.


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There has been plenty of talk of bluefin tuna over the last week or so, which is good as most anglers only assume tuna season is May-June. Yes they are certainly about during late autumn and winter, but some of the best tuna fishing can be had right now no matter where you're fishing for them. While many anglers may find the thoughts of finding tuna locally quite daunting, there are normally fish around within reach of offshore anglers during the summer months. These fish can be very flighty however, and trolling straight through bait schools with big lures very rarely cuts it. A lot of these fish are feeding on schools of small whitebait and pilchards or similar sized prey, so scaling down your gear and lure choices is the way to go.


James Roger from Unreel Fishing Charters has spent some time last week down fishing around Portland where he has caught some nice bluefin tuna with his sons. The tuna have been around in small numbers along the west coast, with the inshore reefs and contours holding fish.

A fair bit closer to home the tuna have been making their presence felt, with a ripper bluefin caught by James' son Dylan amongst some nice kingies just earlier this week. This nice fish was caught on a small pilchard patterned stickbait on a 3000 sized stradic reel, and took nearly 2hrs to land! The best part was this fish was caught just out from Flinders, where a few fish have been hooked - even by locals fishing from the pier.

 

With the weather heating up and a warm front staying over us, the kingfish action has been good and should stay good. Most of the action has been in 'the rip' but there have also been fish caught offshore along most of the promontories. Livebaiting and jigging have been the standout methods, but tackle prep has been key. A lot of anglers aren't arming themselves with enough jigs, as quite a lot get snagged around the the rip. Make sure you have a good selection of weights and drop actions, along with enough assist hooks to re-rig if need be.


Customer Damien was out during the week around the rip where there were a lot of boats but a lot of people drifting off the fish. Damien managed to land this nice fish on a squid hood fished down deep after getting smoked a couple of times of his lighter jigging outfit.


Customer Sinisa came into the store to stock up on jigs and kingie essentials, and his first trip out afterwards resulted in this nice fish. Sinisa grabbed a few different colours in the 'slither' jigs in 165g and 210g and we rigged them up with the BKK ultraflash assist hooks, and they did the job!

 

Kingfish are the talk of many anglers at the moment, and if you were wondering if it was the right time to be out chasing them then YES! While the kingies have been about for the last 8 weeks or so, the numbers of fish around at the moment are good, and there have been some good fish amongst them. Many or most anglers have been fishing the 'Rip' area in search of them, but local reports have been coming from Barwon Heads, Cape Schank, West Head and across to Cape Woolamai - with fish moving about inside both bays as well. There have also been scattered reports of bluefin tuna out in the same areas too, so it pays to keep your eyes peeled.

Customers Adam and Johnny fished the rip during the week to land some really nice fish. Jigs are squid were the go, with the larger fish taking a squid hook fished 'westernport syle' in the fast current. Twin livebait style hooks pinned in your squid have been good, but a single circle hook through the top of the hood also works well. If you're not super confident with the rigs or rigging involved chat to the boys in store and they will show you how it's done.


Customer Damien and the rest of the crew got out in the rip over the weekend and also got into some kings. The smaller fish took strips and whole baited squid, with a few better fish 'reefed' on the jig. The more productive jigs have been the Yakamito slither in 165g and 210g, with the BKK ultraflash assist hooks.