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port phillip north & beyond with brenton hodges
Brenton Hodges
Dated: 5 April, 2012
Leon Robbins says bream averaging 34 to 37cm have been keen to intercept a range of lures at Anglesea.

PORT PHILLIP NORTH & BEYOND...5th April 2012...Report #114


Well, it’s great to see the top section of Port Phillip, and indeed many areas of the bay, absolutely firing in the lead up to Easter.

However, despite some terrific weather over the past few days, unfortunately the wind is expected to increase significantly late Friday afternoon, so it may be worth considering a backup plan for the long weekend.

Should conditions be unsuitable for boating, a few hours perched on a pier, may help tide you over until conditions improve.

Many of the land-based platforms across the top section of the bay have also been fishing well for a range of species of late.

Those fishing the metropolitan rivers will be in with a chance of a decent bream, while pinkie Snapper are also on the cards at this time of year, particularly around the full moon phase. Yellow-eye Mullet have been thick within the Maribyrnong River which suggests there may be a Mulloway or two lurking nearby.

Mullet and salmon have also been congregating at the mouth of the Werribee River and there is always a chance of a good bream or flathead in this area.

For anyone holidaying on the Surf Coast, bream have been active in the local estuaries, and it’s great to see the Anglesea River on the improve especially.

Increasing numbers of bream have made a welcome return to Anglesea River. Nick Whelan managed this fine specimen, and quite a few others, casting shallow running lures over the flats.

Fri 6/4 - 2:03pm / 7:46am
Sat 7/4 - 3:15pm / 8:52am
Sun 8/4 - 4:16pm / 9:52am
Mon 9/4 - 5:10pm / 10:46am

Sat 7/4 - Full Moon
Fri 13/4 – Last Quarter

Always be sure to double check the local weather forecast and tide predictions before heading out on the water.

Australia salmon have been ripping their way through bait schools across much of Port Phillip Bay.

Shore-based anglers continue to produce some impressive results with pinkie Snapper, salmon, squid and a few bream still on the go from Beaumaris to Port Melbourne.

Further east, garfish has been in terrific numbers at Frankston. Some anglers have been bagging out easily, particularly those using maggots under a small float. Silverfish has been effective at times, but if you’re looking for some fast paced action, you really can’t go past maggots baited on a very small hook.

Australia salmon have been ripping their way through huge schools of bait across much of Port Phillip. Locally, fish have been spotted busting up at Ricketts Point, Williamstown, Altona and Corio Bay.

Once you’ve caught enough salmon, a sneaky trick is to target the other fish following the schools of bait. Allowing a soft plastic to fall below the salmon can sometimes result in a bonus flathead or Snapper. Snook are never far away and there’s even a chance of a small Gummy Shark, or better still, a Yellowtail Kingfish.

Graeme Bowman managed two salmon on the same lure during a frenzied afternoon boil-up off Ricketts Point. Some of the smaller, but legal size, salmon were turned into flesh baits, which were eagerly intercepted by nice pinkie Snapper and flathead later in the evening.

Mario Saliba took his nephew, Isaac, on his first boat fishing trip and didn’t disappoint. They boys began the session trolling deep divers in 6m of water north of Point Cook, where a double hook up on Snook (short-finned pike) provided an entertaining introduction for young Isaac.

Later in the week, Mario teamed up with his brother in-law, William, in search of squid. Drifting in 2 to 3m of water produced a bag each in relatively quick time. According to Mario, there was plenty of bait being pursued in the area so he decided to do some more trolling.

Hoping for a salmon, they managed two solid flathead and a meter long Snook, which was followed by a keen onlooker all the way to the boat. Interestingly, two squid were also taken on a trolled deep diver!

It seems Colin Kneebone is never far from the action, this week doing well on the flathead at Werribee South yet again. Drifting in less than 4 m of water is the way to go if you’re after a feed, with flatties to 48 cm falling to pipi and fresh flesh baits.
Salmon have been spotted busting up at Ricketts Point, Williamstown, Altona and Corio Bay.

King George Whiting have been a little patchy at times, but there are still a few about with the average size ranging from 34 to 38 centimeters. Berleying with bread and old fish frames has been effective.

Colin also snuck out off Williamstown in his canoe where whiting to 36cm and a bonus 43 pinkie were taken on pipi.

Accompanied by his wife, Vicky, and their 8 year old son, Thomas, Joe Bonnici also did well on the Werribee South flathead. Drifting roughly 3 km out from the ramp, Snapper snatcher rigs baited with squid tentacle produced ten good size flatties to 56cm, the largest of which was taken by Vicky.

Nick Whelan says the whiting have been biting well during the last few hours of either tide in 10 to 12 m of water at Queenscliff. Some cracking flathead of 40 to 60 cm have been taken in just 1 to 4 m of water at Swan Bay and the surrounding area towards St Leonards.

Gummy Sharks are also on the chew with smaller models taken across the local shallows and larger specimens available on the edge of the shipping channel. Amongst the gummies, Nick caught and released a 40 kg seven gill shark last weekend.

A day on the bay for the Bonnici family produced some tasty Werribee South flathead.


Western Port Bay
Matt Cini from Reel Time Charters has been at it again over the past few weeks, putting clients on to some sensational King George Whiting and Gummy Sharks. For those searching for a feed, Matt says the best place to target whiting is the Eastern Channel, south of Hastings, though it may also pay to check out Tortoise Bank.

The average size has been around the 38 to 40 cm mark with fish up to 48 cm a distinct possibility. The best bait, according to Matt, is pipi followed by mussel, amongst a pellet based berley. A tip when fishing for whiting during the full moon phase is to try very early in the morning or late in the evening.

The excellent run of Western Port gummies continues with some beauties snapped up during the week. Target areas for the coming long weekend include, the Hastings side of Middle Spit in 10 m of water and if weather permits, 20 to 25 m of water off Flinders, also known as the Tags area.

Slimy mackerel, yellowtail scad and Silver Trevally have been the baits of choice. Matt says fresh bait can be gathered while fishing for whiting along the Middle Spit or over areas of reef in the deeper water during a change in tide.

Lastly, Coronet Bay and Rhyll Channel have been producing elephant sharks on squid, while Australian Salmon are have been patrolling the western entrance from the fairway buoy through to Flinders.

Phillip Island
Paul McDonnell from BOAB Boat Hire in Williamstown reports, recent client, Justin Barnett, hired a boat and set off to Phillip Island where he managed to subdue a 60 kg shark.

Thanks to his uncle, Mario, young Isaac enjoyed an exciting introduction to boat fishing, snaring a pair of snook on the troll at Point Cook.

Bemm River
Tony Meletis and his father, Jim, fished Bemm River during tough conditions after the recent rain. Plugging away with small hard bodied lures, the boys still found some ripper fish in the murky water.

Ryan Scarborough forwarded a photograph of Jack Randall with a 10 lb Murray River cod taken on a bardi grub after some helpful advice from the boys at Noel Clark’s Tackle Bar

The excellent run of Western Port gummies continues with some beauties snapped up during the week.

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Noel Clark's Tackle Bar
158 Deakin St, Essendon
PH: (03) 9379 4623

Despite tough conditions after the recent rain, Tony Meletis did well on the Bemm River bream.

If you’ve been fishing recently and would like to see your name and a picture of your catch published, please forward reports and images to You’re certainly not obliged to give away your secret spot, but a general description of when, where, the technique and bait used, and who caught the fish would be fantastic. Any information based on the top end of the bay especially, would be much appreciated, but I'm also interested in reports from further afield. Of course, if you have a fishing related question you think I may be able to assist you with, please don't hesitate to ask. Lastly, if you would like to receive a link to this report each week via email, let me know and I’ll add your name to my distribution list.

All the best,

After some advice from the crew at Noel Clark’s Tackle Bar, Jack Randall landed this 10 lb (70 cm) Murray River cod on a bardi grub.
This report is proudly sponsored by:
Noel Clarks Tackle Bar, visit their website for your tackle needs...

BOAB Boat Hire, Williamstown, visit their website to see their range of boats for hire...

Team HONDA MARINE, visit their website for latest offers and news...

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