Snapper City
  |  First Published: December 2011

It is certainly all about snapper once again and the reds are well and truly on the chew.

The past few weeks have been nothing but sensational with Gawaine Blake from Big Time Charters putting his clients onto many memorable catches from right around the Port with a focus on the Corinella area.

Many anglers have also got in on the action with some fish as big as 7kg falling to a wide selection of baits.

Good mate and fisho, Matt Cato and his friend Patto fished in the Corinella region to land their first snapper of the season. The boys plucked a 6.2kg fish from a hungry school and managed another two fish that weighted 3.5kg and 3kg. Matt mentioned that the fish were a little finicky on the bite.

The Western Entrance has proved to be the location to set anchor with a variety of fish on offer. Snapper and gummy sharks were the main target but for those fishing close to shore along the Phillip Island coast found whiting and calamari happy to take baits.

McHaffies Reef has been producing some good whiting as Phillip Lancaster found out. Phillip anchored near a sand hole in 5m of water to catch 13 whiting ranging 32-39cm. He found that a constant berley trail brought the fish in. He also caught silver trevally, salmon and a nice snook.

Out in the deep though, the reds have been in good numbers. The prime time to be fishing for them has been the ebb tide with particular attention payed to the tide change.

Andrew Burdette fished the Western entrance and landed a beautiful table sized gummy of 8.5kg on a trevally fillet.

There has also been some good-sized calamari still about for those that don’t have snapper on the brain. Tankerton and Stony Point both have good concentrations of calamari and should continue to do so right throughout the snapper season.

Anglers fishing over the weed beds have most success using both artificial jigs and baits. Jason Marlstone sent me an email to report his catch while fishing one Sunday afternoon. Jason was fishing in the Tankerton area drifting over the weed beds. After catching his bag of calamari he said that the Harimitsu 3.0 AR colour jig was the secret to his success on the day.


This season has shaped up to be an absolute cracker with good reports coming in from throughout the Port. No doubt that hundreds of anglers are trying their luck but knowing where to go can be a challenge.

For those looking for a location to head to don’t discount the Corinella region just because last month it began to slow. The fish here will come back on the bite; it is just a matter of fishing a tide change to maximise success. Tenby Point channel entrance is also a good location. There is a sizeable reef that holds good numbers of fish right throughout the season.

If you’re looking for a big fish though, try to escape the crowds and find your own location in shallow water. My pick is in the Coronet Bay area in 5m of water and around Reef Island. There are also plenty of small school sharks around here. If you get a few bite off’s it is most likely the schoolies, so you should use 80lb trace as a minimum.

Reef Island is a great location to fish because of its diversity of species. Snapper, gummy sharks, school sharks, flathead, whiting, calamari and garfish can all be caught.

For your best success, set a berley trail and fish for the species you want. This means using the right hooks and leader strength for that species to have a better chance at catching them.

My suggestion is to have a few rods rigged for the different species and fish for them all at the same time. This might sound confusing but it works.

Silver Leaves and the Western Entrance both produce good fish at this time of year but both locations are more productive around 2 hours either side of a tide change. This allows you to use a lesser amount of lead to get your baits to the bottom and the fish can move around more easily.

When fishing these areas the fish will respond to a variety of baits but I find calamari, pilchards and tuna fillets are more effective.


With the reds on the chew, now is the time to experiment with lures. Sure bait fishing is great fun but snapper go twice as hard on a lure in my view. When it comes to lures, we all know just how effective soft plastics are but Lucanus jigs also work extremely well. If you do want to experiment with lures try a 100g Lucanus. This can be hung over the side, sent to the bottom and wound up one or two turns of the reels handle. As the boat rocks, the lure will move and pulsate attracting fish. If it’s soft plastics you’ve chosen then it is imperative you use the right jig head. For a softie to be successful it must be on the bottom. Ideally, a jig head weighing 1/2oz or 3/8oz is perfect along with a hook size of 3/0 or 4/0.

My top plastics are Squidgies 110mm pillie flickbait, DOA 5.5” watermelon seed jerk bait and Gulp 5” electric chicken jerk bait.

Whatever your preference, bait or lure, this month is sure to please.

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