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.

 


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!

 


Land based options around the bay have been good over the past week or so, with garfish and whiting providing some good fun and better eating. Rye through to Brighton has been excellent for the gars, with the hot spots Mornington, Frankston and Seaford. There have been some larger gars about but most have been from 15 - 30cm. Staff member Dylan has been catching them from Seaford and also Sandringham, with maggots being the best bait. Constant depth adjustment and fresh baits was the key to landing a few. As usual fine grit berley is needed to get he fish going and keep them firing while you're catching them.


Staff member Don has been catching some gars from Frankston pier during the week. Don has found small pieces of prawn have been working well, with the main tip being constant adjustment of float and bait depth. The gars have been hanging around Frankston pier during slight winds - with any wind over 15 or so knots bringing the salmon in and scaring the gars off.


The whiting fishing around the bay has been good for the land based angler - all be it that most of the fish are caught around or after dark. There have been fish caught all over the bay from Brighton all the way down to Portsea. Any area of scattered reef around sand has is worth a look, with some satellite maps your best friend. Customer Adam has been catching whiting to 44cm from the shore around Black Rock, with the isolated reef patches producing fish after dark. Staff member Dylan has also been catching fish to 40cm from the shore from Sandringham and Frankston. Baits of pipi, mussel, banana prawn and squid have all been good when fished on the sand around the reef. Most of the fish seem to be more active well after dusk, especially around the top of the tide.

 


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.

 


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.

 


Squid reports have been pretty good from most of the piers locally lately, even though some locations have a bit of dirty water flowing in. The Mornington Peninsula as always is the best bet for consistency - whether you're fishing off the rocks or one of the piers.


Port Phillip has still been fishing ok, as staff member Dylan found out over the weekend. Fishing dirty water not far from the city amongst other anglers Dylan caught 3 nice squid in under half an hour and then left before another rain band came through. Size 2.5 jigs were the best performers with Yamashita's newer 'Live search 490 glow' models proving very effective compared to other anglers offerings nearby. Customer Lilong also fished the Sandringham area for squid along with Sorrento for a good bag. Lilong found that Yamashitas were the most productive, in both Aussie limited colours and also PyonPyon search models. Among the decent squid a couple of cuttlefish were also caught which was a bonus.


Staff member Don has been fishing the peninsula with both Mornington and Stony Point the favoured locations. Don has been averaging a couple every session with most around half a kilo. Size 2.5 and 3.5 jigs have both been used depending on current, with red foil and natural brown/green patterns working well. Customer Angelo has been down at Flinders recently fishing the afternoons and catching some nice squid. The squid recently haven't been as big as Flinders standards but still quality, around kilo. Size 3.5 Clicks and Owner jigs have been doing the damage in a variety of colours.

 

 


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.

 


There has been a fair bit of action happening on the land based fishing front. All along the shoreline of the bay there has been activity from a few different options. Squid and salmon have been plentiful and the landbased pinkies and snapper have been good.

Customer Brett took his young fisher mate Walter down to the local piers on the peninsula where some big salmon had been spotted. Casting small metal lures around the current lines and drop offs resulted in some super fat salmon hitting the deck of the pier. Some of the locals were even getting belted on large squid jigs, so the competition between fish is fierce. Keep an eye out for the bait schools if you are fishing the piers, as large numbers of pilchards and small anchovies are in the bay at the moment, as these fish are gorging themselves on them.


The peninsula around Mornington and Frankston has been producing some super-sized squid over the past few weeks, which have been much bigger than usual. Size 2.5 jigs and small squid are the norm in the area, but at the minute there are plenty about that area a kilogram or bigger, and size 3.5 jigs have been the go. Staff member Don fished Mornington pier during the week to land some of the bigger squid, using bigger jigs. Staff member Dylan also caught some similar sized squid in the area over the weekend, with size 3.5 jigs in UV lemon and pilchard patterns getting the job done.


On the land based snapper front, there hasn't really been a standout spot - moreso if you have a location that has produced for you it is worth fishing at the moment, especially with some strong wind forecast over the weekend. Customer and APL local ninja Cipto fished from a couple of the piers around Black Rock during the week to land a ripper school fish just before dark on bluebait. 


While normally an early season location, customer Frank has been catching snapper from the rocks on Phillip Island. Frank has been catching fish to over 70cm on pilchard on the surf gear, with some solid fish getting back in to the reef. If you are fishing the local rocks just be mindful of the swell and tide conditions, and fish heavy mono instead of braid if you can. Mono will give you a bit more resilience around the rocks and a some more shock absorption during those final headshakes and lunges.


From the local Port Phillip piers there have been some varied size snapper caught. There have been some large fish caught, with customer Peter reporting fish to 5kg from Mordi pier. These fish are not uncommon and it is just a matter of persistence and picking the conditions for them. Customer Connor also caught some nice pan sized fish from Mornington pier. Connor has been out early braving the wind and rain to catch his fish, which have taken bluebait. One thing's for sure, you won't catch fish like these sitting at home!


The school snapper have even been hanging around some of the piers in the southern end of the bay. While not normally a common catch from the piers around the Rye and Rosebud area, customer Eisa reports of some nice table sized fish from Dromana pier. Fishing with pilchard and slimey mackerel Eisa caught 5 nice fish to 46cm and a good flathead. The first few hours of night were the most productive during the incoming tide.

 


If there was ever a season to be making the most of the salmon around the beaches and inshore land based spots then this year has been it. The salmon have been unstoppable this winter and by normal accounts should stay strong until the water temperature starts warming up - so around the start of October or so. While there are still days when conditions aren't favourable and the fishing is hard work, the fish have been cooperating more often than not.


Speaking of unfavourable conditions the wind recently has been typical of late winter winds, constantly strong but also with a fair bit of north to it. Northerly winds make beach fishing somewhat easier, generally better than anything with south in it, so although the forecast might be strong there's still enough fishing to be had.

Customer Mark has been down at Venus Bay making the most of the salmon run, with more fish to around 2kg caught on lures over the weekend. While strong winds have meant constant gutter and bar movement, the fish are still around and hungry. Customer Dimitri got down to Gunnamatta beach and got into some nice fish on bluebait and surf poppers over the weekend also.


Speaking of Gunnamatta, it has been the best performing local beach with most anglers getting into good numbers of salmon. Staff member Don spent an afternoon on the beach last week armed with a light and long spin rod and some Yakamito 'Angry bait' metals to land some nice salmon to around 900g. Constantly moving along the beach in search of holding gutters and small pockets of fish was the key, as when one was caught there were generally a lot more around.

Members of the Keysborough Angling Club fished Gunnamatta last weekend for their surf competition with 9 anglers fishing the beach. Overall 25 salmon were caught, which was good considering the rough conditions and strong winds present. The largest fish caught was just over 1.5kg which is excellent fun on any gear - so even if the conditions are less than ideal there are still plenty of salmon to be caught.


For the bayside angler, the rough conditions have meant that there have been plenty of salmon about along the shore of the bay. Areas to try of late have been around Sandringham, Mordialloc, Patterson rivermouth, Frankston and Mornington. Further south Mt Martha, Blairgowrie and Sorrento have all been worth fishing depending on how far you want to drive. The fish have been somewhat larger further south, with some well over 2kg coming from piers like Sorrento. Lure fishing for these landbased salmon is the go as the schools are constantly on the move in search of baitfish. If you're unsure of which lures to try on light gear for long landbased-casting come in and talk to the team, as there are quite a few options.

 

 

 


Many land based anglers have been making the most of the pinkies lately with no shortage of excellent eating size fish about. Just about any pier, beach or rockwall along the eastern side of the bay with some reef nearby is worth having a look at, especially after a few days of strong westerly winds. Customer Steve has been getting a few around the traps with fish to 45cm pretty common place, and ideal for the plate!


Customer Kien has been making the most of the large numbers of pinkies that have been about over the winter. Kien has been fishing Victoria Harbour or the 'Docklands' for his fish, with many fish around 40cm landed and some larger up to 2.5kg. The most effective bait has been the humble pilchard, fished on a running rig. Heavier leader has been useful when fishing the harbour as there are many barnacle encrusted posts and objects for the fish to break off against.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been having some fun on the school sized pinkies out in the bay. James has found the numbers of nice table fish to be very good, with plenty of happy customers taking home a feed of fish. Most of the larger fish have been found out from the reef a bit further, as the big schools normally hold tight to the reef for cover. Having a quality sounder to locate the small patches of fish is vital, and once found smaller baits of pilchard and squid on 2/0 sized hooks have been deadly.

While it may not seem it yet, snapper season is just around the corner. There have already been some scattered reports of solid fish around towards the southern end of the bay. Most of the southern land based spots - Mornington Pier, Mt Martha Rocks will be worth fishing from now on - especially for a 'trophy' fish. Regardless the fish aren't far away, so it's the time to get your gear organized for the season.