Silly Season For Snapper
  |  First Published: June 2011

The settled autumn weather we experienced a month or so ago seems like a fairytale now, as the beginnings of a very crisp feeling winter are starting to take hold.

This change of the seasons seems to get more and more sudden each year. I’m not one for keeping a weather diary, but what I can tell you is one weekend I’m wearing shorts in Gippsland at a bream tournament, and the next I’m freezing my back wheels off fishing for squid in Mornington!

Most of the bays anglers, especially the snapper diehards out there couldn’t give a rats if it’s a little fresh on the water – the snapper are still biting their heads off.

Typically, most educated snapper anglers don’t expect the late run of fish to continue through until winter, but with the seasonal patterns that we have experienced this year, who knows.

The fact remains that larger snapper can still be caught right though the year along most of the eastern shoreline. The current congregation seems to be a result of the majority of the migratory population schooling up and gaining condition before their journey into Bass Strait.

This schooling behaviour has also led to some hectic bite periods, especially around the change of light and tide. Andrew Clark and some fishing mates had a hot recent session on some quality reds between 4-6kg, all taken around the high tide change. Andrew reported that bait selection seemed to make little difference, with all offerings taking fish.

A big thanks to Clarky for sending me some great images to print in this months report.

Another report reached my email from a very excited Pete Benbow who managed to capture his personal best snapper of 6.4kg out from Mornington. Pete was fishing in 19m of water, amongst several other boats.

He was also stoked to land four other quality fish and two gummy sharks to make up the mixed bag.

The bulk of the reports seem to be coming from the wider marks from Mt Martha through to Frankston in depths of 18-20m.

The size and quality of the snapper is most encouraging, as well as their condition, and table qualities. I had some lovely fillets recently, and while I grew up eating snapper, I reckon it was the best I had ever eaten.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that anglers need to keep a close eye on their bag and size limits during hot snapper bites, and don’t be shy to let a few go for someone else to catch.

There seems to be a wide choice of bait, as it is during the summer months, but most anglers are doing well on pilchards and silver whiting out from the wider marks.

Squid strips have also been a popular bait, especially around structure and in the shallower 12-14m marks out from Seaford and Carrum.

An added bonus is the presence of gummy and school sharks, as well as some nice flathead to mix up anglers bags.

Well, if the sensational snapper fishing at the moment does not turn you on, then you might be out west catching tuna.

But for those with their feet planted around the bay, there is still plenty happening. Although the majority of Mornington pier is still inaccessible, most of the popular land-based platforms are producing good numbers of garfish and the occasional whiting during the calmer weather.

When the bay froths up a bit, the salmon tend to bite a lot better, and have been popping up at Frankston and Seaford regularly.

I also spoke to a local young bloke the other day who has been spinning up some jumbo salmon from the mouth of the Patterson River, and the ramp jetty at Oliver Hill during similar conditions.

The squid fishing has been red hot over the past month as well, although it seems the cunning little cephalopods have been making use of key bite times just like the snapper.

Late afternoons have definitely been the best, as well as small dark jigs in brown, purple or black. I have also been trying out a new black leader material from Yamatoyo that seems to be doing the trick; I’ll let you know more about that later.

Don’t be shy to fish the extreme shallow water either, especially on dusk, try slow winding your jig with a high rod tip.

I have been catching squid in less that a foot of water lately, especially during calm evenings.

Hopefully the awesome fishing of the last month continues for some time to come.

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