The run of tuna local to Melbourne has continued and is gaining more and more momentum each day. With huge schools of fish to 40kg just offshore from the bays and along the coast many are taking advantage and getting amongst them when conditions allow. The schools have been isolated and as widespread as Cape Woolamai across to Portland and further west, with good numbers of fish hanging about between Cape Schank and Torquay. Vic EJ Todds Representative Mitch has been landed some sizable fish out from Barwon on stickbaits and poppers. While many anglers have been trolling lures, with increased boat traffic and pressure the fish are liable to spook - and this is where cast lures can have their advantages. Don't forget to pack popppers, stickbaits and various soft plastics!


Customer Josh came into the store after an outfit to tackle the tuna with and let us set something up for him. After gearing up Josh and some mates headed out and gave the fish a crack. The boys found the tuna just outside of the heads in quite shallow water heading towards Barwon bluff and landed a few on different hardbodies and also small skirts. Needless to say Josh is hooked will probably be doing more of it asap.


There have been plenty of anglers scoring catches of nice bluefin. The Melbourne Tuna Crumbs have been amongst the fish over the past weeks, with to just shy of 40kg coming aboard. Some of the original crumbs Michael and Pino have had fun on the fish from just outside the heads across to Angelsea. Various tactics have been working with deep running hardbodies and bibless minnows in short doing a good job at bringing the fish in. When the fish have been shy small skirts as minute as 3'' have been getting the bites, especially when fished a long way back.


The boys from Bucci Cabinets have been serving up fresh tuna with good numbers of fish in the 15 - 20kg size range being caught. The fish have again been caught along the surf coast, with the Barwon - Torquay area holding good schools. Working the 20 - 35m depth areas have been where most of the boys have been finding the numbers. Skirted lures have been the favoured method, with 5'' being about the most productive size. Some skirts as large as 10'' have been catching fish - and a good option to put in the spread as a teaser to entice the school to come up. Even if you have any huge marlin sized skirts, running them or a large popper or daisy chain of large soft plastics as an attractor has been well worth the effort.

 


Many anglers have been aware of the tuna activity along the west of the coast, and have been making the most of these fish again this week. There have been fish stretched from Portland and further west right across to offshore from Westernport and Inverloch. There have been fish inside both bays but they have been flighty and hard to come across, but they have been there to be caught.


Customer Billy has been catching some nice bluefin just offshore from the heads on small skirts. He has also landed a couple of fish in the 20kg range from inside the bay, with both skirts and deep diving hardbodies working well. The fish inside the bay have been moving about a lot, but the 'rip' section has been where the fish have been pushing through mowing down schools of pilchards. Customer Jason has also been landing fish offshore from the heads and further down towards Phillip Island. Jason has been landing fish on small 5'' skirts, and a few fish on surface poppers cast around the schools.

Customers Izzy and Bruno have been getting into the tuna also. Izzy fished out from Torquay during the week and found fish to 25kg. Skirts in the 5'' size range were the most effective on the fish, with the fish being attracted up to the surface from the commotion of deep running hardbodied lures. While the fish around Torquay and Barwon have been good there have also been some nice fish coming from Portland and Port Fairy. The fish have been cruising inshore in water depths of 15 - 50m and have been responding to the same methods - with stickbaiting and popping also very productive.


Among the tuna out west there have been schools of rat kingfish hanging about. The inshore reef around Portland has been the best holding ground for the numbers of these fish, with Izzy and Bruno catching some while down at Portland. Stickbaits and small surface poppers have been effective when the fish are on, but baits of slimey and calamari have also been deadly when the lures haven't gotten the interest of the fish. The fish have ranged in size from just legal to around 18kg, with some much larger fish harassing the smaller rats.


While not normally known for it's kingfish, the Gippsland lakes has been experiencing a run of school sized fish moving about the system. The fish have been moving from as far up as Paynesville right the way down to Lakes Entrance itself. Customer Kevin has found himself holding a knife while in a gunfight while fishing out of his canoe. Kevin has been fishing the north arm around Lakes Entrance and has been landing kingies to around 80cm. Small plastics that imitate the abundant prawns have been easy for the fish to eat and getting most of the bites.

 


The summertime gummy fishing has been excellent in Westernport Bay. Many anglers have been making the most of the good fishing, with large gummies on offer around most parts of the port. Customer Zoran has caught a couple of nice sharks in the 12kg mark fishing the western entrance of the port. Chunk baits of freshly caught slimey mackerel and salmon have been the most productive.


Customer Justin has also been catching some solid gummies while out on the port. Justin had a session on the whiting lately and managed to collect some fresh bait in the form of trevally, so he sat for a gummy in the western channel. He landed a nice fish around the 13kg mark on fresh trevally. The last hour of the run out tide was the productive time for the gummy, with the fish coming from a secondary channel ledge.


Further back up the port customer George had a successful session out for gummies. George fished out from Rhyll and sat along a 10m ledge, and landed a nice gummy around 8kg. The successful bait was fresh squid head, fished on a circle hook paternoster rig. Customer Izzy has also been successfully landing some nice gummies fishing similar style 'reedy's rigs'. 6/0 circle hooks on these rigs have made for easy jaw hookups and easy to remove on smaller fish.


Up along the eastern side of the port there have been plenty of gummies between 65 - 90cm roaming around the feeder channels, and these have been plenty eager enough to scoff baits of banana prawn, squid or flesh baits. These fish are best targeted around the top of the tide, as they race up the channels and feed over the mudflats. As they race back off the flats they can be intersected along these same channel ledges. There have also been reports of some bronze whalers in the same area, with the hot 'zone' between Reef Island, Elizabeth Island and Spit Point. Customer Brendan fished from Tenby Point last week chasing gummies, and landed a small bronzie of a couple kilos.

 


The fishing in Westernport and it's offshore surrounds has been where many anglers are concentrating their efforts at the moment, with plenty of good fishing for bread and butter species like the humble gummy. If you can get offshore or towards the port's entrances the fish have been larger, with gummies under the 12kg mark usually uncommon. There have been some solid school shark floating about also, as customer Steve reports. Steve caught a nice schoolie recently while anchored up just outside the eastern entrance of the port. Fresh chunks of salmon and slimey were the most effective baits for him.


If you're after a table sized shark the port has been holding loads of gummies from small pups through to around 10kg. The top of the port around it's many feeder channels along with the Corinella mudflats has been producing many of these smaller sharks. Staff member Dylan fished some of the shallow mudflats recently in search of some table flake and in a short few hour session 4 were landed up to around 7kg. The last 90 minutes of the run in produced the results, with the fish coming from a small channel ledge in 2m of water. Banana prawn was the most effective bait when fished on the edge of the flats.


The rest of the port and especially the region pushing towards the waters of Bass Strait has been worth fishing for larger gummies. Amongst the large females a few smaller sharks normally make their presence felt. Customers Vito and Simon have both done well on lovely eating size gummies over the past weeks. Baits of fresh squid, trevally and wrasse have gotten the job done when pinned as hangbaits on single oversized circle hooks. The last bit of the run out tide or fish hour of the flood has been the best time to snare one of these fish pushing in.

 


The by catch  while fishing for both whiting and snapper in the port is enough in itself to keep many anglers content, with some being better eating that the main target themselves! Changing tactic slightly to target the fish like garfish or trevally while in the shallows can provide some fun, great bait and good fare on the table.


Customer Sam has been fishing with staff member Don out on the whiting and the silver trevally have been plentiful in between whiting bites. The trevally normally make their presence known during the slackest stage of the tides and respond very well to oily berley that has some sort of pilchard or baitfish in the mix. They are best caught using softer whiting rods and fine gauge hooks, as their soft mouths can have hooks easily torn out. Don and Sam have been finding plenty along the channel edges up the top end of the port.

The same areas have also been holding good sized garfish, and they have been coming up the berley trail and can be caught on small pieces of pipi under finely weighted floats. Some of the gars have been between 40 and 50cm.


The gummy fishing has been keeping anglers happy as many are caught as snapper by catch as much a target species. Fishing the run off channel edges especially over the mudbeds has been the best way of finding one for a feed. Some of the anglers from the Keysborough Angling Club have been catching gummies along the main channel edge out from Hastings, along with whiting salmon and mackerel.

Customers Graeme and Mick have also been catching some nice table sized sharks over on the Corals. The corals area is good foraging ground for both snapper and medium sized gummies, but also gets some solid school shark and bronze whalers over the warmer months of the year. Fresh chunk or strip baits are excellent ways to connect to one.


Some large female gummies have also been making their way into the port in preparation to pup. Customers Izzy and Bruno fished the western entrance and landed 2 big female gummies. Fishing 4/0 Reedy's Rigs with californian squid got the job done, and both were caught in around 30m of water on the tide change.


Not too far away the squid fishing has been good for the land based anglers. The extensive weed and reef from Balnarring to Flinders hold some large calamari and can be fished from the shore - you just need to select your jig sink rates accordingly. Customer Travis fished from the beach at Somers and landed a couple of nice big squid on size 3.5 jigs, with gold foils doing the best. Down at Flinders pier there have been a good number of squid caught during the day, with customer Angelo getting amongst them. Angelo caught 4 nice squid in his recent session, with a mixture of UV white, lumo glow and red foil jigs doing the damage.

 

 


Western Port's snapper fishing continues to provide some excitement for anglers around Melbourne, as the fish have stayed more consistent than that of PPB this season. There are snapper now in just about all pockets of the port, and you can target the fish without having to sit next to 500 other boats. Young gun Ashie Damelio is pretty excited with the nice fish he caught with dad Steve out towards Sandy Point recently.


Customers Graeme and Mick have been getting into heaps of big pinkies and school sized snapper both from the Corals and also further up the bay in the Lysaughts area. Both squid and pilchard have been the best baits, between either baits separate or mixing up both known as the 'squidbomb' and 'superchunk'. If you haven't seen or used these baits ask us in store how you can rig them up.


Towards the Eastern arm customer Justin has been landing some solid fish, with his best going just over 9kg or the magic 20lb mark. Just has been fishing chunk baits of freshly caught yakka, couta and pike to land the bigger fish.


In the same region over towards Ryhll customer Tony has been fishing with mates Shar and Troy. The boys have landed nice snapper to 6kg in 17m of water, with fresh squid and pike doing well. Strip baits have been more effective in the faster current, with chunks and rings providing more movement and attraction when the tides have either slowed or been smaller.

 


Well it's mid December and while many anglers are still trying to make the most of the snapper season that has been a bit sporadic, others have been giving the whiting a real hit in the port. The port has been producing some quality whiting fishing in all corners. Customer Steve fished in his annual whiting comp out from Corinella over the weekend and was out done by grandson William with his best fish weighing 887g, with Steve's best weighing 800g.


Plenty of quality fish were caught out from Corinella in the muddy water with 16 fish all measuring 42cm or bigger. Fresh squid fished in small strips and tipped with pipi or a small piece of prawn is excellent in discoloured water for these larger fish. The only negative to fishing in this terrain is that small gummy sharks can scatter the fish and take your baits on light gear.


Over on the other side of the port customer Edly has been doing well on the whiting out along the middle spit. Edly has been moving about but has been finding most of the fish in the 4 - 5m depth, and has been finding that the start of the run out tide has been the most productive for him. Fishing baits of pipi and mussel along with fresh squid has been the best, with the mussel and pipi getting the most bites but the squid taking the larger fish as the tide starts to pick up. Some pinkies and flathead have also been getting in on the act on the same baits when the whiting bite thins out.


Customer Travis and son Jax have also been catching some solid whiting out from Hastings. Many of the whiting have been around the 40cm mark and are prolific from the shallow banks in 30cm of water on the top of the tides, right through to water deeper than that of many snapper grounds. Knowing which tides to fish each area has been the key to locating the fish, and constant small bait and location movements has been the fine tuning needed to secure a good bag of fish.


Speaking of the deeper water, customer Tony has been successfully catching some nice whiting in water over 20m deep. Tony was in the store during the week picking up a slightly heavier rod for targeting the whiting in deeper water, and landed a dozen or so in his first session using it. Tony has been catching some super solid whiting in 21m of water while waiting for the snapper bite to liven up. Fishing baits of squid slivers and also pilchard fillet in this depth has seen chunky whiting to 45cm come into the bite in between snapper runs.

 


If you're looking for a good quality gummy shark for the table and the weather plays ball - head offshore from the bays. The offshore gummy fishing has been excellent all winter and continues on, with the wind and swell the only real factors to consider. Heading out from either entrance in Westernport or from The Rip there is acres and acres of quality shark ground to drift or anchor near. If you're heading out from the eastern entrance like customer Steve did, you can head halfway towards Cape Paterson on the right conditions, and catch your bait and gummies out there. Steve fished a bit closer in around Cape Woolamai just recently, where he a couple of gummies to 12kg on baits of freshly caught wrasse and red mullet. Steve managed the fish in about 35m of water.


Out from the western entrance customers Benny and Damien have also been getting into the gummies. The boys fished out from the Seal Rock area in 40m of water and landed 3 nice fish between them. All 3 of the fish were around the 10kg mark and took baits of wrasse and pike caught from the area. There have also been a few snapper floating around these same reef areas as they make their migration into the bays.

 


While not everyone's game, there has been some excellent offshore fishing when a break in the weather opens up. There are numbers of snapper starting to move just offshore from the entrance to both bays, some excellent gummies on offer and still decent numbers of tuna along the West coast. James from Unreel Fishing Charters had a purple patch on the tuna along the West coast earlier this week, with 2 massive fish over the 100kg mark. James and his son both managed a 'barrel' each - with the monsters weighing 110kg and 140kg. There are still some serious inshore tuna out there to had when the wind and swell decide to calm down...


A little bit closer to home around the offshore reef the gummies have still been quality. Customers Johnny and Thao have been outside when conditions allow and have seen some serious gummies punching well above 15kg. There haven't been any 'hotspots' as the boys tried a new area recently and had results. Finding and plotting isolated patches of reef has been the key, with locally sourced baits also a key step. Catching wrasse and parrotfish from the reef is an excellent step in catching a solid sea-going gummy. Baits of squid are excellent for catching fresh bait, as are artificial offerings.


Small flutter-style jigs and soft plastics get eaten within metres of the reef by the wrasse species, but keeping them as  close to the bottom is key. Multi-coloured depth marked braid is excellent for doing this. Generally speaking, the most successful reef zones are outside the main entrance shelves, in the 25 - 30m depth or wider around 40 - 45m. At this depth there is plenty of bait and food for cruising gummies.

 


During bouts of calm weather the offshore gummy fishing has been excellent. The bays have been producing good numbers of gummies for anglers but the offshore fish have been of better quality. Customer Dave and mate Gawaine fished out from Phillip Island recently in slick conditions to land some nice gummy and school sharks. The average fish ofshore at the moment has been around 15kg, with much larger fish to 25kg or so frequently encountered. Dave and Gawaine plotted a small section of reef and after working out the layout they anchored up and started collecting bait. Fresh chunks and fillets of parrotfish and wrasse along with pike did the job on both the gummies and school sharks, so make sure you are adept at catching fish like these fish fresh bait if you venture offshore.


If landbased fishing is easier for you, then gummy fishing can be good. There have been plenty of land based options for these sharks around Westernport in particular. Customer Brendan has been landing gummies table sized gummies to around 7kg from the shore along the eastern side of the port at locations such as Corinella, Tenby Point, Lang Lang and Grantville. The region from Lang Lang through to Reef Island is good for targeting gummies as there are plenty of mudflats for the fish to patrol during the night, and they can be routinely caught if you pay attention to your tides. Brendan has been landing gummies on a variety of baits, with pilchard, pike, trevally and mantis shrimp all working well after dark.