While snapper are mostly on the cards for Westernport's angling community - the whiting fishing has been heating up over the past few weeks. While the whiting fishing isn't crazy hot for numbers of fish, the fish that are around have been excellent quality. The north arm has been fishing well for the whiting, with good bags of fish coming from the middle spit and around tortoise head, with a few more up the top around Warneet. Staff member Don fished on the whiting over the weekend with mate Sam and scored 18 fish. The guys fished the run out tide around Warneet and caught most of their fish on fresh squid.


The big squid have been worth a look for anglers fishing the southern end of the port again this week, with some proper spring monsters getting caught. Customer Justin fished the bottom end of the port around Newhaven and just offshore and caught some solid squid to around 2.5kg in water from 3 - 10m deep. Size 3.5 jigs in red foil and grass whiting green were the most productive. Cloudy light conditions helped the rainbow base in the grass whiting patterns reflect light and attract the squid.


Across the other side of the port customer Angelo has again been catching some nice squid from Flinders pier. Angelo fished the pier earlier during the week and did and afternoon session to land 2 nice squid up to 1kg. Angelo fished a couple of different jigs for his results, with Hayabusa 'red whiting' and Yakamito 'lemon' both being successful. Angelo noticed a few more anglers fishing size 2.5 jigs to no avail - with larger jigs getting the squids attention a lot easier here. Just be sure to select your sink rates correctly as jigs that sink too fast will simply snag up in the kelp with your first couple of casts. Standard or 'slow' sink rates are perfect for Flinders pier.

 


Whiting season is apon us! While not the norm for many at the time of year, the whiting fishing has been excellent for the past 5 weeks or so. At the moment there are plenty of whiting about to be caught, and while they are still a bit of work in the cooler water the quality has been excellent - whether you're fishing in Westernport or southern Port Phillip. If you think big squid grounds - think big whiting also. Customer Thomas has been fishing around the bottom end of the middle spit and Tortoise head for fish up to 41cm. The outgoing tide has been the most productive time for him.


The region around Tortoise head has been excellent for customer John. John has fished the area for the past few weeks and has consistently found good bags of fish, especially when fishing late in the afternoons. Many of John's fish have been either side of 40cm and have been taken on pipi and mussel.


Southern Port Phillip has been excellent for whiting also. The southern end from around Rye through to Portsea and Queenscliff has been the area to target. Fishing water from 2 - 7m has been where most of the bites have been coming from. Customer Josh has been catching some good bags of fish around Rye and again just wide of Portsea pier in about 6m. Pipi and fresh squid have been the baits of choice.

Customer Aaron also fished southern Port Phillip recently around the Sorrento area and further back to Blairgowrie and landed a good haul of fish. Pipi and mussel have been the better baits, with some better size fish coming through just on or after dark. Small amounts of berley have been a good way of turning a couple of fish into a solid bag. Small size whiting nuts have been excellent berley for whiting, mixed in with a small amount of mashed pilchard or fish oil to create a small slick. Just don't over-do the berley down here and schools of salmon and trevally will overrun your whiting school.

 


While many anglers are starting to gear up and chase the snapper around the whiting fishing has been starting to pick up in both bays. There aren't as many anglers fishing for the whiting yet but the number is steadily growing each year, and especially during the 'off season'. While all the 'regular' areas are holding numbers of fish, the fish have seemed to be more concentrated in certain regions of the bays at the moment. Customer Aaron landed a nice bag of fish from the southern reaches of Port Phillip on pipi.


The southern end of the bay has been good for customer Josh also. Josh has been fishing the Rye/Rosebud area for the whiting and he has been having some good sessions lately. The water temperature around this part of the bay has remained a bit more consistent and has helped keep the fish on the chew. Josh has been fishing the shallow edges and has found pipi and freshly caught squid for the best results.


Westernport bay has also been fishing well for the whiting, in amongst the snapper fishing. The top end of the port hasn't quite started firing just yet but further south the fish have been on the chew. Fishing the middle spit and Tortoise head has been a very good place to start. Customer Thomas fished these two areas just recently to land a nice bag of fish in the dark, on the last of the run out tide. Mussel and pipi were the most successful baits.


The same area around Tortoise head has also been productive for customers John and VB. The guys have been fishing the inside of the head during the afternoons and have found that coinciding run out tides have been excellent. Using pipi and squid has been the go, especially when fished on number 4 circle hooks. Using a light amount of berley has been the key to getting the fish to fire up, especially a mixture of pilchard pieces and whiting nut pellets.

 


Westernport bay has been fishing well as we roll on into the start of Spring. The main species are on offer for anglers chasing them with whiting, squid and snapper all worth the effort. While the snapper fishing is far from red hot, there are fish in the port willing to eat if you are out there looking for them. The usual late Winter areas of the port are where the fish have been, with the Corinella region to Spit Point a good area to look, along with up the North arm out from Hastings. Customers Thao and Johnny have been out making the most of the weather windows in the port and have seen a couple of fish for their efforts. Snapper to 4.4kg have made their way into the boat with fresh squid being the successful bait. 14m of water and the early stage of the run out tide were the go.


The squid fishing has been good in the port also, even with some milky water up on some of the banks after the rain. The hot spots have been the Quail and Tyabb banks, with most coming from slightly deeper grassbeds in the cleaner water. Spring is normally a great time to be out in search of the larger squid as they spawn - and the southern end of the port has already seen some nice specimens caught. As usual a variety of jigs will give you be best results rather than 'putting all your eggs in one basket' with one colour. The best thing to pay attention to when selecting jigs colours is light level in the sky and water colour.


Staff member Don and mate Sam fished out on the port over the weekend in search of some squid and they caught some up to around a kilogram. Water conidtions in the morning were ideal but as the wind picked up they were forced to fish a bit deeper off the banks in 8m where they caught some larger squid. Red foil jigs worked well on the shallower banks, with UV blues and greens doing more damage in the deeper water. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been spending time out in the port with customers on the squid grounds - with plenty of happy anglers. James has been fishing a variety of colours and sizes with blacks, green, and bright UV yellow/orange all working - just depending on light and cloud conditions. The Tortoise head area and south of Sandy Point has been excellent for numbers of squid.


While many anglers aren't really thinking King George whiting, there have been enough out in the port to keep any KGW angler happy. Numbers of fish have been good, and average sizes around the high 30cm mark to low 40cm nothing to turn your nose up at. The middle spit and Tortoise head have been excellent areas to try and where most of the fish have been coming from. The region around Balnarring and Somers has also had some quality fish but much smaller numbers of fish. Customers like Long have been catching some respectable bags of fish to around 39cm from the area on both pipi and squid. Pipi has been the standout in the shallower water with the fish really firing up before dark.

 


The peninsula has been the more consistent region for squid fishing recently with mixed clear and wet weather. The hot areas lately have been Rye, Blairgowrie and Flinders piers. Customer Jameel fished from Blairgowrie yacht squadron with his family and took home some ripper squid. The best performing jigs for Jameel were Yamashita Live and 490 search in UV and glow whites. The same bright whites have been very effective around Rye recently also.


On the other side of the peninsula customer Angelo has been catching squid and grass whiting from Flinders pier. Angelo took his father out to the pier and between them they manage some nice squid on size 3.0 Clicks and Yamashita jigs, with black and UV white, along with bright green being the standouts. Small pieces of prawn and trout worm fished on paternoster rigs around the pier pylons and kelp beds was the best method of catching the grass whiting.


The southern end of Port Phillip has been producing some fat condition winter whiting, with not many anglers making the most of them. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching awesome numbers of fish with customers from Rye to Portsea and across towards Queenscliff. Freshly caught squid cut into small strips has been dynamite, along with fresh mussel. A mixture of pellet berley with small amounts of crushed mussel has really helped keep the fish going also.

Customer Josh also fished the same areas last week for the whiting and did very well. Josh and mates found that the Sorrento area was best in around 8m of water, with some very nice fish caught. Josh found pipi and fresh squid to be the most effective baits, with squid strips 'wiggling' in the current on fine straight shank hooks dynamite.

 


The whiting and squid fishing in both bays has been good recently during some nice calm weather, and will continue on through the rest of winter. The squid fishing in particular has been excellent and given good water clarity will stay very good right through. At present most of Port Phillip's northern locations are a bit murkier but are cleaning up. Staff member George and mate Cip were out during the week and stopped off at Mordialloc pier for a quick squid session. Natural gold foil jigs in size 2.5 were deadly, and a good bag of squid came on to the pier planks in only 20 minutes or so.


Westernport has been the real standout for squid lately though, especially if you're in the boat. Customer Aaron took the family out for a run recently and found the motherload of squid around the banks of the top end. Aaron smashed the squid and stocked up on early season snapper baits as well as a good feed with the family. Size 3.0 and 3.5 jigs were the go, with nearly all colours working well on this particular day.


Customer Edly has been focusing on the southern end of the port, with large squid on his mind. Edly fished the western entrance during the week and found some cracker calamari to around 1.5kg. Size 3.5 jigs with chin weights were able to get down deep and stay there where the larger squid were. Customer John also fished the port during the week and got some nice squid also. John was fishing out from Hastings were squid to around 1.2kg were caught on both baited jigs and 3.5's on the cast. The southern region of Tyabb bank was productive as were the grass beds just south of Hastings.


On the whiting front, both bays have still been producing fish. They are a bit harder work at the moment, but if you focus on them and actively change up baits and small location moves then there have been some nice fish worth catching. The average size for the fish at the moment has been around the 38cm mark, which has also been in very solid condition. The hot spots for Port Phillip bay have been the Rye - Sorrento area and across at Queenscliff, while the bottom end of the middle spit and tortoise head have been worth stopping on in the port.


Customers Mario and John fished the port during the week and collected a nice feed of whiting.The guys fished out from Hastings and worked the middle spit and tortoise head areas, and found some nice fish to just over 40cm. The tortoise head area produced more fish, with various banks around the point holding the fish and they moved during teh run out tide. Fresh squid and pipi did the job, with a few more fish falling to the squid than the pipi.

 


The squid fishing has been good around the bay as the water clarity stays good.Most of the usual land based locations are producing, with the mid northern end of the bay starting to fish well.


Staff member Dylan has been fishing from the shore around the top of the bay and has found the fishing pretty good. Multiple sessions of bag limits have been had in short time, normally around an hour. In amongst a few anglers fishing the standout jigs have varied a bit but blues and purples have been very effective lately. The Yamashita 'Live Search' jigs with incorporated rattle have been deadly when t hings have gone quiet.


Around the Brighton region customer Peter has been catching a few nice sized squid from the shore. Peter has found green/glow jigs have been effective during full sunlight conditions.The same sort of jig colours have also been working for customer Aaron down near Mornington. Aaron and mates have been fishing the reef in approximately 6m of water and doing well. Green/glow, gold foil and also red foils have all been working in that depth.


On the whiting front, there have been good catches of excellent size fish coming from Westernport bay over the past week or so. While there hasn't been many anglers chasing them, the fish getting about have been of very good average size. Customer Steve found out last week that the quality of the fish was good, fishing around Tankerton and the middle spit. Steve found that the bite was hot at certain stages of the tide but as usual the fish had to be followed around and baits changed to suit. Pipi and fresh fresh was excellent with most fish going on pipi.


Customer Pat fished with his dad out in the port recently and found a good bag of fish around tortoise head and the surrounding banks. Pat fished the outgoing tide and moved about to stay on the fish. The bank edges fished the best in water around 5m deep. Pipi and mussel cocktails got the bites when fished on a small wide gap hook.

 


Most of the estuaries out in Gippsland are set to fire up if more rain falls between now and Easter. While up until last week all major estuaries from Lakes Entrance and east were closed to the ocean. With water levels high and no clean salty water pushing in the fish can slow off the bite and be harder work to catch. They are still however there to be caught, and that's what will normally separate good anglers from those set in their ways.

Staff member Dylan and mates fished out in some of the estuaries recently and while conditions weren't ideal with wind and heavy rain the fish were certainly there to be caught. Fishing shallow mud and sand flats and finding the main holding areas for the fish was the first key, then working out the more successful lures was the next step. With an abundance of small school prawns and shrimp the surface bite was excellent. Over a day and a half around 60 bream were caught, with another estimated 25 whiting and around 60 flathead. A very small bag of fish was taken home, with some whiting, flathead and luderick keep for a feed.


Among the desirable fish were plenty of big tailor and silver trevally all equally happy to eat the expensive lures. The most successful lures were the Sammy 55, Gunfish, Sugarpen and overreal wake, which all represent small prawns and baitfish panicked on the surface. Retro-fitting these lures with small and sharp stinger hooks increased hookup rates by at least 50%, especially on the bream and whiting. Customer Daniel also fished in a nearby estuary where he landed some nice yellowfin bream from similar shallow sand flats.


Around the Gippsland lakes the bream fishing has been good if you're looking in the right areas. The main 3 rivers are producing some nice fish at present and should start fishing well for the larger fish the deeper we get into autumn. Customer Bashir and mate fished the lower tambo river to land a nice bag of fish on a mixture of baits. The most successful baits for the day were live shrimp and freshwater yabbies fished on number 8 'C10U' fly hooks.


Customer Ian also fished the region recently and found some nice bream floating about in the Nicholson river. Ian found that the best baits by a mile were live freshwater yabbies. If you're using slightly larger than normal yabbies it doesn't hurt to pull the claws off them to give the fish a good chance at hitting them and hooking up.

 


With the onset of Autumn weather the squid and pinkies have well and truly come into action. The larger squid should come into their own around the southern end of the bays with the cooler water temperatures. Customer Angelo fished from Flinders pier during the week to land a couple of solid squid and a cuttlefish on size 3.5 Clicks jigs in colour 17.


The Mornington region has been fishing well for hordes of smaller schooling squid. While the pier itself has been producing lots of squid, the adjacent rocks and points have also been holding large numbers of slightly larger squid. If you're going to fish the pier here small jigs are the go. Size 1.8 has been the most consistent performer here, especially if you rig them up without a sinker. These jigs are designed to sink at a slow rate and precise angle, and usually adding them to a paternoster rig decreases catch rates.

Staff members Don and Dylan have been catching numbers of squid from around the pier and rocks, with 2.5 size jigs working well in the windier conditions, in all variety of colours. Customer Jordan also fished the rocks nearby to land hs 10 squid in short succession on 2.5 size jigs in brighter colours.


The massive schools of pinkies have been biting well around most reefy sections of the bay. The Black Rock area has been holding big numbers of fish to around 40cm. Customer Stephan and mates fished the area during the week and managed a nice mixed bag of pinkies, whiting and squid. The guys fished in about 10m of water, with pilchard and squid the two best baits.


The Autumn run of pinkies are perfect for targeting on soft plastics. With large groups of fish hanging around the structure it normally takes no time to get a bit from them. Smaller plastics in around 2.5 - 3.5 inches are the best starting point, whether curl or paddle tail type. Fishing these plastics on jigheads of 1/8 to 1/4oz will get you down to the fish even in the windiest conditions in the shallows. A big tip if new to this style of fishing is to make sure you are using a hi-vis braided line to pick up on subtle bites as the lure is sinking.


Customer Ryan has been having good sessions on the pinkies on plastics out from Williamstown and Black Rock recently. Ryan has been targeting the schools in around 8m of water along scattered reef and has been fishing a mixture of plastics. Some days the fish have been holding very tight to the reef so he has been using a weedless hook setup to get the lure to them. He has been finding a slow wind a slight 'shake' the best way to entice a bite from the fish .

 


Whiting fishing has been steady in the port, and still the mainstay for local anglers. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching some good size fish up the top end of bay, with many of fish around the 40cm mark. Fresh mussel has been an excellent bait along with tenderized squid.Staff member Don has also been catching whiting up around Tyabb. Don and mate Sam fished an afternoon run out tide in 6m of water to land around 20 fish up to 43cm. The average school size fish were in the 36 - 39cm and fell to squid and pipi cocktail baits.


With the onset of Autumn the pinkies and school snapper will pick up in the port. While there have been hoards of smaller fish, there have been some better fish coming from the long reef area (think Lysaughts through to Eagle rock). Working through the undersize fish has been a chore but larger baits and hooks will keep the smallest fish at bay - also hardier baits of yakka and pike will help hang in there until a bigger fish finds it. Depths of 10 - 14m have been better for larger fish, with the deeper water carrying large numbers of small fish. Customer Michael fished with a mate out from Stony point in 10m of water out from the pier to score a nice bag of pan sized fish on pilchard.