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Ripsnorters in the port
  |  First Published: December 2010



Usually snapper seasons start off slowly, mainly due to the cooler water temperatures but reports are now coming in faster than the tide.

There is no doubt that Corinella was the place to be and although few reports of other fish were scattered around the port, the majority were in the Corinella region.

Gawaine Blake from Think Big Charters had a cracker few weeks fishing this area with some quality fish to 8kg, although that was a great fish there were still plenty ranging 3-5 kg.

I headed out with Gawaine on one occasion fishing right up off Spit Point. We sounded up a good numbers of fish on the bottom and before long we had a triple hook-up with the first set of baits in. With a total tally of 26 snapper caught and released we were pretty chuffed.

Corinella hasn’t really stopped producing solid fish and plenty of anglers have been in on the action. For a change of pace the top end of Western Port was also producing some good fish but nothing like the magnitude of fish that was scattered around Corinella.

Joes Island did produce well, especially for angler Shane. Shane fished the first few hours of the run in tide to catch 10 snapper between 2-5kg. He found the most productive baits to be squid heads, garfish and sauries.

Cranbourne Tackle World staff member Neil Drummond headed out with his good friend Dave Vandenbroek off Joes Island in search of some reds.

The two grumpy old men fished in average conditions but somehow still managed to catch four snapper to 4.5kg. All fish were caught on fresh trevally fillet on the low-tide change.

Still it wasn’t all about snapper. Calamari are still in great numbers, especially in the Cleeland Bight, Reef Island, Cat Bay and Flinders areas.

I ventured down to Cleeland Bight after having not fished the area for a year or so and instantly hooked up to a solid calamari on the first cast. I was fishing in 3m of water under the sand dunes and proceeded to catch a good selection of calamari to 1.5kg on a Yo-Zuri 2.5 Aurie Q RS jig

Paul Worsteling took his family for an outing around the port one glorious day and had a blast catching a wide range of species. At Sandstone Island they caught calamari before moving to Elizabeth Island where they caught gummy sharks and snapper.

December

The fat man is just around the corner and hopefully everybody has put in their order for some new tackle. You’re surely going to need it if you have had a bumper November month on the reds.

December is a good time to start exploring other options in Western Port, most anglers should have caught enough snapper by now. If you haven’t, then the reds are sure to bite well right up until late March. If you are over them and are looking for something else to pursue then it is time to lighten the tackle and look to the weed beds.

King George whiting are now in plague proportions and most popular location to target them is along the middle spit, Tortoise Head bank, Tankerton and Flinders areas.

Offshore fishing will also draw anglers into the big blue for a range of species. Mako sharks aren’t far away and December is a good time to begin the search. If you’re a first timer at this make sure you take along an experienced angler as catching mako sharks can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

What I am most looking forward too is the run of striped tuna that came past last year. These little speeding bullets were great fun on light tackle and if they appear again, I’m sure there will be more anglers heading too to try their luck.

These tuna move very fast so don’t expect to get to close. Often 100m or so is as close as you’ll get whereby trolling small skirted lures in the 3” and 4” length will prevail.

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS

If you are still hung up on snapper, December is a good time to forget about catching them on bait and switch to lure fishing. Soft plastics are very productive and can be used along the north arm and Observation Point area two hours either side of a tide change.

Obviously you will need to sound the fish up first, but when you do cast well ahead of the school, give the lure enough time to reach the bottom and begin to work it back bumping it along the bottom. If you’re looking for almost instant success with lures, try Lucanus Jigs or Duel Salty Rubbers. These are available in heavier weights than a soft plastic and will get down a lot quicker to where the fish are. These lures can be cast and retrieved or just sent to the bottom with the lure hovering 30cm or so off the sea floor. These are extremely deadly and without effort catch fish.

There are so many different styles of fishing to do and so many species to target in Western Port at this time of year, just where do you start. I love to try new things and find new ways to catch fish just to keep the spark in my passion.

Whatever you do, however you catch it I would love to hear about it. If you’d like to report your catch along with any photos you can do so by emailing me at --e-mail address hidden-- or by text message to 0427 693 759.

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