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.

 


Winter time is known as time to chase mulloway by many local anglers around Victoria. The fact that is these fish are chased by 'crazy' keen diehards during the coldest of winter nights all along the coast of NSW right up to the Gold Coast or so. Customer Hendrik gets up to the South West rocks region of northern NSW regularly enough to have had a good taste of what these fish are like up here. Fishing the area this week while on holiday he landed a ripper fish of 1.23m. The fish weighed 30+ lb and took a small 'mullet' sized soft plastic. The soft plastic style was a split tail minnow, which can be worked very erratically to perfectly imitate a panicked mullet.


On the subject of panicked mullet, customer Edly caught a nice bag of dusky flathead while on holiday recently. Edly was holidaying in Brisbane and caught some nice table sized fish in the Brisbane river and in the port. Edly trolled some small mullet profile hardbodies in the 80mm size range along the mudflat edges to find where the fish were sitting, and once a few were found it was a matter of honing in and fishing slower with plastics. Shad shaped plastics in the same size as the mullet were the most effective and snapped up as soon as they touched down on the bottom. While this action happened interstate not enough make the most of similar bread and butter fishing locally.

 

 


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.

 

There's been some fishing news for the freshwater anglers recently, with some big fish stockings done by the Victorian Fisheries Authority. On the fishing front the western lakes have been producing quality trout for those keen enough to brave the cold, with Lake Wendouree the standout. Fishing surface lures or hardbodies just under the film is a good way to illicit a savage strike from an angry trout as they chase smelt around. Customer Grant fished Lake Tullaroop last week in search of some of the lakes large redfin and he wasn't disappointed. Grant landed some very nice fish on small 'bream' style jerkbaits and plastics fished around isolated pockets of weed. These western lakes have been producing some nice redfin for the lure anglers and now is the time to be chasing them.


Just recently Victorian Fisheries opened a new fishery close to Melbourne. Ferntree Gully quarry was never a secret, but only even had unofficial species in it. Just recently it had a dozen murray cod and golden perch stocked into it, along with over 300 trout! There have been some decent sized put in as well, with staff members Chris and George going up to the lake for a look. While they were there they saw some large trout in the 5 - 6lb size cruising, along with 2 of the cod. Just prior to school holidays it was topped up with yearling rainbows for the kids to catch. Powerbait and dough methods have been working on these fish, with quite a few hitting small spoons, hardbodies and soft plastics also. The natives should respond to bladed jigs and lipless crankbaits fished deep, and the lake will also lend itself perfectly for swimbaiting for the cod. 


Back in the states' west, Victorian Fisheries have been busy in the crater lakes, with a recent trout stocking. Lake Purrumbete received 1600 'cheetah' trout for the first time ever just this week. The cheetah trout is a sterile hybrid between both rainbow trout and brook trout and just another addition to the already booming trout fishery in the west of the state. While these recently stocked were only in the advanced yearling size they should respond to coarse and dough style fishing similar to that of other stocked lakes like Eildon pondage.

 

The tuna fishing has still been going well along the states West, especially out from Portland. There have been plenty of school fish from 40m right out to beyond the 'horse shoe' and across the shelf. Customer Gem sent us a photo from a Portland trip just recently where a good brace of school tuna were caught on trolled hardbodies. Over the past week or so there has been reports of schools of whitebait around, which normally turns the fish more selective. If you're planning a trip during the next bout of calm weather make sure you pack some of your smallest skirts and offerings to cover all bases.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been making the most of the tuna season down along the west coast also, with excellent numbers of fish being caught between Port Fairy and Portland. James has been focusing on getting fish for customers and says that there is no shortage of school fish about. James has been finding a few different lure options have been working, from 'medium' sized skirts right down to tiny salmon sized skirts and hardbodies. Colour-wise many options have been worth trolling, with lumo, redbait, pilchard, saury and red squid patterns all good starting points.

 


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.

 


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.

 


The west coast continues to produce tuna for the anglers out in search. While there has been no shortage of school fish there also has been a good number of 'barrels' about to keep the keen hunters keen. Customer Jason fished with mates recently and was involved in the capture of a barrel in the 150kg range out from Portland. Even though these big fish are normally actively hunting schools of redbait and pilchards, this fish had an undersized pinkie in it's stomach. Bright pink and red skirts have subsequently been productive out from Portland lately.


Customer Damien also headed down to Portland with mates in search of some more school fish, which he caught easily. While many anglers are venturing out towards the 'horseshoe' out along the shelf in search of these fish, there have been plenty in mush closer. Starting your search in around 50m has been good, and also puts you in with the chances of a 'barrel' - as they as normally frequently found in this 50 - 70m depth line. A mixture of lures did the job on fish to 12kg, with JB micro dingos and Bluewater classics the standouts. Colour variations between lumo, pilchard, bright pink and almost all others in between all did the job.


Customer Rocky came past the shop to grab some last minute lures suggestions and terminal gear before hitting the fish off Portland. Rocky and mates got stuck into the school fish with most weighing around 12 - 15kg. Trolling small skirts in the 4 - 6 inch range has been been the most productive, with a mix of dark and light colours going well. Rapala's new XRAP Extreme also caught fish as it can run truer at a more 'enticing' speed for the tuna.

 

 


The salmon numbers have been increasing over the past weeks, both on the beaches and also in the bay from the piers and rocks. Nearly all of the beaches have been performing well with the average size of the fish around 1kg. Customer Mark has been catching some nice fish out on Venus Bay beach number 1 on both bait and lure.


Customer Mario has also caught some ripper salmon on the beaches lately. Mario fished the surf around Lakes Tyers and found the gutters holding some really solid fish. Mario found bluebait the most effective with fish to over 2kg happily eating full sized baits. The run in tide was the most productive time, especially with low light around dawn giving the fish some cover to feed.


Members of the Keysborough Angling Club fished the beaches from Kilcunda to Williamsons just recently, with over 60 fish landed by anglers. The average size of the salmon were around 900g each, with customer Norm landing the biggest fish at 2.5kg. Bluebait and salted pilchards were the most effective bait, with a few fish taken on surf poppers in various colours and also on plastics. Fishing the popper/plastic combo on the bottom hook keeps the sand crabs away from the baits and if you are using the TPR 'bungy baits' the crabs can't even tear your plastic up!


Staff member Don has fished the surf during the week and caught salmon to just under 1.5kg. Don has fished Gunnamatta and has found good numbers of fish moving along the beach, from gutter to gutter. As usual berley has been the difference between catching 1 fish or holding the school around to catch a lot more. Pellet berley layered with freeze dried pilchard is the way to go, especially if made before time and let to soak with some extra oil.

Don found the salmon most happy to eat half bluebait, with double headers on twin hook paternoster rigs not uncommon. Spinning with 40g and 60g slugs was also very productive around the edge of the gutters, especially when the swell started pumping. Fishing the metal lures with corded assist hooks was the best way of keeping the fish hooked up.

 


The trout fishing has ramped up, right down to the wire with the looming season close. While there are only a few days left for the stream trout fishing around the state, there are still plenty of options to provide your fishing fix. The Eildon pondage has been fishing well for mostly brown trout over the past week with cooler conditions and some less rampant water flow. Customer Graziano fished the pondage recently to land a nice solid brown of around 3lb on lure. Graziano was fishing a spoon style lure fitted with rear assist hooks and it did the job.


While not really representative of our local trout fishing, customer Jason has just returned from an NZ trip chasing the super-sized trout in the hydro canals. Jason managed some lovely fish with both browns and rainbows in the mix to well over the 10lb mark. There are a few methods that successfully fool these large fish, but on this occasion the lure of larger soft plastic swimbaits was deadly. Jason found the Megabass magdraft in 5 and 6 inch sizes very effective on these large aggressive trout. Working the lures back slwoly along the canal edges resulted in the bites, with most natural trout parr or minnow colour patterns working well.


Speaking of NZ, it seems there are more and more anglers venturing over to chase the mega trout every year. Customers John, Niroj and Goran have all been over before and caught these fish but are currently over in the land of the long white cloud again chasing that 'mega' trout.


The guys have been fishing the hydro canals around the Twizel region and so far have caught fish to just under 19lb. While most of the fish this trip have been large rainbows there have been some smaller browns in the mix also, with fish of 6 - 7lb average 'small' fish.


A mixture of techniques have been working on these fish, with soft plastics and hardbodies very effective when working close to the bottom. The bulk of the fish however have been caught using a 'spawn run' egg technique that uses a variety of trout egg or 'globug' pattern flies, fished tight to the bottom. These flies are fished with splitshot and a trailing nymph pattern to entice a strike from the bigger 'lazy' fish. This technique also works well in our local rivers, especially at present as the fish start to ramp up their spawning movements.