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Weak at the knees
  |  First Published: September 2011



September has anglers weak at the knees at the thought of the up and coming snapper season.

If this season is half as good as the last few, we are, again, in for some fantastic fishing! Time to blow the dust off the snapper gear and mince up last year’s soupy yellow pilchards from the bottom of the freezer. Boat service centres are chock-a-block and boat ramps are slowly starting to fill up.

Corio Bay

Adam Pope sends in a picture of Drago Perin who caught 5.3kg of reel burning snapper fishing from the rock wall at St Helens in Geelong. Any land-based snapper is a great effort but one of 5kg is certainly something to talk about!

Other land-based locations around Corio Bay seem to be fishing well. Cunningham Pier has had sporadic runs of trevally while Griffins Gully jetty has produced a few small whiting and flathead. First and last light has been by far the best and bait seems best at the moment.

Snapper anglers keen on an early fish should try Corio Bay outer harbour as it generally takes another few weeks for them to filter in.

Clifton Springs and Portarlington

September can be tough off here. It can be either ‘on’ or a total waste of time. My tip is since it has been a cold winter; the season here will start later.

Calamari should be thick during September over the shallow grass beds and they do make for some top class snapper bait.

Ross Winstanley fished out from Clifton Springs in smooth conditions recently. Ross only managed one whiting for his efforts and knowing Ross, he would have worked hard for that one. Ross decided to drift the shallows near Curlewis hoping to nab a few calamari. A good idea that turned out to be as Ross boated ten! Ross’s bag included 1 over 2kg and 4 others around 1-1.5kg.

St Leonards to Queenscliff

Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire says clients are finding it a bit lean on the whiting side of things. The calamari are the best bet and have been around in good numbers in between Grassy Point and Indented Head Boat ramp but again, move around as sometimes they are in very close to shore.

There has been plenty of flathead caught with the recent wind making them move in close to shore so you can drift before the water deepens from Indented head back towards St Leonards.

Rod says that if the water is clear, drift along the edge of the drop off into deeper water for the best chance at a feed of flatties.

Rod also notes that some clients caught good numbers of garfish last week so bring the berley if you like gars. Queenscliff has a few silver trevally kicking about inside the harbour but they have been fairly hard to tempt.

Soft plastic anglers have managed a couple over 600g. This time of year can see an invasion of calamari inside Port Phillip Heads. Inside the Point Lonsdale Bight can see some true whoppers that can exceed 3kg boated by anglers in the know.

Barwon Heads

This month off Barwon Heads is the time to start looking for those early run snapper. There are a couple of quality rubble beds out in 40m of water that are known producers.

Fish with big sinkers and tough squid baits to avoid the pickers and you may lock drags with snapper around the 5kg mark plus school and gummy sharks.

Torquay and Great Ocean Road

September is a magic time on the Surf Coast. School and gummy sharks make a real go at it and the snapper start to show. It is still beanie weather but quality fishing can be found out around the 40m rubble beds off Torquay and the Surf Coast.

The Surf Coast has been flush with Australian salmon. Anglers casting lures and bait fishing from the beaches and rock platforms along the Great Ocean Road have caught fish up to 3kg and averaging 1.2kg. Mick Allardyce from Wahoo Shoes reports Brendon Morgan fished the local Anglesea beach for some quality salmon to 2kg using surf poppers fished above baited hook.

Mick also notes that most rivers along the Great Ocean Road were open to the ocean making for some very good bream fishing. Mick also said that some of the local Anglesea anglers had caught some bream right up near the mouth of the Anglesea River, which is great news.

Mick thinks that these would be sea run bream as the river is still very quiet further upstream.

Plenty of anglers are turning to lighter 9’ rods and casting lures rather than remaining stationary, hanging onto heavy 12’ setups and using bait. Walking the beach and casting lures with a light backpack covers a lot more water and you can actively find bunched up schooling fish that may not have found your stationary bait otherwise.

Justin Ware fished the Anglesea surf beach recently with his father David. The pair managed a bag of small salmon and mullet up to 28cm using raw chicken for bait. When they arrived home with their catch, Justin’s brother Daniel was keen to come down with them for their next session.

Hitting the beach the following morning around an hour after sunrise, Justin was sending out berley and using chicken as bait again. There was no action for around 10 minutes, so he put his rod in the rod holder and asked his brother to watch it whilst he got some more berley. Just then Daniel screams that he’s on and Justin looked over to see the rod folding and bucking in Daniels arms.

The next minute was frantic with advice for Daniel from all angles as it became obvious this was a serious fish.

The wash then erupted as the big fish came in close and Justin tried to help Dan pull it up the beach. With the fish up and finally on the sand, David frantically got in behind it, and tried to flick it up the beach before the waves wash it back out.

Then the unthinkable happens-the line snaps! The fish sits flapping on the sand just metres from an incoming wave! Justin sprinted down the beach like Usain Bolt, grabbed the fish and flicked it up onto the sand.

Justin says; “it was the biggest beast of a sambo I have ever seen. It lay flapping on the sand while dad was stunned and my brother hysterical.” Justin measured the big salmon at 63cm long and it pulled their scales down to 3.2kg.

Catch a few around Geelong, Bellarine Peninsula or Surf Coast to Lorne recently? Send in a report to --e-mail address hidden-- with “VFM” in the subject field or give me a call on 0408 997348. Please include where (without giving away your secret spot!), when, what on and who caught the fish. Pictures are always great, but please make sure they are at least 1mb (file size).

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