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 the phrase "it's still too early" is commonly being uttered among snapper fishing talk - we're now mid September and the fish have been hanging about for a while, and anglers have been catching them. Sure, water temperatures are not quiet at 'optimum' but the fish are still there and they have to eat. Many landbased locations have been producing fish and patches of both bays are also holding fish that are eating on more regular terms. Captain Bill from Mornington took a photo of a local angler fishing the pier and rockwall just a few days ago with a nice fish taken on fresh squid. During heavy onshore weather the pier has been holding some quality fish and is worth fishing straight after said weather.


While Mornington pier has been producing fish, Frankston, Mordialloc and Brighton have also been doing the same. The beaches in these same areas have been producing active fish also - so if the pier is packed head onto the beach nearby instead of casting into the same area as a heap of other anglers, this way you're giving yourself a better chance. Customer Ahmad has been looking around the piers and beaches over the past month and has landed snapper to around 7kg for his efforts, with fresh squid and pilchard still the better baits.


For the boat based anglers in Westernport the fish have come on a bit stronger - which is normal for this time of year. Water temperatures and rainfall play a big part in when the fish switch on and where. At the moment the more consistent areas to concentrate on are between Corinella north and Grantville and about Hastings. There have been numbers of fish moving around the 'finger' channels way up the North-Eastern corner of the port, where the low tide mudflats are warming up the surrounding water. Customer Anthony has been fishing this area with his daughter and together have caught her first snapper. The nice school fish took fresh squid.

Customer Zach has also been amongst the snapper. Zach has been fishing the water of the North arm and has managed a brace of nice fish in his first trip - with fresh squid and pike both doing the job. Searching for small pockets of slightly warmer water and bait nearby is a good way to locate some snapper at the moment.

 


Some clean weather has let anglers out for a break to catch some squid. The squid fishing hasn't been red hot but has been fairly consistent in both bays but the standout has been Port Phillip bay. Southern Port Phillip has been the go-to around Rye and Sorrento, but there have been good reports coming from Frankston and further south around Mornington. Customer Thao fished the Rye region recently with a mate and they found some nice squid for their efforts. Fishing the banks in 4m of water was the go, with multiple squid taken from single drifts. The killer jigs were the Hayabusa 'Aussie' specials in red whiting and black oil in size 3.0.


Customer Justin has also been making the most of the good quality squid about in southern Port Phillip. Justin has landed some nice squid to over 2kg from the Portsea - Rosebud region, with the bigger ones holding deeper in the fast tidal water. Justin has been fishing baited jigs in the shallows and 'tip run' deep jigs in the depths. Size 3.5 jigs in dark greens and purples have been good towards Portsea and UV white a standout back in the shallows off Rosebud.


Across Bass Strait customer Zach has been going hard on the squid. Zach has been fishing King Island from the rocks and piers and has been landing squid to around a kilo. Zach has been liking the white red head Shimano Sephia along with the Yakamito 'lemon' colour in size 3.0 and 3.5. The best time for Zach has been an hour or so around sunrise, with the light level change a real hot bite time.

 


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 local landbased has been producing a few different species for anglers getting out there and having a crack. The squid fishing has been hot and cold but with recent clear water the water clarity is good in most areas. Customer Angelo has been fishing the peninsula after the squid and has been catching some to just under a kilo. Angelo has been favouring early morning sessions when fishing piers like Flinders. Angelo has been preferring size 3.5 Clicks jigs  in squid ink and hot green colours. Some other large squid have been taken from the pier, again with early morning or late afternoon light changes the prime time. Bright colours or dark greens and black have been good.


Fishing the same sort of piers like Flinders, Sorrento and Portsea gives a chance of a few other species also. With cold ocean water pushing in from Bass Strait species like Barracouta and snotty trevally are starting to show up. Customer Angelo has been finding good numbers of couta from the pier at Flinders and they have been attaching small soft plastics. Soft plastics between 1.5 and 3 inches have been the most effective when matching the small baitfish that hang under the pier.

On the peninsula piers, there have scattered garfish reports. The main areas have been Dromana, Mornington and Seaford piers. The calmer weather has brought the fish in and once berleyed up they have been hanging around. The rougher weather sends the garfish off as the larger salmon have moved in and spooked the garfish off. Staff member Don fished Mornington pier during the week and caught a small bag of gars. Don found multiple float changes crucial along with very fine mix berley. The bites from the gars were timid, and lightly balanced floats were only just 'tipping' instead of bobbing under. Tiny pieces of silverfish were also the best bait on number 14 hooks.


The beach fishing has been good lately as well. Local beaches like St Andrews, Gunnamatta and Rye ocean beach have all been producing salmon, along with Kilcunda and Williamsons. The numbers of fish have been good, but without berleying up and holding fish to your area you may only get a couple. Lure anglers spinning 40g slim profile metals and stickbaits have been landing larger fish to 1.5kg or so, as they cover more beach. Staff member Don has been out on the beach at Gunnamatta and has landed salmon to pretty much bang on a kilo. Spinning and bait fishing has been productive for him,with the last 2 hours of lead up to the high tide the most productive time. Bluebait has been his most productive bait, but a few smaller fish have taken pipi as well.


Fishing the beaches with bait and paternoster style rigs has been effective as always, but even more effective when you rig a popper or soft plastic on your bottom hook. White and blue poppers have been good lately, along with 'bungy baits' in natural baitfish colours. If you fish either popper or plastic make sure you to smear some gel style scent on them. Gel type scents stay on much easier and trickle small amounts of smell out to roaming fish - so you are almost berleying at the same time when fishing like this.

 


Although the weather has been bitterly cold and average wind wise over the past few days , there is some decent weather with light winds on it's way. While the weather may not have been the most helpful for the fisherman there has still been a bit happening locally for rugged up anglers. The garfish have been around on the piers along the eastern seaboard of the bay, with Mornington, Seaford, Frankston and Sandringham all good places to start. Staff member Don has been catching a few around Mornington over the past week, with some good sized fish in the schools. Small silverfish and maggots have been the best, but as usual a fine grit berley and properly balanced floats are a must.


Customer Nathan has also been catching the gars from Seaford pier. Nathan has been finding that the fish are most active around the last bit of daylight into the first hour or so of night. Nathan has been berleying and fishing silverfish back in the berley trail but also paying attention to which direction the berley is being carried.


Nathan has also been catching some nice bream from Patterson river. Maximizing his fishing time after work hours Nathan has landed bream up to 42cm recently from the river. During his latest session Nathan caught 2 nice fish both around a kilo, and both on mussel. The bream were most active just after sunset and will still bite well with the dirty water conditions. Customer Cip has also caught a couple of nice fish recently from the Patto, but on lures. Cip has been using small sinking stickbaits and plastics but has found the stickbaits have been getting the bite more often. Letting these lures slowly sink and flutter down to the bottom has been when most fish are grabbing them.


In westernport there has been plenty on offer from the local piers, with a heap of pike, mackerel and flathead to be caught over the reef and weedbeds, and barracouta mid water. Customer Nath has landed rock flathead to 45cm fishing from the piers and has found soft plastics the best way to jag a few. Small 3 inch paddletail plastics have been the best performers especially in small whiting or wrasse colours. Customer Angelo has been catching a heap of big pike and couta from the pier down at Flinders on soft plastics also. Flinders is an excellent location to fish plastics for fish like pike as they patrol the thick kelp beds. Angelo has slowly gotten into the lure fishing and is having a ball catching lots of variety of the finesse plastic techniques.

 


The autumn run of salmon is starting to show up both along the beaches and inside the bays, with varied size fish getting around. The back beaches of Gunnamatta, Kilcunda and Venus Bay are all producing fish, with some nice fish to 3kg turning up. Inside the bay the fish have been moving along the eastern shoreline from Portsea to Mordialloc as onshore winds condense the bait for them. Customer Aziz has been catching some thumpers as they make their way past the piers, with some really sold fish around 3kg getting around. Aziz has caught fish from Sorrento to Patterson river, with weather conditions dictating where to fish. The most successful lures for Aziz have been small pencils and stickbaits that imitate garfish and whitebait.


Around the eastern seaboard there have been schools of salmon working the shoreline gutters and inlets. The mouth of Patterson River, Seaford pier, Mordialloc pier and Frankston piers have all been worth a look, especially during or after a strong onshore (southwesterly) wind. The poor baitfish really get pinned in by these strong winds, which gives the salmon an easy meal. Customer Scott got down to the mouth of Patto and found a school of small fish keen to eat plastics. The tip for catching these fish in calm conditions is to down scale your plastics to small offerings in the 2 - 3 inch size, matched with 1/12th through to 1/6th jigheads.


The beaches around the Bass coast have been starting to produce some nice salmon. Customer Mark has been fishing Venus Bay and has been landing fish to around 1kg. The small gutters and holes in close have been holding small numbers of fish which have taken bluebait and pilchard. A light berley trail consisting of pilchard mix and medium size pellets has been the key to catching multiple fish before they move off. When conditions allow small plastics and metal stickbaits have been working exceptionally well also. The best performers have been the Yakamito 'live fry' and Bungy Baits 'viber'.

 


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.

 


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.

 


The 'everyday' species on offer around the bay have been providing whether you're in the boat or fishing from the shore. Squid fishing of late has been productive all around the bay as customer Peter has been finding out. Peter fished with a mate out from Rye over the weekend to land a nice bag of squid. Most productive jigs were size 3.0 Yakamitos in the 'ribena' colour.


Customer Tony fished with mate over near Queenscliff on the weekend to land some nice squid and cuttelfish. Tony found that the stand out jig was a fluoro yellow 'lemon meringue' coloured jig. The bright coloured jig out-performed all others in the area, and has a good track record in the Queenscliff region.


The local piers and sandy spits and coves have been holding some nice garfish lately also. The 'normal' piers such as Frankston and Mordialloc have been producing but they have been better during the day rather than at night. If you are able to get out on the water and berley up the size of the gars has been better. Customer Edly has been making the most of these tasty fish over the past few weeks, with some good numbers of fish to 35cm being swung aboard. Silverfish and maggots have been the best baits of late, with a light trickle of berley enough to keep the fish nearby.