Big red is out of bed
  |  First Published: October 2010

Spring is well and truly upon us, however very wintry weather has prevailed recently, with heavy rain and lots of wind thrown in too. October will no doubt see an improvement.

Although this has made angling opportunities somewhat limited for the most part, some welcome breaks in the weather have provided glimpses of the spring sunshine we have become accustomed to over the past few years.

Current weather patterns may be a nuisance to some anglers with limited opportunities, but the upside to current trends is the rewards that we will experience later in the season.

The influx of fresh water and the churning up of the bay we are currently experiencing will provide a real boost for the bay’s food chain, and all of the species we love to target throughout the warmer months.

Having talked about all the doom and gloom, I have still had plenty of reports pass through my inbox over the past month, and it seems many anglers are making the most of their opportunities.

Of special note are the numbers of quality snapper that have already been taken by many anglers, both on baits and lures.

Snapper fever hits

One particular angler, Michael Sewell contacted me on facebook with the report of a lovely 5.5kg snapper taken from the outer artificial on a fresh squid head. Mick’s fish was taken early morning and he also marked up several other fish as well.

Also, Matt Cini’s new deck hand, Alex, aboard Reel Time charters recently had a huge session, landing several fish including one ripper fish over 7kg.

Typically, snapper will tend to hold closer to structure and reef at this early stage of the year, so like areas are the best to concentrate your efforts. My best advice is to use fresh bait and lots of berley, and try to locate fish and structure on your sounder.

I’ll tell you one thing for sure, I can’t wait for snapper fever to really take hold, and with the newly re-surfaced Patterson River boat ramp completed, I’m even more excited.

Quality pinkies have also kept plenty of anglers busy on the inshore reefs, and in particular the kayak boys have been pulling the kinks out of their lines. As well as the popular reefs in the north of the bay, some of the southern areas can hold good pinkies as well, although at times small fish can be a pest. Best bet is to vary your tactics and techniques and try different reefs. If smaller fish persist, best bet is to move to another location.


Another wonder of the inshore reefs, the humble calamari has been knocked around by the winter weather lately, but some great fishing still continues in the clearer water, especially further south in the bay.

Smaller natural jigs are still the way to go, although some larger specimens to 2kg and beyond have recently been taken on big jigs fished down deep (5m plus) and on baited jigs. This trend should continue as the spring spawning pattern takes over and the larger predatory adults take up station in the shallower reefs. The sight fishing and sport during this time is normally tip top, and I can’t wait to give all my new toys a go.

Land-based anglers have probably had the most opportunity to wet a line over the past month with some ordinary weather, although one of the bays most popular piers, Mornington is currently out of action while repairs are carried out. Hopefully this is finished soon, as I know plenty of the local snapper rats are waiting to steak out their favourite plank once again for a big snapper from the pier.

Bread and butter species

Other ‘bread and butter’ species have also been prevalent from various land-based points along the bay like garfish, whiting and salmon.

Many have been destined for fresh snapper baits later in the year, but there is also still plenty of merit, and sport in getting a good quality feed of fish for minimal cost.

Silver trevally

Another welcome addition has also been some great silver trevally currently in residence at many of the bays piers, which is great news for both lure and bait anglers.

These little scrappers provide great sport on light gear, and will readily accept many offerings. At the moment they seem to be partial to small green soft plastic paddle tails and unweighted baits fished close to structure.

The big reds are not far away, and for some the season has well and truly begun.

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