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 local bluewater scene around the bay and just offshore has been producing both kingfish and bluefin tuna for anglers lucky enough to get out when a weather window allows. The past week or so has seen schools of kingfish turn up in the bays and in particular in the rip, but word has gotten out and there can be a few boats on the fish! Customers Steve, Mick and Jase fished the rip on Sunday and found kingies to around 70cm amongst the boat traffic. Small profile jigs up to 150g got the job done for the boys.

Staff member Dylan also fished the rip on the same day and also got into some decent kings but none of them found the boat. Mechanical and slow pitch jigging got the bites, with leaf style jigs from 100g through to 165g performing best.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has also been putting customers on to both kings and tuna over the past week or so, with the fish being caught no further than Barwon Heads. James has been landing some solid kingfish from both the rip and offshore, with fish to 15kg hitting the deck. Jigs and baits of squid and slimey mackerel have been the best. Just offshore James has been landing tuna to around 20kg on a mixture of skirts and hardbodied lures, with small teaser and daisychain rigs helping to focus the fishes' attention. Most of the tuna have been caught between the 50 - 70m depth line, from Port Phillip heads across to Breamlea and back to Gunnamatta.

 

 

 


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.

 


Many anglers feel that snapper fishing is 'off the table' in Port Phillip, the truth is there are some quality fish still in the bay and they are there to be caught. Fishing the southern end of the bay around the Mornington region is the best bet by far, with water depths of 19 - 20m a very good starting point. These fish generally are best fished for just before first light, with this being the prime bite time. Berleying has been advantageous in getting the fish started, and it is well worth having multiple 'flasher' style rigs down to get the attention of mooching fish into your trail.


Customer Rohan and mate have been fishing out from Mornington over the past week or so and landing some nice fish. Fishing 21m of water straight out from Mornington has been the go, with the fish biting around first light like clockwork. Pillies and squid both took fish to around 4kg.

 


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!

 


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.

 


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.

 


The clear water of both bays has meant that the squid fishing has been good, whether you're shore or boat based. Staff member Dylan has been fishing from the rocks and beaches along the top end of Port Phillip to land squid to around 1kg. In some areas the most productive time has been just after sunset, others have been an hour or so after last light. Jig sizes have varied between locations, with shallow reef flats calling for 2.5's whereas rocky or beach drop offs size 3.0 or 3.5 can be used. It is best to work out your location before selecting jigs as sizes and colours can be very dependent on area.


The southern end of PPB is squid mecca, and while it is also tourist mecca over the January holiday timeframe, there are still excellent to be caught. Customer Izzy fished down the bottom of the peninsula and landed some nice squid, after having a swim to cool off. Staff member Dylan has also fished the same areas and has been finding natural baitfish coloured jigs to be most effective, with near zero results on the standard UV whites, red foils and bright colours. Size 3.5 is generally the go in the area, as even the shallower grounds around the boat moorings are affected by the tidal pull.


Customer Connor has been getting amongst the quality squid down along the southern peninsula also. Connor has been fishing Sorrento and Portsea and has been having sessions with 7 or 8 squid landed on average, up to nearly 40cm hood length. Connor has been finding sunset red/golds have been the most effective for him during times of low light.


Over in Westernport, the squid fishing has been good for those out enjoying it. Flinders pier local Angelo has been catching a few here and there, up to 1kg or so in size. Angelo has been liking 'keimura' UV whites and lumo whites from the Yamashita range, along with shrimp and grass whiting patterns including black/green and red underfoils. Further up the beach customer Adam has caught squid around 35cm hood length on baited jigs during the night. Small silver and grass whiting have been best when under the float, but they must be fished up off the bottom to ensure the thick weed and kelp in the area doesn't snag them up.

 


While it has been an average snapper season weather wise, there is some fishable weather on it's way, with conditions looking good for the weekend and early next week. With the strong onshore winds Port Phillip has copped recently, the calmer weather will give anglers a window to fish. Before the heavy winds and onshore weather customer Travis and son Jax had some nice fish in the boat.


Customers Billy and Johnny fished out in the bay during some weather lulls and caught some nice snapper to around 6kg. The boys found the 16m area out from Mordialloc was the most productive and all fish were caught on Fish Candy pilchards. There have been some nice fish around the Mordialloc region and after the current blow the fish will fire up around the shallow reef in the area.


The Mt Eliza/ Frankston/Mornington area has also been fishing well over the last week or so, when anglers have been able to get out. The main talked about region seems to have been Frankston - Mt Eliza in 16m.Customer Izzy fished out from the Mornington/Mt Eliza region and landed some nice fish to 6kg. Silver whiting have been an excellent bait out in this area.


Customer Steve has also been catching fish not too far away in Mornington and Mt Martha. Steve has been finding quality fish in 16m of water, with fish to 5.3kg coming aboard. Steve has been fishing both strayline and paternoster rigs with fish taken on both. Pilchards fished on straylines have been good, while silver whiting heads have been excellent when fished on paternoster rigs fished just off the bottom. The same style of circle hook paternoster rigs have been good for anglers fishing from the shore. Nearby around Mt Martha rocks the snapper have been caught in close during the big south-westerly blows but caution must be exercised when fishing from these areas during rough weather.


Speaking of land based snapper, there have still been good numbers of fish caught from the stones around the bays and offshore. Customer Cong has landed snapper to 4kg from local rock points and ledges with pilchard being the most consistent bait. Saury and yakka have also been producing the odd fish, with the large fish favouring the harder baits.