Port Phillip's autumn snapper bite continues with fish to nearly 8kg being landed by persistent anglers. The fish have been a bit more widespread this autumn, as they were over the spring period but there are enough about to be targeting them. Customer Rohan again fished out from Mornington with mates where they landed some lovely fish to just over 7kg. Fishing the early dawn bite got them their fish - with both pilchard and squid doing the job.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been finding some nice snapper in the bay over the past week or so. James has been concentrating around the Mornington and Mount Martha areas but has also been landing some cracker autumn reds over 6kg from around Black Rock and Brighton. Fishing a bit wider out in 19m or so seems to have been the most consistent ground, although there has been the odd solid fish caught right in close in the 7 - 10m area. Freshly caught squid, pilchard and yakka has all been good but silver whiting cubes and heads fished on 'Reedy's Rigs' have been excellent when left to dangle just above the seabed.

 


The bread and butter fishing around the bay has kept anglers busy with gars, pinkies, bream and whiting all on offer depending on which area you're fishing. Last week customer Nick sent us a report from himself and his young daughter and this week they're out again. Nick and Chantelle had a fish from the pontoons in Mordialloc creek and Chantelle is making catching fish part of her new weekend routine! Chantelle was chuffed to land a few small pinkies from the pontoon, all of which went back to fight another day.


On the bread and butter front, there have been plenty of garfish around the local piers and breakwalls and they are excellent to take the kids out to try their luck on. The fish haven't been restricted to any certain areas and have been caught all over the bay. Some of the better starting points have been Mornington, Seaford, Mordialloc, Beaumaris and Brighton. If you're in the boat many of the shallow sandy coves and bays have been holding good numbers as well.

Customer Pat caught a nice feed of gars in the shallows during the week, with a light berley trail of fine grit powder mixed in with tuna oil getting the fish in close to the boat. Small pieces of banana prawn and squid caught him his bag of fish. Staff member Don has also been catching some gars from the local piers, with Seaford and Frankston being the more productive. Don has been fishing small pieces of banana prawn in his berley trail and on most occasions has managed a goo bag of fish. Adjusting float and bait depth and buoyancy has also been a critical factor.

 


While the focus hasn't been on the gummies or snapper in particular in both bays - there have been a few caught, especially pinkies and snapper. The small pinkies from 20cm to 1.5kg or so are thick especially in Port Phillip, no matter which area you're fishing. While they can be frustrating - there have been plenty of better size fish amongst them. Staff member Dylan got out for a quick arvo fish recently and was kept busy on fish from 20cm to around 45cm on lures. 4'' jerkbait style plastics caught their share but 100 - 120mm hardbodies were the most effective once the wind got up. Trolling these lures around the isolated reef patches around Brighton resulted in more than 50 fish landed, and a handful of 500g kept for the pan.


The larger fish have also been found in the same areas in the top of the bay - but the real hot spot for the next little while is the Mt Eliza - Mt Martha region. Fish like these held by customer Sam from around Mt Eliza will be worth targeting the deeper we get into Autumn. Early morning bites from dawn to around 9am are the norm, with KGW heads deadly when fished on 'dangle' rigs over the boat's side.


Out in Western port there have been some nice snapper caught amongst the smaller pinkies. While the pinkies have been thick through the whiting grounds and grass beds, fishing the 'barren' mud and rubble beds has seen red to over 4kg landed. The main region producing the quality fish has been between Rhyll and Corinella. Customers Tony and Allan have caught fish in the area to nearly 6kg. There have also been quality fish on the reef just outside both entrances, with some super solid gummies providing some quality bycatch at the same time.


While most of the larger gummies have been coming from outside the port, there have been some big fish caught throughout the Western Entrance along the deeper ledges and channel scours. Fishing these areas during the latter part of the ebb tide or start of the flood is generally the more productive time. Customer Izzy has been landing gummies to around 15kg once the sun goes down, with baits of freshly caught yakka, slimey or trevally among the best.

For the land based anglers the weekend's calmer weather should make shore-bashing a bit more enjoyable. Customer Pete has just started chasing gummies from the shore and landed his first fish during the week. Pete was fishing from the shore at Grantville and after missing and losing a few fish he changed rigs and tactics and landed this one on a circle hook baited with fresh mackerel. Fishing water no more than 1m deep in this area is very effective - but it's all very tide dependent!

 


While this season wasn't the greatest for many bay anglers, there are still some decent snapper holding in the bay. Most anglers have hung up the snapper gear for the meanwhile but there are still fish there to catch. The main areas to concentrate your efforts on have been between Frankston and Mt Martha, in depths between 16m and 19m. Outside of this region there have been a few nice fish holding out from St Leonards and Queenscliff. Customer Mario caught some nice fish to 8kg fishing around the Prince George Light out from Portarlington recently. Mario found freshly caught calamari was the best bait and he found the fish in 7m of water.


Young gun Harry went out with on a trip with Reel Time Fishing Charters recently and landed his first snapper. Harry landed the fish on a small chunk of pilchard in 18m of water out from Frankston. The area off Frankston has also been fishing well with snatcher style rigs suspended just off the seabed and baited with chunks of whiting or squid.


Fishing out from Carrum customer Nahin landed a nice snapper recently also. Nahin was fishing with friends Grant, Himel and Chan and they all landed some nice pinkies and flathead along with the decent snapper. The guys were fishing in 18m of water and using pilchard and squid. These fish should come on the bite heavily over the next 5 or so weeks and run right through to mid Autumn.

 


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.

 


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.

 


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.

 


There have been dome snapper, and plenty of pinkies coming into the reports around the bay over the past week or so. While the fish are still scattered and not thick in numbers, they are definitely out there and are being caught. Water temperatures around the bay have been hovering around 12C, and once jump above 13-14 and stay there the fish will come on the bite more frequently. While the top end of the bay from Hobsons Bay through to around Black Rock is the area worth looking in, there has been the odd fish further down the bay.

Customer Ngoc got a surprise fishing in the Patto river last week, with a solid 3.5kg snapper taking his bait up towards the last boat ramp. Ngoc managed to land the fish on light tackle and with a minuscule size 8 C10U hook set up for bream.


Around most of the inshore reef through the top end of the bay there has been stacks of pinkies, with plenty of size fish to around 2kg in the mix. Staff member Dylan has caught a few both on bait while chasing other fish and also on plastics from the shore over the past few weeks. Brighton, St Kilda and Mordialloc piers and the adjacent beaches have been providing fish to around 45cm on plastics when fished in the afternoons. Dylan has found 'weedless' jigs and buoyant plastics to be the most successful over the broken reef.

 

 


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.