There have been some winter pinkies and school snapper about in the bay for anglers to catch. While many don't fish for them in winter, it can be the best time to chase them, especially with calm sunny conditions. If you're landbased there have good numbers of fish hanging around in the northern region of the bay, with Port Melbourne and Williamstown holding some solid fish. Customer Ryan has been fishing the top end of the bay from the piers and has been catching fish to around 1.5kg. Ryan has done a couple of bait sessions at night but has found the afternoons have been fishing well with plastics. Small minnow and worm pattern plastics in 3 - 4inch have been the standouts, and even deadlier smeared in gel scent if the bite is slow.


The pinkies hanging around the inshore reefs have been touch and go, with a bit of sounding required to locate a patch of fish. When found however the fish have been pretty aggressive towards baits and lures especially late in the day. Customer Bashir and his wife Alexandra have been catching some nice table sized pinkies around Black Rock. Late afternoon has been the most productive time to fish for them, with cut pilchard being the best bait.

Further down in the southern end of the bay customer Petar landed a lovely winter fish of around 2.5kg during the week. Petar has been chasing the gummies around the south channel and surrounding channels, but was pleasantly suprised when he landed a nice red. Fishing baits of freshly caught squid and yakka has been the go for him, and with good quality baits you do have a good shot at catching these fish if they are around.


With some calm winter weather mixed in the offshore gummy fishing continues to be productive. While there haven't been any real 'hot spots' the areas around Cape Schank and Pyramid Rock have been good places to start. There have been two main methods to catching these fish, with both drifting and anchoring popular. Anchoring nearby to an isolated patch of reef and berleying to bring the gummies to you has been one method, while drifting 'wider' has also been a good way to intercept a cruising fish. Customer Jon fished recently out towards the Schank and landed some nice fish to around the 15kg mark. Baits of freshly caught wrasse and parrotfish from the accompanying reef are excellent options when targeting these fish.

 


With milder weather than Melbourne during winter the northern NSW coastline from Coffs Harbour to the border can be an excellent place to holiday - and for the keen angler it is also where a lot of northern and southern species cross over. Southern species like snapper are met with northern species like cobia and various trevally and tuna species so it's a real lucky dip of fish variety. Customer Gary has moved up to this part of the coast and has been enjoying the variety of fish about. His latest catch from a small tidal lagoon was this massive giant trevally or 'GT' of around 30kg taken on a live bait. The huge fish took a live whiting and fought for over 90 minutes, and took over 400m of line from the outfit. Gary managed to land it on only 20lb line, which is a huge feat for a GT - let alone one of these size!


Staff member Chris has also been fishing the northern NSW coastline while on holiday recently. Chris has been fishing the Yamba region and while conditions weren't ideal for offshore runs he still managed a few fish. Chris caught multiple frigate tuna out wide over some reefy ground offshore - with live yakkas being the most productive baits when dropped down deep.


Amongst some of the other offshore species Chris landed were fish like snapper and tuskfish. Chris fished multiple wrecks and patches of reef and found these species hanging around the structure. The venus tuskfish were happy to eat full pilchards while small Yakamito slow jigs were productive on snapper up to 3.5kg. The slow, fluttering action of these jigs works well on reef dwelling species like snapper and is also productive in tidal water here in Victoria.

 


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.

 


There are skeptics out there, but Port Phillip is still producing some good snapper fishing. Some could say it is as good as during October or November, but without the boat traffic. Fish to 5kg aren't a scare occurrence if you're out doing the first light sessions in the south of the bay. Mornington/Mt Martha has still been the better area to concentrate on, but school sized fish and decent pinkies are prolific all throughout the bay around the reef structure. 

James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching some ripper fish during recent charters with clients, with some very nice fish coming over the sides. Pilchard and Whiting have been the best baits. 


The pinkies have been red hot around the shallower reef areas of the bay, and probably as good as they'll be all year with some nice fish to 2kg floating about the mix. Fishing soft plastics and lures and covering ground is the most effective method at finding the better fish, as static bait fishing really relies on waiting until the fish come to you. Customer Ryan has been catching heaps of fish around the 30cm mark on plastics, with a few up around 40cm in the mix also. Ryan has been fishing a few different rig methods with the plastics, with 'sled' heads and snagproof hooks being able to really break down the structure and pick out any likely pockets while not getting hung up.


Staff member Dylan got out on the bay on Saturday afternoon for a quick 2hr session and found plenty of pinkies, with fish to around 1.5kg taking the plastics. Locating isolated bait schools was the most productive method for finding the better sized fish, as the heavy reef held the smaller fish. The larger active fish were hunting the dense patches of anchovies out from the reef, and were more than happy to eat a slow falling plastic. TPR 'tearproof' plastics were the most effective in UV colours fished on around 3g jigheads.

 


The autumn run of snapper and pinkies has been excellent in the bay. There has been fish caught all over the bay from Williamstown to Brighton through to Mordialloc and down to Mount Martha. The smaller school fish to 2kg or so have been prevalent around the inshore reefs but the main run of better fish has been between Mt Eliza and Mount Martha.

Customer Pete caught some lovely fish to around 6kg out wide from Mornington last week. Fishing 21m of water around first light and an early tide change was the go, with pilchard being the gun bait.


Also fishing the same area was customer Rohan. Rohan fished in 22.5m out from Mount Martha and got a couple of fish to 4kg. The first light bite around the tide change again was the productive time, with pilchard again the best bait. There is a huge amount of small frogmouth pilchards in the bay at present so small soft baits can be very productive.  Customer Adam fished with his kids out from Mornington during the week and got into some nice school sized fish. The smaller school fish have been thick in the area but bait changes are a must, keeping fresh baits on the hook at all times.

 


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.

 


Whiting fishing has been steady in the port, and still the mainstay for local anglers. James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been catching some good size fish up the top end of bay, with many of fish around the 40cm mark. Fresh mussel has been an excellent bait along with tenderized squid.Staff member Don has also been catching whiting up around Tyabb. Don and mate Sam fished an afternoon run out tide in 6m of water to land around 20 fish up to 43cm. The average school size fish were in the 36 - 39cm and fell to squid and pipi cocktail baits.


With the onset of Autumn the pinkies and school snapper will pick up in the port. While there have been hoards of smaller fish, there have been some better fish coming from the long reef area (think Lysaughts through to Eagle rock). Working through the undersize fish has been a chore but larger baits and hooks will keep the smallest fish at bay - also hardier baits of yakka and pike will help hang in there until a bigger fish finds it. Depths of 10 - 14m have been better for larger fish, with the deeper water carrying large numbers of small fish. Customer Michael fished with a mate out from Stony point in 10m of water out from the pier to score a nice bag of pan sized fish on pilchard.