Many years ago I heard a saying that if it is a very wet spring then the snapper season will be promising.
I couldn’t agree more with this statement, as although many will say the last few seasons were sensational however they weren’t as wet as this year. In saying that, when was the last time you heard of quality bag limits of snapper being caught in September?
Snapper are on the chew and despite the often ugly weather, it hasn’t deterred keen anglers from having a crack.
Jason and Steve tried their luck in the upper reaches of the Port around Joe’s Island to seek out some snapper. Fishing with small baits they managed to snag a nice 3.2kg red on a half pilchard.
Kane Overton also pushed the boundaries, hitting the water in cold conditions to land a 4kg snapper around Crawfish Rock before getting a great bag of whiting from the Middle Spit.
It seems the torrents of fresh water flowing didn’t put the fish off.
While the reds are there for the taking, many anglers still had their focus set on the huge population of calamari that has infiltrated the Port.
Casey Mason from Think Big Charters found success on the calamari at Flinders. Casey took a group of clients in search of the larger models and came up trumps. After drifting over the weed beds with size 3.0 jigs they managed their bag with some models just nudging 3kg.
Calamari of this size are highly sought but few ever get to actually land one. For those wanting to lock horns with one, Flinders is the place from both pier and boat, but you’d want to target them this month as by the end of November they will be all but gone.
If you can pry yourself away from the reds for even just a few hours to go and target them, you should be well rewarded.
I also headed out to catch a few with both Gawaine and Casey but instead of heading to Flinders, decided to try a location we hadn’t fished in a very long time. Cleeland Bight, just below San Remo is a Mecca for calamari and relatively unfished.
After a short 2-hour session we had a great bag ranging 1-1.5kg with Yo-Zuri Aurie Q RS jigs in the 3.0 size proving irresistible.
Prior to heading to Cleeland, we did soak a bait for an early season red off Corinella without success fishing the flood tide. In saying that, we did manage some great gummy sharks and little schoolies to around the 4kg mark.
Gummy sharks, although the focus will be off them now, are still plentiful especially in the Corinella region. These are also a possibility for land-based anglers.
Matt Stewart hit the sandy beach at Stockyard Point to snare a 4 and 5kg gummy shark keeping just one for the table. The fishing from here will really hot up this month and reds are a possibility. Last year, a 12kg snapper was caught from Stockyard on a whole mullet so don’t be afraid to fish some bigger baits.
Well, the big man is just around the corner and while the snapper are heading into spawning mode things will begin to slow down at the end of December.
Of course, there will still be a great concentration of fish in the Rhyll area, mostly around Silver Leaves in around 13m of water. These fish will hold until early Jan before making their way into the Western Entrance and into the ocean.
December is also a great time to search for other species. Sure many anglers will still be addicted to catching snapper, but gummy shark, school shark, whiting and the elusive mulloway are a great option while offshore the mako, blue and bronze whalers sharks will be rounding up bait schools.
The offshore fishing will hot up with schools of snapper on the inshore reefs and as I like to do, go for a flathead bash on the Flinders Bank and catch a few reds as a by-catch. In saying that, there is also an abundance of silver whiting on the bank should you want a selection of fresh baits for snapper if you’re still targeting them.
While there are many different techniques that one can do when fishing for a particular species, why not start exploring.
Although Western Port is heavily affected by tidal influence and some anglers find it hard to fish the bottom there are plenty of mid-water species available.
Trolling lures in Western Port is a very effective technique that is rarely undertaken by anglers. Locations such as the Tortoise Head Bank, Reef Island and Mchaffies Reef are all worthy locations for trolling deep diving lures.
Species caught are barracouta, pike, snook and salmon and providing you’re in shallow enough, say 5m or less: you could pick up a pinkie snapper also.
Trolling can be very relaxing and is a great way to gather fresh baits or if you eat the above species, a great way to catch a feed of fresh fish for the table.
Ideal lures for this trolling are divers that reach depths of 2m plus and are 100mm or so in length. Models such as the Yo-Zuri Sashimi minnow and Crystal Minnow along with Sebile’s Koolie Minnow 90 or 102 are deadly for this style of fishing.
Until, then 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: 3370