Port Phillip bay has turned on the heat for snapper anglers over the last week or so. The increase of water temperature has really seen the fish start to bite better, as they should well into December. Customers from the Keysborough Angling Club fished the bay last week for 7 nice snapper landed in tough conditions. Fishing both pilchard and silver whiting fish to 5.3kg were caught out from Carrum in 17m. Customers Dave and Jack weighed in snapper to over 5kg during the comp and took out the points.


Customer Andy reports that the snapper have been going well out from Mt Eliza and Mornington. Andy and Zoe fished a couple of days during the week and did well. The fish were found and caught around the 'Ansetts' and 'Hospital' marks in 18.5 and 19m of water. The most productive baits during both trips were silver whiting, with fish to around 4kg hammering them. Paternoster rigs have also been very productive out in this region of the bay at present.


Customers around the Black Rock area have also been getting into the fish. Customers Vito and Harry had a blinder of a session on the reds recently with over 40 hookups on snapper. With 30 or so fish landed up to 6kg the fish were well and truly on the chew and willing to eat. The boys fished mostly circle hooks with small baits and found the fish obliging. Rick from Juro Tackle has also been getting amongst the snapper around Ricketts point and Black Rock. Rick has been fishing his favourite 4 inch jerkbait style soft plastics to land fish to around 4kg. Fishing along the edge of the reef here has been a good way to find some slightly larger than school fish.

 


Port Phillip bay has been producing some good school snapper from about Mordialloc north around the shallow reef ledges. While the bay hasn't been producing as many fish as westernport, there has still been some fish about to be caught. Most of these fish have been caught in relatively close during bouts of average weather.  Customer Advan has caught some nice snapper to 3.5kg in close of Black Rock. Advan has been fishing around 8m of water and using pillies for the best result.


Customer Bashir fished out from Sandringham in search of snapper and has landed fish to around 4kg. Bashir has been fishing around isolated reef patches and pinnacles and has found pilchard to be the best. Staff member Dylan fished around Mordialloc in search of some snapper over the weekend, but with only small fish caught. Dylan concentrated on shallow reef outcrops with deep running hardbodied lures and deeper reef patches using flutter style jigs, with around 30 fish caught - but only up to 45cm. Many of the fish caught were between 35 - 45cm and perfect pan size.


Looking like snapper but silver are some of the bream that customer Minh has been catching. Minh has been fishing the Patterson River and using scrubworm to land multiple fish a session. Minh has caught fish to 44cm using worm in the river. The bream have been moving about the river quite freely, with fish caught from the bar at the river mouth right up to the rockwall towards the Frankston freeway end of the river. These fish will only get more active from now on and feed more aggressively around many areas of the river, and nearby metro rivers.

 


While the average weather hasn't been super motivating for many forms of fishing, it's probably the best time of year to focus on simple bread and butter species around the bay. The many species on offer for angler at the moment are bream, garfish, salmon, pinkies and flathead. The best part of fishing for these species is that most of it can be done from the shore, kayak or in close in the boat. The current amount of freshwater washed into the bay has dirtied the water up and although this makes the water look very uninviting, the fish can normally bite better.


The bayside rivers and creeks have had a real good flush out and this has fired the bream up a lot over the last few weeks. The Patterson and Maribyrnong rivers have been producing some nice bream as more food is flushed around for them, and they have decreased sensitivity due to murky water. Customer Robin fished the Patto just recently and found a few nice bream near the mouth. Robin landed fish to 38cm on scrubworms fished on small whiting 'flasher' style rigs in 90 minutes of fishing.


The same area around the mouth of the Patto has also been producing salmon as they move up and back along the Eastern side of the bay. While they sometimes don't hang about for long, if the conditions are good the fish shouldn't be far away. Onshore winds and dirty water lines are good signs, especially if there are any baitfish schools about. Mordialloc through to Frankston is the region to look around through, with bluebait and whitebait the best baits. For the lure anglers, slim profile stickbaits and metal 'angry baits' have been effective in long casts into the wind, while small minnow soft plastics have also been catching fish once a bit of scent is added. Youngster James has been enjoying the salmon on soft plastics and lures with dad Chris when they can find a break in the weather.

Once the weather backs off a bit the garfish will come back on the chew. The same areas mentioned for the salmon have also been producing some good size gars when the wind hasn't been too strong. Onshore winds of 10 knots or less are generally what to look for when chasing the gars, and make sure you have heavily weighted and buoyant floats like the strada sliding floats. These floats are able to carry lots of lead for casting weight but will stay upright and alert you of any small gar bites very well.


The top end of the bay has also been producing some nice flathead in the shallows. The region from Port Melbourne through to around Sandringham has been the most productive stretch, will Atona bay another good spot to try. Staff member Dylan caught a bucket load during the calm weather trolling hardbodied lures from 90 - 130mm in size, with the best depths being around 2.5 - 3.5m of water. The rougher weather has seen many caught in even closer with the breakwalls and piers producing fish to around 42cm most days. If you're going to target a feed of flatties, make sure you lure or bait has got plenty of natural attraction and scent. Baits of small squid or squid heads have lots of movement in the rough water and might even score you some pinkies also. Small 'flutter jigs' are excellent for casting good distance as are soft hybrid vibes. The best lure choices are ones that the fish can find the easiest in the murky water, and gel or aerosol scents will increase their effectiveness 5:1.

 


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.

 


If you're keen on snapper then you should be fishing the southern end of the bay at present. The fish continue to bite from Mornington down to the start of the south channel. The common size of these fish at the moment is around a couple of kilos with fish to 6kg a proper chance, and a good mix of pinkies amongst the bite. Fishing the deeper water from 19 - 22m has been the area, with there no real hot spots just a keen eye on your sounder and a good amount of cubed pilchard or pellet berley. Being at your spot before first light with a trail of berley and baits in the water is a must.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been putting customers on to some lovely fish around the Mt Eliza over the past week, with both pinkies and school snapper on the go. James has been working the deeper water from 19m and wider for the larger fish, while the inshore reef and nearby water has been producing heaps of smaller pinkies and school fish to 1kg or so. Pilchard and squid have both been good baits.


Further up the bay there have been plenty of pinkies hovering about the reef points, and large patches of fish moving around the open mud and sand. Between Mordialloc and Carrum there have been plenty of smaller sized pinkies to around 35cm. Customer Simon fished out from Carrum in 17m on the mud where he brought home a good score of size pinkies. Squid and small silver whiting were the go to baits.

 


The squid fishing ash been consistent, and will only get better especially for the larger models as the weather gets colder. Both bays have been fishing well as they have had clear water conditions, even with the recent rain. This weekend's weather should really give some good squid fishing with no rainfall and clear sunny conditions. Customer Thao has been catching some quality calamari for the table and for fresh baits out in Westernport. Thao has been concentrating around the grassbeds near Tortoise Head and Tankerton with some good size squid finding the net. Size 3.0 jigs in natural yakka and also UV white and orange have been the best.


Out from Stoney Point customer Jamie and mates caught good numbers of squid fishing size 3.5 jigs along the bank drop offs. Fishing during the faster stage of the tide the 3.5's were crucial when in only 3m of water, as they stayed in the kill zone for long enough. UV white jigs worked when the cloud cover came through and during sunshine the red foil did better.


Mornington pier and rocks have still been producing good numbers squid for patient and persistent anglers. Fishing size 1.8 jigs has been fine when fishing the inside of the harbour or small pier, while the outside edge of the main pier and rocks are better approached with 2.5 size jigs. Red foils have been good around first or last light, with UV whites and aggressive colours like pinks and oranges have been excellent during sunlight hours.

Further north in the bay the region between Brighton and Black Rock has started producing more squid as the water cools off. Customer Peter fished from the rocks near Brighton recently to land a bag of nice sized squid. The aggressive viper red foil did the damage when their was a small amount of sunlight. UV pinks and also natural grass whiting patterns are very consistent around this region also. 

 


There are skeptics out there, but Port Phillip is still producing some good snapper fishing. Some could say it is as good as during October or November, but without the boat traffic. Fish to 5kg aren't a scare occurrence if you're out doing the first light sessions in the south of the bay. Mornington/Mt Martha has still been the better area to concentrate on, but school sized fish and decent pinkies are prolific all throughout the bay around the reef structure. 

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching some ripper fish during recent charters with clients, with some very nice fish coming over the sides. Pilchard and Whiting have been the best baits. 


The pinkies have been red hot around the shallower reef areas of the bay, and probably as good as they'll be all year with some nice fish to 2kg floating about the mix. Fishing soft plastics and lures and covering ground is the most effective method at finding the better fish, as static bait fishing really relies on waiting until the fish come to you. Customer Ryan has been catching heaps of fish around the 30cm mark on plastics, with a few up around 40cm in the mix also. Ryan has been fishing a few different rig methods with the plastics, with 'sled' heads and snagproof hooks being able to really break down the structure and pick out any likely pockets while not getting hung up.


Staff member Dylan got out on the bay on Saturday afternoon for a quick 2hr session and found plenty of pinkies, with fish to around 1.5kg taking the plastics. Locating isolated bait schools was the most productive method for finding the better sized fish, as the heavy reef held the smaller fish. The larger active fish were hunting the dense patches of anchovies out from the reef, and were more than happy to eat a slow falling plastic. TPR 'tearproof' plastics were the most effective in UV colours fished on around 3g jigheads.

 


The autumn run of snapper and pinkies has been excellent in the bay. There has been fish caught all over the bay from Williamstown to Brighton through to Mordialloc and down to Mount Martha. The smaller school fish to 2kg or so have been prevalent around the inshore reefs but the main run of better fish has been between Mt Eliza and Mount Martha.

Customer Pete caught some lovely fish to around 6kg out wide from Mornington last week. Fishing 21m of water around first light and an early tide change was the go, with pilchard being the gun bait.


Also fishing the same area was customer Rohan. Rohan fished in 22.5m out from Mount Martha and got a couple of fish to 4kg. The first light bite around the tide change again was the productive time, with pilchard again the best bait. There is a huge amount of small frogmouth pilchards in the bay at present so small soft baits can be very productive.  Customer Adam fished with his kids out from Mornington during the week and got into some nice school sized fish. The smaller school fish have been thick in the area but bait changes are a must, keeping fresh baits on the hook at all times.

 


The snapper have been actively feeding out from Mornington through to Mt Martha over the past few weeks, with fish to over 7kg out there to be caught. Fishing depths of 17 - 22m have been the best bet, and you pretty much have to be out early as the bite is all but over by about 8am.

Customer Charlie fished out wide of Mornington after a snapper recently and turned up a nice fish just under 4kg. Charlie was anchored in 21m and found that pilchard got the bite. Cubing with small pilchard chunks or '100% freeze dried pilchard mix' has been crucial to lure the fish in towards the baits.

Further up the bay there have been some solid pinkies roaming about on the mud also occupying the reef sections. Customer Ryan has been catching fish to 2kg or so in as shallow as 3m of water between St Kilda and Black Rock. Ryan has been catching fish on cubes and chunks of freshly caught slimey mackerel and yakka along with 'tear resistant' TPR style soft plastics. The main reason for the high catch rate of this style of soft plastic over others is their natural buoyancy and 'hang' above the bottom - right where the fish can see them. Jighead weights from 1/8 to 3/8oz are needed depending on wind and depth changes.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been making the most of the abundant pinkies and school snapper around the eastern side of the bay. James has occasionally been fishing around Black Rock but mainly between Frankston and Mt Martha where there are good numbers of fish. Many school fish have been 35cm through to 1.5kg, with a few up to 4kg floating about in the shallows. Fishing just off the reef in 9m of water and slowly trickling pilchard berley has been a key to keeping the school active. Pilchard and squid have been the better baits.

 


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 .