November is arguably the most anticipated month on the angling calendar. The days are getting longer and the weather is improving, but more importantly, the snapper often seem hungrier than at any other stage.
In years gone by, the Melbourne Cup weekend was used to mark the start of the traditional snapper season, but already there have been some impressive catches recorded in the west.
Few fish in the country attract as much attention, enthusiasm and hype as the snapper of Port Phillip.
Early in the season fish were coming in ones in twos, but once November rolls around, they will be well and truly hunting in groups and competing with one another for a feed. Looking back to this time last year, many anglers were bagging out in less than an hour, with some going on to catch and release up to 30 fish in a session.
In an effort to avoid the weekend crowds, others were launching midweek, reaching their quota by sunrise and then heading off to work!
Jack Kotas headed out off Altona where he managed whopping 8kg snapper and two smaller fish around the 1.5kg mark to kick off the season. All fish were taken on pilchards just prior to sunrise. Jack also mentioned that he located some great looking arches on the sounder, but despite berleying hard with cubed pilchards, the fish were reluctant to bite once the sun was up.
Sadik Cagdas also got off to a dashing start with a 3kg red taken close to P2, followed by another of similar weight out on the spoil ground. Both these fish were taken on silver whiting. After moving back to P2 and rigging up a whole garfish, Sadik was rewarded with a magnificent 7kg snapper to round out his first trip for the season.
After locating schools of snapper holding in mid-water off Altona in late winter and early spring, Andre Lindsey from Melbourne Fishing Charters suggests that southeast of P2 marker is the hot spot at the moment with fish schooling over broken ground in 12-18m of water. Whole pilchards have accounted for most of his client’s fish to date.
More recently, Peter Mesto bagged out on 4-6kg snapper, and released more than half a dozen others, while fishing in 14m of water off Williamstown. All fish were taken either side of the late afternoon low tide change on fresh garfish.
Ben Laverty ventured out off Williamstown to fish the afternoon high tide change, but since it was pretty busy on the inshore reef, he shot across to Altona instead. Returning without troubling the scorers, he set up a drift in just 3-4m of water off the back of the footy ground where 1kg pinkie snapper where gathering in numbers. According to Ben, it was action aplenty for an hour prior to sunset with the fish keen to intercept worm pattern soft plastics.
It’s been a similar story over at Altona where plenty of small snapper averaging 30-45cm have been taken on the inshore reef on soft plastics. Trolling diving minnows behind pedal powered kayaks has accounted for a few fish. Michael Felsovary from Hooked on Bait and Tackle reports that a few snapper to 2kg have been taken from the Pier St jetty at night. Garfish have also been also been prevalent in this area with silverfish, maggots and small pieces of squid accounting for most fish.
Squid have been active along the western shores over the past month with bag limit catches gradually becoming more achievable for those fishing either side of the Point Cook Marine Park. According to Michael Felsovary, white and olive pattern jigs have been the standouts of late. Pinkie snapper, flathead and snook are also expected to fire on the inshore reefs over the coming month.
Ryan Scarborough from Noel Clarks Tackle Bar reports that the water clarity in the Maribyrnong River has improved markedly over the past month, although the resident bream seem to be shut down or perhaps holding well upriver. Casting lures has been a hit and miss affair, although reasonably consistent catches have come to those fishing with live Bass yabbies in and around the lake at Edgewater.
The Werribee River continues to produce good numbers of bream and yellow-eye mullet. Further upriver, redfin have been on the prowl further with fish to 40cm taken both above and below the Diversion Weir. Brad Hodges mentioned that casting Berkley T-Tail Minnows in the Black/Gold Sparkle colour pattern around the reed beds and drowned timber has been productive.
Longer days and warmer weather should bring about some success as the snapper seasons hits top gear this month and I'm keen to hear about your fishing adventures. If you would like to see your name and/or photograph published, please forward reports and images to --e-mail address hidden-- . You’re certainly not obliged to give away your secret spot, but a general description of when, where, the technique and bait used, and who caught the fish would be fantastic. Of course, if you have a fishing related question you think I may be able to assist you with, please don't hesitate to ask.Reads: 4509