Snapper now, sharks soon
  |  First Published: December 2007

It’s hard to believe, but last month I received over 300 fishing reports from around Western Port and offshore from Phillip Island. The regular species like snapper, gummies and whiting remain popular, but several other fishy critters have also been encountered.


Last month I fished for snapper with Glen Harvie from Classic Fishing Charters with Vicky, Damion and Donna. In 12m of water, Vick and I boated two 6kg snapper, which were both 76cm long (Vick assures me hers was a little bigger than mine). My fish ate a strip of tuna fillet, and Vick’s took an octopus. Interestingly, the male fish had eaten four large toadfish and subsequently put up a very average fight. Glen says this is common among male snapper, and it tempts me to use live toadies in the future! Damion, who was celebrating his birthday, also landed a lovely snapper of 4.6kg on a squid tentacle that night. It was the biggest snapper Damion had ever caught, and his smile was ear to ear!

Keith Diprose has also had plenty of snapper success off Lysaughts recently. With baited Snapper Snatchers, Keith managed several fish to 6kg. The best results came early in the morning, just before slack water at the top of high tide. On later trips, Keith boated some great whiting in 6m of water along the top of Middle Spit.

Gareth Bull has also been amongst the action, managing to break his self confessed ‘snapper drought’. On a recent trip out from Warneet, he landed a few lovely pinkies of around 1kg on barracouta and pilchard.


My favourite target species, the mighty mako shark, has been a little slow to start this season. Generally, makos follow schools of salmon, squid and barracouta along the coastline with the warm summer currents. I am sure that the action will increase this month as the water temperature gets even warmer, but until then anglers are concentrating on the wonderful bottom fishing that Bass Strait has to offer.

Glen Salter has enjoyed some great trips on his favourite offshore reef patches off Kilcunda. He has bagged gummies, school sharks, snapper and flathead on several occasions, which makes the travel time well worthwhile.

I managed to squeeze in a trip on a windy day in early December with Keith and Vicky. We fished in 6m along the Shoreham coastline for whiting and leatherjackets until the wind dropped. Then we shot offshore in 30m and found lots of big barracouta, gurnard and a nice gummy of around 9kg. Tuna strips, squid and ‘red rockets’ were the best baits.

Red Rockets, Baby occys and super tuna

Red rockets? Now there’s a new one! For some time Paul Worsteling has been chasing these oily little pilchard-like fish that southern bluefin tuna feed heavily on. Convinced that they would be a great snapper and gummy bait, Paul put the Gotcha Bait guys on the job and they managed to find, transport and package the little fellas for us.

We caught plenty of snapper on them during their trial period, and have since released them for sale at Cranbourne Tackle World.

Baby octopus have continued to be a major success on big snapper and gummies this month. Last year we recorded the staggering numbers of XOS gummies that our customers caught between Christmas and Easter, and I was surprised to see how many were full of occy when they were cleaned. Although they are small, don’t underestimate these tough baits as the fish seem to love them.

Many anglers, myself included, rate tuna fillet very highly as a premium bait that works wonders in Western Port. The problem is that tuna is often soft and has been knocked around a lot before anglers get to put it on the hooks. As a keen fisherman I decided it was high time we track down some top quality, tough tuna fillets that would do the trick. It took me a few months, and several hundred phone calls, but we managed to source the best looking tuna fillets I have ever seen.

For all the latest information about fishing Western Port, drop in and see Dan and the staff at Cranbourne Tackle World, 270 South Gippsland Highway, Cranbourne (5996 6500).

Snapper are still going strong in many parts of Western Port.

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