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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The western crater lakes and surrounding waterways have been fishing well of late with a good number of people interested in Bullen Merri in particular, which has been fishing well for the chinook salmon and trout. Many anglers catch both fish on various trolling methods, generally with the use of a downrigger as the lake is very deep. Fishing around the thermocline can produce good results along with actively searching for bait schools.


Friend of the shop John 'Mr Jinkai' has been out in the crater lakes recently where trout and salmon have been caught. John's most recent trip was last week where some big salmon were caught deep bait fishing. The bait of choice were pilchard strips, fished on a simple running sinker rig around the bait schools. Cubing with pilchards also helps tremendously to keep the schools of salmon around. Small metal 'flutter' jigs fished around the schools have been working well also.


Customer Ryan and mate Nick have been fishing some of the western lakes in search of some bigger redfin. The larger redfin seem to proliferate the western lakes, so if big redfin are your target - west is best! The guys have been fishing slightly bigger lures to weed out the smaller fish, with 4'' plastics and also yellowbelly sized vibes getting the interest of the larger fish. Some of the larger fish have been belting the lures as they are burnt back through the water as fast as possible, so it always pays to mix up your lure style and retrieve speed also.

 


Many anglers enjoy their time camping and fishing around the Murray somewhere, and if you're into your cod fishing then it's pretty good at the moment. Most popular sections of the Murry have been fishing well and producing cod on bait and lure, whether you're a novice or seasoned cod fisherman. Customer Petar has not long taken up cod fishing after purchasing a bit more 'cod specialized' gear and while he has been putting in the hard yards he has been getting some results. Petar has been fishing mainly around Lake Mulwala and the adjacent sections of the Murray, where he has caught cod using spinnerbaits, and cheese once the casting arm needs a rest.


EJ Todd Victorian Rep Mitch has also been fishing similar areas in search of cod. Mitch has caught fish casting surface crawlers and subsurface wakebaits, with the Tiemco 'slug fest' really appealing to the fish around undercut and heavily timbered banks. The cod fishing should continue to fire well through the summer and into autumn, so if you're looking to connect to a green backed freshwater tractor then now is a good time to replenish your Murray cod gear. 

 

The last week must've been BIG cod week up on lake Mulwala! Or at least it was for these boys. Customer Andy caught a ripper metre plus fish over cod opening weekend up on lake Mulwala, and only 3 weeks later he's at it again! Andy caught this early morning chunk of a fish at 1.05m on a purple coloured Koolabung surface paddler. Talk about having a good run!


Meanwhile, not to be outdone customer Vito has been back up on Mulwala again earlier this week where he has upgraded to a new personal best. Vito landed this absolute barrel of a cod that measured 1.23m on the surface also. The same surface paddler did the job on this big fish as well.


Good to see proper supportive handling on these big fish also, as hanging them off lip grips or scales just doesn't cut it these days. Putting these giants back unharmed means that they're still about ready to belt someone else's lure (...or mine...) in the future.

 


While there was a heap of anticipation on the Murray cod season opening, the statewide weather really put a dent in some angler's expectations. With enough rain to flood many major rivers, some put their cod opener on the backburner altogether. The Cod Classic on lake Mulwala tested many anglers ability (or insanity) to fish amongst rough, dirty conditions with some anglers boats completely swamped and partially sunken while moored overnight.

Customer Andy gave it a red hot crack on the lake however and scored this ripping big cod that measured 1.1m. Andy landed this ripper on a trolled hardbody.

Another customer Slobodan also fished along the Yarrawonga side of the lake during the week where he caught 3 cod up to 68cm. Large yabbies and cheese caught his fish around the edges of the lake out of the main flow.


A bit closer to home the Yarra river has also been flowing fairly hard with recent rain but it is producing fish. Customer Chris fished with father Greg around the Templestowe section of the river using freshwater yabbies, where they caught and released one nice sized Murray cod and 2 smaller brown trout.


 

Some of the estuaries of eastern gippsland have been fishing well. Some systems are shut and need a good flush to open them to the ocean and bring some stability back, while others are fishing very well at present.

Customer Tom fished with some of his mates down in Bemm river earlier in the week where they did ok. Fishing the Mahogony's region of the lake in around 1m of water they caught some nice bream. Sandworm and prawn fished on light sinkers did the trick with some nice fish landed. Trolling lures around the entrance channel also caught the guys some solid tailor.


Staff members George and Dylan also fished the Bemm river/Marlo region recently. Casting all manner of lures from kayaks, the guys caught and released some nice school sized fish amongst the odd nice sized flathead. While the estuaries weren't fishing super well for the guys they still managed to catch fish after a bit of lure trial and error.


The most productive method for the bream seemed to be shallow running jerkbait style hardbodies fished over the mudflats and around the reed edges. With windy conditions lure placement was harder but still very important, as the fish weren't moving far to eat the lures.

 

With the Murray cod season opening in less than 2 weeks, now is the time to stock up and get yourself prepared! Make sure to check over all of your lures, hooks, leader and terminal gear along with your rod guides and main lines. You don't want to lose that trophy fish through something that could have been prevented!

Murray cod season looks to be a good season this year with river levels slightly down and clearer at the moment. Most of the main lakes such as Eildon, Mulwala and Nillahcootie are looking good also. Customer Kevin fished a mate's dam just recently where there were rumored to be a couple of decent cod, and he found out exactly what sort of cod were in there! Kevin's fish ate a small Jitterbug surface paddler.

 

 

The late run of southern bluefin tuna along the Vic west coast has been good, the only real issue has been getting a break in the weather. For many trailerboat fisherman who have managed to sneak a good weather day in here and there, the fishing has been good. Good numbers of bluefin have been found from Portland back to Warnambool, with fish spread out right out to the shelf. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been putting customers on to fish from depths as shallow as 30m out from Port Fairy. James has said that while there has been a bit of work locating the fish they have been in big schools once they have been found, and James has been getting hook ups of up to 8 fish at a shot off these schools.


Smaller lures have been the way to go on these fish lately, with skirts in the 4 - 6" size being the most effective, especially in brighter colours such a pinks and greens. Further afield there have still been a few bluefin pushing along the southern NSW coast. Customer Aaron fished wide out from Bermagui just recently to land this nice fish of 55kg.