Bay runs red
  |  First Published: December 2011

The onset of some warmer weather has really turned on the snapper fishing over the past couple of weeks, with some truly crazy action being reported.

Interestingly, we are still receiving plenty of substantial rain from above so all things are looking good for an extended bumper season ahead.

Water temperatures along the eastern seaboard have begun to rise, and the snapper are definitely more active. As usual tide and light changes are the times when the bite is at its most consistent, so best bet is to focus on these key times of the day.

Remember to play close attention to your sounder as well, as the snapper will still tend to be holding in dense groups, and holding nearby to some sort of structure.

Specifically, the most productive areas have been the 14-15m line out from Carrum, and slightly wider in the 17-18m line out from Frankston, Mount Eliza and all the way down to Mornington.

A range of baits have been productive, and as per usual, most anglers have their preference in bait. The humble old pilchard still seems to account for more snapper than any other bait, but I must say that I prefer to use fresh squid and other local offerings if I can get my hands on them.

Many anglers will devote an hour or two at the start of the session to collect some fresh bait, and this is a great way to go.

The size and quality of the snapper has also been very encouraging with most of the fish being reported in the 2-6kg range. I have also seen some hefty 7kg plus models being landed as well.

Many anglers are choosing to release these bigger breeding females too, which is great to see and will no doubt preserve our great angling resource for many years to come.

Many anglers have also reported some very exciting and hectic action, especially over the last week or so with some silly numbers of fish being landed. Talking to the boys at Fishing Fever over the last couple of days, they have had a few customers reporting 50 plus fish in a session! Fantastic.

It’s worth mentioning that care needs to be taken to release any snapper you are not intending to keep back to the water unharmed.

Even if your fish is gut hooked, you only need to cut your trace line at the fish’s mouth, and they will be fine. Modern chemically sharpened hooks will quickly rust away.

Even more exciting has been the great snapper caught by anglers using soft plastics and light sport fishing tackle. Jordan trusty has kindly provided me with a great sequence of shots showing young angler, Ned landing his first serious snapper on a lure.

Fair to say that the young fella was pretty chuffed with his efforts. Nice work. A big thanks to Jordan, and his fishing mate Harry for the pics.

This month’s column would be incomplete without a mention of the 28th annual Tea Tree festival, which was held over the cup long weekend.

More than 2000 anglers, including over 200 juniors battled it out in both bays for a share in $130,000 worth of prizes.

Mark Sullivan from Tyabb claimed the champion’s trophy with a 10.51kg fish from Western Port.

Jessica Tilley took out the junior section with her 5.9kg snapper from Port Phillip.

The hectic and quality fishing of the past month is only a start of what we all expect for the rest of the summer on the bay.

Makes me think what am I doing typing away on this keyboard. Lets go fishing.

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