It is now an exciting time of year for Victorian anglers as we head towards the warmer months.
Daylight savings kicks off on October 3, meaning there will be more hours to spend on the water.
Throughout the year I can’t remember a month where there wasn’t a report of a snapper being caught.
Recent times are no different. Amongst the winter species there was still the odd snapper caught.
By the last week of August, snapper reports were flowing in faster than a Western Port current. It seemed if you were on the water you really should have been fishing around Corinella. The first 20lb snapper has already been caught for the season by local Coronet Bay angler Jarrod. Jarrod fished his favourite snapper mark out from Corinella and managed a magnificent 9.3kg snapper, which took fresh calamari bait he caught earlier that day.
While this fish is the pinnacle of snapper fishing in Victoria, Jarrod managed a snapper last season of over 20lb at the same location, boy I’d like that mark.
Also in the same week Kristian Frey managed a nice fish of 6.6kg, also caught around Corinella. Kristian was fishing some large baits, one of which was a whole yellow-eye mullet which was engulfed by the red.
So why are we getting these reports so early? Is the water temperature warmer? Are these resident fish that have been turned on by an increase in barometric pressure? Regardless of your theories, the fish are here and you just have to be on the water when they want to feed.
Scott from A’lure charters recently took a group of land-based clients to the mouth of the creek entrance at Somers. Altogether, Scott’s clients managed 11 salmon casting metal slugs into the wash with the fish ranging from 400-600g.
Not far from the mouth of the creek, staff member Peter Garbs tried his luck but instead of fishing for salmon Pete cast a few baits for some winter whiting. Fishing the flood tide, Pete managed a good selection of King George whiting to a whopping 47cm along with a few grass whiting using pipi baits.
This month should really spark up the snapper reports and as the water temperature increases dramatically I would be concentrating my fishing sessions around Long Reef. Plenty of early season fish are caught here each season and if you are wanting a red, this will be the location to catch one or three.
In saying that, don’t be afraid to head to the corals. This is also a red-hot spot that fires well in October.
With the water temperature climbing, it may also be a good time to go back in search of calamari. October is the month for the big breeders in Port Phillip and the same influx of big calamari begin to infiltrate the Port around Cat Bay and Flinders.
Many anglers head to Flinders, as this is traditionally the location to catch them but don’t underestimate Cat Bay.
The most successful technique to catch the big ones is by using a baited jig but with the new artificial jigs on the market today the calamari better watch out. This is the month to increase the size of the jigs too. While many anglers might use a 2.5 size for the majority of the year for the larger versions it will pay to tie on a 3.5 or even a 4.0. Bigger jigs will get down in deeper water and with a force of the current you’ll want the extra weight to get to the strike zone.
Land-based anglers can also get there fix by fishing from the Flinders pier during the night. You’ll want a high tide for best results, as the larger calamari will move in closer. While artificial jigs will work well, it pays to set out a baited jig while casting an artificial around.
If you want to escape the crowds another suggestion for land -based calamari is Cleeland Bight on Phillip Island and Ventnor Beach. Both locations fish well on a high tide at night with a baited jig.
For those wanting some weekend fun for the kids, garfish will keep them entertained. These can be caught by setting a surface berley trail of pollard and tuna oil placed into a floating berley bucket. This can be attached to a short rope and left to float away from the pier. Then you can set a pencil float with a short dropper of about 30cm containing a size 12 Mustad 4540 ½ long shank.
These hooks are deadly on gars and work much better than your standard size 12 hooks, being half the gauge. Anglers fishing from the Cowes Pier can do very well around two hours either side of a tide change, but I would choose Stony Point pier at its end during the last two hours of the run out. Day or night, it won’t matter as long as you have the berley to attract them.
We are always looking for another way to catch fish and I guess this comes with wanting to experiment. Sure catching fish on bait is fun, but sometimes you need another way to re-excite the passion. Although snapper love soft baits, they are also a fan of lures.
A good way to get the feel for lure fishing for snapper is to use a Snapper Snatcher.
Although you can place a bait on them, you can also just cast them from the boat and work them back as if they are a soft plastic. In saying that, you might want to thread on a plastic to the hooks. A heavy sinker will allow you to fish it in the current in which other lures may not make it to the bottom.
Shimano Lucanus jigs or Duel Salty Baits are another alternative. Last season we did very well using these in the Rhyll/Corinella region around a tide change. We rubbed some scent on the jigs to increase the strike rate and came up trumps on some very good table fish.
While there was nothing of size to get excited about, only time put in working these jigs will tell. I know this will be a high priority for me and by staying tuned into the next few months reports, you may see some exciting results.
If you have any reports you’d like to send in from Western Port, you can email to --e-mail address hidden-- or by phone with photo and relevant information such as angler name, type of fish, location and bait/lure used to 0427 693 759Reads: 3262