With the rain we've had around Melbourne the local estuaries and rivers have fired up and the bream have been feeding quite voraciously. Normally timid and subtle feeders, the black bream in the local rivers have fired up a bit as conditions have been prime for them. The mixture of warming water temperatures and an influx of freshwater and food sources, coupled with a post-spawn hunger has made the fishing for them quite good recently.


Customer Tony saw the forecast coming and made sure he had supply of live yabbies and he hit the Patto. Tony managed 10 fish in a short morning session, with fish from around 400g caught right through to some monsters up around 44cm. Tony fishes his live freshwater yabbies on very light line and little sinker, coupled with a fine gauge 'caddis' hook to keep them alive. Fishing them in the middle of the river was where the fish were roaming and once they ate the yabbies the fine gauge hook pinned them through the lip like it was nothing. Keeping these yabbies alive for as long as possible is paramount for tricking the larger fish.

 

 


The past week has brought the snapper on the chew a bit better in Port Phillip. Water temperatures have risen to between 15-16C and when this stabilizes the fish will bite even better. Earlier in the week the fish went well off Carrum over the mud, while plenty were also caught up around Black Rock and south around Mornington.


Customers Mark and Daniel fished out from Frankston in 16m and found some nice fish, which ate on the first set of baits. Pilchard and fresh calamari caught the fish, with 5 landed between 4kg and 7.5kg. Out in the same area customer Ben also got into some nice fish. Ben fished the 17m line to land fish to around 5kg in weight.


Further south around Mornington customers Taki and Wilson landed some nice fish from the rocks. The boys have been fishing some pretty heavy weather but are geared up to suit and they have been getting into the fish. Using pillies the boys have had fish to 7kg, with Saturdays sloppy weather producing a good number of fish to around 4kg.


Up around Ricketts point customer Gareth has been out in the kayak landing pinkies to around 50cm on lures. Gareth has caught fish trolling hardbodies and also on soft swimbaits and 'neko' rigged plastics. Gareth has been trying a few different methods and has been catching fish on many when others using bait aren't getting bites.

 


While there has been some activity on the snapper front, the real 'hot' action for Port Phillip is still around 2 weeks off. Water temperature and rainfall at this time of year play a crucial part in when the fish 'fire' and looking at the weather we are around 10 days to 2 weeks off. There have been a few solid fish caught by searching anglers but overall the bulk of the fish are yet to enter the bay. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has caught some small fish over the past week but also landed a cracker fish of around 80cm just a few days ago, so make sure you're prepared!


There have been a few fish scattered throughout the bay however, and the bulk of the fish caught are coming from landbased anglers. Fishing any of the shoreline around Mornington and Mount Martha has been the go, along with the top end of the bay between Mordialloc and St Kilda. Customer John got out during the week and managed a couple of nice fat school fish from the shore after dark on pilchard. John has been fishing a few locations and has found the fish biting late through the night after or during a strong 20 knot onshore wind.


At the moment the top end of Westernport has been producing the lion's share of the snapper reports. While Western Port normally fires up before Port Phillip, there seems to be good numbers of fish spread right through the port. Scattered reports have come from the Corals, Silverleaves, Corinella, Joe's Island and also through Bagge Harbour and the North arm. Customer Johnny got out on to the port during the week and landed 3 fish to around 3kg in the north arm on fresh squid. The region around Lysaughts and Long Reef in 15 - 18m has been producing quite a few school fish on squid, couta and pilchard.

 


The late Winter rain has done wonders for the estuary fishing both locally and down into Gippsland. The local Port Phillip rivers have been fishing well for bream, particularly with bait. Customer George was fishing the Werribee river just last week where he found a few reasonable size bream, but was also pleasantly surprized when a nice 90cm mulloway decided to eat one of his bass yabbies. George managed to wrangle the fish in using very light main line and leader which was a good effort.


Members of the Keysborough Angling Club fished the Melbourne metro rivers in search of bream over the weekend with mixed results. With only a few members able to fish over the weekend there weren't a huge number of fish weighed in, but the fish that were came from the Patterson River. The Patto has been running dirty in the main river with fresh coming down from the top, but the bream have been feeding actively. Customers Paul and Dave managed a few fish around 350g from the river using mainly prawn for bait. Fishing eddies and small drop offs in the river will see you come across a few fish as they cruise out of the main current and feed at their leisure. 


Down in the Gippsland lakes there have been some solid bream on the chew as the freshwater pushes down the rivers and gets them schooling and into pre-spawn mode. The fish in the 3 main rivers have been biting well, once they have been found. Looking for downstream areas of higher salinity has been where a few fish have been hanging out lately.  Customers Brendan and Phil have been doing well on nice fish into the 40cm mark fishing the Mitchell river in Bairnsdale. The best baits for targeting these bigger fish have been cut crab and freshwater yabbies. Fishing these hardier baits generally flushes out the smaller 'pickers' and leaves a solid bait intact for a bigger fish to eat. Just make sure to match your hook style and size to the bait correctly.

 

 


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.

 


When conditions allow, there have still been a few good snapper floating about both bays and they can still be caught. With rough conditions the landbased fisherman have an excellent chance of landing fish to 3kg from the rocks and piers. Port Phillip bay has been the better option for landbased snapper fishing, with Mt Martha, Brighton and Port Melbourne the shore based hot spots. Boat based anglers have a bit more freedom but sticking to these same areas has been the go, with pinkies from size to around 2kg feeding aggressively during and after rough onshore weather.

Customer Chris took his boat out for run during some recent calm weather, and had a fish straight out from Carrum. Chris managed a couple of bites and landed a nice winter snapper of around 3kg on pilchard. Chris also marked a few others nearby when he pulled up to anchor.


Across in westernport bay there are some nice winter reds around, especially if you're fishing the north-eastern section of the port. Probably the highest chance of a quality winter snapper would be this area from now until early August. The region between Joe's island and Corinella holds some excellent sized fish and is a far better chance for these fish than the rest of the port. Fishing baits of fresh squid or fish baits like mackerel or pike will give you a good chance. Customer Jamie landed a nice fish from the top end of he port just recently in some magic conditions. Fresh squid and a run off feeder channel led to the capture of the quality snapper.

 


While there hasn't been many anglers chasing them, the snapper continue out wide from Mornington and Mount Martha. When weather permits an early morning bite has been worth chasing from these fish, which have been averaging around 3kg. Customer Mark got out and had a crack at the fish recently and found some rippers to around 5kg. That first light bite was the go, out in depths of 20 - 22m off Mount Martha. Soft baits of pilchard and squid have been the go but a few anglers have also done well with whiting heads fished off snatcher style rigs.


Fishing out from the mussel farm off Mornington customer Lilong and mates managed a good haul of pinkies and school sized fish on soft plastics. Lilong was fishing jerkshad and worm style plastics, alternating between 1/8 and 1/4oz jigheads to suit the plastic and the depth. Bright UV colours in the worm patterns were excellent while natural whitebait and baitfish colours suited the jerkshads perfectly and got eaten on the drop most of the time. Lilong was using scent on his plastics with the Pro Cure garlic his chosen one.


While the depths of Mornington have been the consistent area for the fish, there have been plenty of smaler school sized fish roaming about in close. Customers Pete and Howard were fishing down in the Patto near the mouth when they landed pinkies to 57cm. Calm conditions and pilchard baits were the go, with a ravenous run of fish caught in the river and quite a few hanging around the artificial reef out from the river mouth.

 


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.

 


While not the same rush as the months of October and November, Port Phillip has been producing a wave of snapper as they feed up and move out of the bay. There will continue to be some resident fish in the bay all year, but good sized schools have been found in the Mornington region at present. These fish have been caught in depths of 17 -21m out to the edge of the spoil ground. First light bites are consistent with fish at this time of year, and well worth the effort. Bill from Mornington recently landed fish to around 5.5kg on pilchard and silver whiting.


Among the larger fish there have been plenty of pinkie schools, both out on the mud and around the reef patches. While wading through the smaller fish can be painstaking there have been enough fish to just over a kilo if you are changing up baits and rigs to suit. The reefy areas of Mornington and Black Rock have been holding large numbers of fish but also larger numbers of undersize fish. Moving to the mud just off the reef and berleying lightly has been a good method of luring better fish to your baits. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been landing heaps of plate sized pinkies for customers by fishing just outside the reef areas with fresh squid and pilchard. If the smaller fish are getting the better of you, switching to harder baits such as whiting or yakka can drag out some bigger fish for you.

 


While reports have thinned off a little from Port Phillip, there is still plenty going on! The snapper have slowed off a little with their usual pre-xmas spawning movements, but there are still plenty of patches of fish to catch. The southern end of the bay seems to be the go at the moment, as the water temp is slightly lower and more conducive to a snapper bite.


Out from Mornington, customers aboard 'Relax, Go Fishing' charters have been getting some solid fish to around the 6kg mark throughout the week. Baits of silver whiting have been very effective along with squid, and a few fish taking the usual pilchard as well. The productive areas have been from Mt Eliza through to Mornington in 16-17-18m of water.


Out from Black Rock customer Adrian has been catching some nice fish to around 4.5kg on pillies. Adrian has been fishing around the reef edge in 9m and fishing pilchards. Using a strong berley trail of pilchard cubes has been the best way to keep the nearby fish interested, with a handful of cubes going in every 40 minutes or so. Customer Michael has been getting a few fish still out from Carrum also. Michael has been fishing nearby to the outer artificial reef in 18m and finding the odd fish around sunrise. Fresh squid has been Michael's preferred bait.


Customer Mick came into the store recently to set up some Port Phillip 'specific' gear. After realizing that some of his stuff was more suited to Western port Mick purchased a lighter outfit to tackle the finicky nature of Port Phillip's snapper. Very next session Mick was out and into fish to about 3.5kg, with long octopus tentacles getting the bites.

Down along the Peninsula there have been some squid caught from some of the piers. Dirtier water and winds have slowed things a bit but persistence and constant jig changes has been the way to piece a bag together. Staff member Don got down to Mornington and although conditions weren't super favourable he still managed a decent haul. Switching between rattle and non rattle 2.5 size jigs was the go, with UV colours and rattles getting bites before the other jigs.


At the bottom of the peninsula there has been some movement from the schooling kingfish. While not 'on fire' yet, there are fish around - and they are worth targeting. Friend of the shop Bruce fished around the heads and offshore towards Barwon over the weekend to get into a few school sized fish. Bruce's best tactic was to run a 'Fanasty squid' hardbody behind the boat and pin a long squid strip on a dropper behind the lure. The lure works to get the king's attention and the squid strip seals the deal.