Most of the estuaries out in Gippsland are set to fire up if more rain falls between now and Easter. While up until last week all major estuaries from Lakes Entrance and east were closed to the ocean. With water levels high and no clean salty water pushing in the fish can slow off the bite and be harder work to catch. They are still however there to be caught, and that's what will normally separate good anglers from those set in their ways.

Staff member Dylan and mates fished out in some of the estuaries recently and while conditions weren't ideal with wind and heavy rain the fish were certainly there to be caught. Fishing shallow mud and sand flats and finding the main holding areas for the fish was the first key, then working out the more successful lures was the next step. With an abundance of small school prawns and shrimp the surface bite was excellent. Over a day and a half around 60 bream were caught, with another estimated 25 whiting and around 60 flathead. A very small bag of fish was taken home, with some whiting, flathead and luderick keep for a feed.


Among the desirable fish were plenty of big tailor and silver trevally all equally happy to eat the expensive lures. The most successful lures were the Sammy 55, Gunfish, Sugarpen and overreal wake, which all represent small prawns and baitfish panicked on the surface. Retro-fitting these lures with small and sharp stinger hooks increased hookup rates by at least 50%, especially on the bream and whiting. Customer Daniel also fished in a nearby estuary where he landed some nice yellowfin bream from similar shallow sand flats.


Around the Gippsland lakes the bream fishing has been good if you're looking in the right areas. The main 3 rivers are producing some nice fish at present and should start fishing well for the larger fish the deeper we get into autumn. Customer Bashir and mate fished the lower tambo river to land a nice bag of fish on a mixture of baits. The most successful baits for the day were live shrimp and freshwater yabbies fished on number 8 'C10U' fly hooks.


Customer Ian also fished the region recently and found some nice bream floating about in the Nicholson river. Ian found that the best baits by a mile were live freshwater yabbies. If you're using slightly larger than normal yabbies it doesn't hurt to pull the claws off them to give the fish a good chance at hitting them and hooking up.

 


With the onset of Autumn weather the squid and pinkies have well and truly come into action. The larger squid should come into their own around the southern end of the bays with the cooler water temperatures. Customer Angelo fished from Flinders pier during the week to land a couple of solid squid and a cuttlefish on size 3.5 Clicks jigs in colour 17.


The Mornington region has been fishing well for hordes of smaller schooling squid. While the pier itself has been producing lots of squid, the adjacent rocks and points have also been holding large numbers of slightly larger squid. If you're going to fish the pier here small jigs are the go. Size 1.8 has been the most consistent performer here, especially if you rig them up without a sinker. These jigs are designed to sink at a slow rate and precise angle, and usually adding them to a paternoster rig decreases catch rates.

Staff members Don and Dylan have been catching numbers of squid from around the pier and rocks, with 2.5 size jigs working well in the windier conditions, in all variety of colours. Customer Jordan also fished the rocks nearby to land hs 10 squid in short succession on 2.5 size jigs in brighter colours.


The massive schools of pinkies have been biting well around most reefy sections of the bay. The Black Rock area has been holding big numbers of fish to around 40cm. Customer Stephan and mates fished the area during the week and managed a nice mixed bag of pinkies, whiting and squid. The guys fished in about 10m of water, with pilchard and squid the two best baits.


The Autumn run of pinkies are perfect for targeting on soft plastics. With large groups of fish hanging around the structure it normally takes no time to get a bit from them. Smaller plastics in around 2.5 - 3.5 inches are the best starting point, whether curl or paddle tail type. Fishing these plastics on jigheads of 1/8 to 1/4oz will get you down to the fish even in the windiest conditions in the shallows. A big tip if new to this style of fishing is to make sure you are using a hi-vis braided line to pick up on subtle bites as the lure is sinking.


Customer Ryan has been having good sessions on the pinkies on plastics out from Williamstown and Black Rock recently. Ryan has been targeting the schools in around 8m of water along scattered reef and has been fishing a mixture of plastics. Some days the fish have been holding very tight to the reef so he has been using a weedless hook setup to get the lure to them. He has been finding a slow wind a slight 'shake' the best way to entice a bite from the fish .

 


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.

 


Port Phillip has still been producing similar bread and butter species as Westernport,with whiting and gummies the main targets to the south of the bay. Customer Mario and mate fished out from Mt Martha in search of KGW recently and he found a nice bag of fish from 35 - 46cm. Mario found that fresh squid and cuttlefish were the gun baits


Out wide from Mt Martha customer Josh tried his luck on the gummies again. Josh worked his way into the south channel where he picked up 2 nice table sized gummies of about 7kg each. Josh found strips of freshly caught squid were effective, as he couldn't find any salmon for bait. Josh found the top of the tide the most productive time.


While many anglers have been battling to find much in the way of size pinkies, there have been patches of fish to around 1kg about. Customer Ryan fished the inshore reef south of Mornington to take home some nice fish up to 44cm. The larger fish have been hanging in schools away from the smaller fish, so if you find yourself stuck catching undersize a simple move a bit deeper might put you on to some better fish. Larger baits and hooks have been weeding out the small fish, with harder baits like yakka performing well. Soft plastics in 3 - 4 inch have been good at minimizing smaller fish as well, especially if they are a TPR style plastic. Mornington and also Black Rock have been holding some decent fish among the small fish.

 


Port Phillip has still been busy with holiday boaties over the past week, and most of the reports have been bread and butter fishing for pinkies, whiting and squid. The rip has seen some kingfish caught but this week has been a bit patchy. For the persistent anglers some of the pinkies have been reasonable, but you'll have to fish through the smaller ones until a few larger fish come through. Customer Darcy slogged away from the rocks recently in search of a better fish, and managed a nice fish of around 3kg from near Mt Martha. Pilchard was the go for him, and most of the better fish have been taken late into the night.


While the whiting fishing has been patchy around the full moon, there have still been plenty of anglers getting into a few of them. Customers Bashir and Danny have been doing alright on the whiting fishing out from Altona. Fishing the broken ground between 4 - 6m has been the go, with pipi and mussel being the most effective baits.


Most of the whiting have come on the bite before dark, which has been when a bit of the water traffic has slowed down. It pays to have multiple rods rigged and plenty of baits prepped around this time, as the small pinkies have also been ravenous around last light.


The other hots area for the whiting at present has been around Sorrento. Customer Josh fished out from here during the week and found some nice fish over 40cm. The best bait was pipi, but fresh cuttlefish is also very good in this southern section of the bay. Fishing the broken ground wide of the moorings and around the broken patches of the 'south sand' has been effective, especially when fishing in depths of 5 - 7m.


The squid fishing around the bay has been good, without being red hot. Most of the piers and everyday areas have been producing some solid squid, but no real monsters this week. Staff member Dylan has found that red and orange jigs have been super effective this week, moreso than most other colours. Dylan has been fishing the piers between Mornington and Sorrento, with size 3.0 being the most 'universal' size.


Customer Noel fished from the pier at Sorrento during the week where he managed a nice cuttlefish. Noel caught the cuttlefish on a red  foil jig, while conditions were cloudy and overcast. Fishing your jigs very close to the bottom and almost dragging them above the sand is a very good way to land cuttlefish, as they seem to prefer the jig 'hovering' just above the bottom. Fishing this method 'tip run' style is the best way to keep contact with the jig, and be ready to strike or move it from the weed as soon as you feel the drift change.

 


Many anglers have been in search of the whiting in the port, and there have been plenty of fish to go around. There haven't been any real 'hot spots' for these fish as they come and go with the tides, but the region around the middle spit has been one of the more consistent. There have been some nice fish along the banks up past Warneet through Tooradin as well as customer Mark found out. Mark fished with his son Sam and mate Darren to work a nice bag of fish up to 43cm. The guys fished the Tooradin channel and found cocktail baits pipi and squid to be the most effective.


James from Unreel Fishing Charters has been finding some good numbers of fish along the middle spit and around Tortoise head recently, with the average fish around the 37cm mark. Baits of choice have been mussel, pipi, squid and pilchard fillet for the larger fish in the deeper water. James has had plenty of happy customers and has even managed a few thumpers while on charter, with two large fish at 49cm each up against a 34cm fish for reference.


Customer Jason also fished the top end around Warneet to land a nice bag of fish. Jason found the incoming tide got the fish biting and they responded best to mussel and pipi. Some of the larger fish came on the bite towards last light, as the pushed up along the bank to the shallower water. These larger fish really come into their own after dark, throwing caution into the wind and fully buckling the light rods as they hit the baits.


Customer Mario had a whiting fishing again during the week, and caught some nice fish. Mario again tried one of his deep water areas - with productive fishing in 16m of water. Switching between pipi and squid was the go, with a bag of 33 fish coming from the depths. Table sized flathead and pinkies have been common in the deeper water, with some big schools of yakkas and slimey mackerel turning up if you berley hard. 

 


Westernport has become the more popular bay for the fisho's recently, as the attention has swung towards the shallow banks and grass beds in search of King George whiting. There haven't been any real hot spots for the whiting as many anglers will have their own favourite marks and locations, but one thing is for sure - if you're not moving around you won't catch. Moving about between the shallow bank edges and deeper holes and mixing up baits has been the go forf many anglers. Customer Mario has been doing well on the whiting in the port over the past few weeks with lots of mini moves earning the goods.


Mario has been a few different areas of the port but using the same techniques and looking for similar ground. Mario has been consistently finding quality fish along small lumps and flats in 16m of water along the north arm, with pipi and squid cocktail baits normally doing the job. Staff member Don also fished for the whiting before heading off on holidays around the middle spit and Tyabb area, with good bags of school fish to around 40cm coming from around 6m of water. Squid strips and pipi were also the most consistent performers, with size 2 straight worm hooks holding the baits steady in the current.


Amongst the whiting there have been plenty of fish keen to take the baits - which is perfect if you want some fresh baits for gummies and the like. Customer Ryan has been picking up whiting out from Stony Point, along the edge of the grass beds in 7m of water. In with the whiting Ryan has caught squid, pinkies, yakkas, slimies, leatherjacket, salmon and flathead. Plenty of mixed bag fishing to be had, with a small berley trail from the weighted bucket keeping the action happening. Ryan found that the Hayabusa 'spark' rigs were dynamite on all species.


On the bait front, the numbers of slimies and yakkas has been excellent. Some of the slimies have been up to 50cm which will give you a real run on light gear. Small pieces of pilchard or squid have been good to collect some top notch bait, with the main pier structures around Stony and Hastings holding good schools.

Further down at Flinders customer Angelo has been doing well on the yakkas using bait. Angelo has noticed an increase in 'ajiing' around the pier, which is finesse gear fishing for the yakkas and small pier fish on lures. Angelo noticed one particular angler who bagged over 20 yakkas in less than half an hour during the week using this method. Needless to say, Angelo has since purchased some specialised 'aji' style plastics and jigheads to try this method for himself. If you are interested in giving it a go talk to the boys in store, as there is a good selection of finesse rods and tackle to match.


On the gummy front, there has been no shortage of nice fish about. Small table sized fish have been plentiful while fishing the top end and along the deeper whiting patches, with some big females making their presence felt towards the western entrance. Customer Jeff caught a cracker of around 20kg recently from the western channel. Jeff kept the fish as it was tangle in the net it broke, and bleeding badly from the gills but completely stoked on it as a capture. Gummies like this are really on the cards over the next month or so as they come into the port to give birth.


Meanwhile just outside the port the bottom bouncing has been good. While many anglers have been starting to look for kingfish the gummies have been good just out from Flinders bank. Customer Aaron fished just out from here to land a heap a nice table sized shark amongst a heap of flatties to around 1kg. Aaron found squid was the most effective bait for everything.

 


Port Phillip has been producing a bit of mixed bag fishing recently. While the snapper have all but gone quiet, there have been patches of fish around that have been eating. If you were to target them the southern region around Mt Martha has been the area to look around, in depths of 18 - 20m. Customer Simon got out recently after purchasing a new outfit for the bay and christened it nicely with a couple of nice fish at 6.5 and 5.2kg. Simon caught both fish on squid, in 17m off Mt Martha.


There have been some whiting reports floating around the bay, but not as many as Western port. Many anglers don't fish for the whiting as much in the bay but they are there to be caught. Friend of the store Bruce fished with mates out from Queenscliff to land a bag of nice whiting to 41cm. Run out tide was the better time with fresh squid and pipi doing the damage on size 2 long shank hooks. During the whiting fishing some nice squid also found themselves on a 'sleeper' jig behind the boat as they chased the hooked whiting in. The area between here and St Leonards has been more consistent for KGW lately.


There have been whiting caught up the top end by anglers persisting. Customer Bashir and mate fished out from Black Rock to land a nice bag of fish around the reef. Fishing pipi and prawn was the go on these fish, and constantly moving from the schools of pinkies. The area between Black Rock and Brighton has been producing whiting around the shallow broken ground.


The large gummies have showed up in the southern channels of the bay recently for anglers after them. Fishing the south channel has been the go for these larger fish, but many of the neighboring channels have been producing smaller table fish. Customer Josh fished the south channel and Rye channel recently to land a couple of quality gummies. Josh found that salmon and squid were the productive baits for the session.


Around the head and the 'rip' the kingies are starting to show up. While not red hot just yet they are about to go. Customer Damien has been helping out aboard 'Reel Time' Fishing Charters and over the weekend they landed their first solid king for the season at 13kg. The fish was caught in shallow water around the rip and gave some real heat when hooked. This is just a taste of things to come, so the time to get prepared is now!

 


Westernport has seen fewer snapper reports of recent compared to Port Phillip but there have still been some nice fish moving about. The snapper have been found along the 'plateaus' of the North Arm, between Stony Point and Yaringa, and also in reasonable numbers out from Rhyll. Customer Steve caught some nice fish to around 4kg out from Rhyll in 17m of water recently, with fresh squid and salmon working the best. Customer Thao fished the North Arm in search of some snapper and got a nice bag of fish to 4kg on freshly caught squid.


The gummies of the port have been the unsung heroes of late, and while they are always a possibility when fishing Westernport, there have been some nice fish about - with many large breeding females starting to move in. Customer Justin has landed gummies to 16kg during the week fishing around the Western Entrance with chunks of fresh salmon.


Customer Steve has been landing some nice gummies in amongst the snapper out from Rhyll. Steve has found the table sized gummies have been fond of pillies and trevally, and normally coming through and the tide reallys starts picking up. Around the Corinella region customer Mark has had a hard time finding a snapper through the gummies. Mark has been fishing fresh squid in depths of around 6m and has had no shortage picking up gummies in the 5kg size.

Customer Steve has been catching a few nice gummies around the Rhyll area. Some of the gummies Steve has been landing have been up to 15kg, with fresh chunk baits doing the job. Salmon, trevally and wrasse have been effective when fished on BKK 'glow' gummy circle hooks. A few bite offs from larger toothy sharks have been common in the region also, which are normally school shark and bronze whalers.


On the whiting front, things have been good for anglers moving about to stay on top of the fish. Customer Cashir fished with a mate along Tankerton and Tortoise head to land their bag of fish. Staying in the shallows of around 3m of water was the go, with pipi, squid and mussel cocktail baits working well.  Customer Tu fished the middle spit using pipi and strips of fresh squid to land some solid fish to 44cm. Tu found the 6m line was the better ground to stay in, while moving along to keep on top of the school.

 


At present, the snapper bite has been good but has also had some inconsistency over the last week or so. As water temperatures heat up more in about 2 weeks the fish should go off the bite as they spawn. At the moment though they are still being caught. Customer Sylvio has caught fish to 5kg fishing in close from Black Rock. Pilchards have been the best bait for him.


Customers Robbie and Matej have been fishing out from Mornington recently. The guys have been fishing in the 16m area and have been catching snapper to around the 4kg mark. Fishing with multiple baits, the best bite for them has been between 7:30 and 9:00 am. Hard baits have been fishing better, with silver whiting the standout.


Again around the 16m line customer Aaron has landed snapper to 4kg. Aaron has been fishing the Frankston/Mt Eliza region and has been using freshly caught squid to land his fish.


The Frankston area has been fishing quite well over the past week or so, with good numbers of fish holding in water between 15 - 18m. Customer Steve recently caught a few nice fish to 4.5kg out towards 18m. Customer Paul fished 16m off Frankston to land some crackers to around 6.5kg on silver whiting and pilchard, with the morning tide change more productive than dawn.


Friend of the shop Bruce and mates fished the arvo whiting bite at Queenscliff. Some thumping whiting were caught, with the best baits being pipi and squid. The key for these bigger whiting has been to present bigger baits which works best on slightly bigger hooks like Shogun black baitholders in size 2, on a Paternoster style rig.

 


Previous to whiting fishing, Bruce headed just offshore from Queenscliff in search of a kingfish. Large numbers of school snapper have been around and plaguing baits, but there have been some small kingfish caught around the rubble grounds. Fresh squid has been the go if you can get through the snapper. Gawaine Blake also headed out in search of a kingfish around the heads, and he wasn't disappointed with a couple of lovely fish landed. The time has come!