Snapper season has come alive across the northwest of Port Phillip with some great catches recorded from both the inner reefs and out wider.
The lead up to the full moon has been the prime time, particularly for those pitching soft plastics with snapper and plenty of smaller pinkies taken in relatively shallow water. Some impressive fish have also been recorded on more traditional methods out wider and the action is expected to continue over the coming month.
Aside from snapper, King George whiting should provide inshore anglers with some alternatives over the summer period, particularly in 3-6m of water from Point Cook through to Werribee South. Flathead are a prime target in the warmer shallows, while snook also become a common by-catch for those prospecting the inshore reefs with lures and soft plastics.
Squid have been patchy to date, but the onset of warmer weather should see greater numbers return to the weed fringed western shoreline. Schools of Australian salmon have been thick throughout the southern end of the bay for much of the year and it will only be a matter of time before they move further north.
Garfish are expected to continue to provide inshore options with the breakwall west of Williamstown Beach and Altona Pier being the pick for land-based anglers.
By this stage, the resident bream should have completed their spawning cycle and be on the lookout for a feed. Traditional live baits were out-fishing lures during much of spring, but this will change as the water clarity improves and the surface temperature increases leading into summer.
Ben and James Laverty enjoyed a good start to their snapper season with a few early morning reds off Williamstown. Setting out a berley trail and a spread of baits including pilchards and garfish along the 17m line resulted in some timid takes, but the action increased on the change of tide.
Moving in to 15m of water produced a few more snapper to 60cm, with some smaller snapper taken on soft plastics in the shallows.
A tide change in warm, humid conditions resulted in Mick Fava’s season opening 7kg snapper. According to Mick, the 88cm specimen was taken on a silver whiting in 14m of water off Altona and it went like a rocket. While it was the only fish caught for the day, Mick says it was bigger than any of the snapper he encountered last year.
After anchoring close to the P2 marker and berleying with cubed pilchards, Jim Meletis hooked a respectable red on a soft plastic and followed up shortly afterwards with another of similar proportions.
Both fish were taken on Berkley Gulp Jerk Shads in the Blue Neon Pepper colour pattern, rigged on a 1/4oz jig-head.
Andrew Geradi caught his season opening snapper while fishing off Altona. Despite berleying heavily over fish spotted on the sounder out wide, bites were not forthcoming, but a move closer to shore resulted in some action. With darkness approaching, Andrew managed a few small snapper on soft plastics and silver whiting. A week later, Andrew shot across to Black Rock where he caught snapper to 2.5kg in 12m of water.
Around at Point Cook, small snapper to 3kg are just starting to move on the inshore reefs. Most anglers have been returning to the ramp at Werribee South with at least a feed of flatties, while a few whiting are also starting to turn up at Point Wilson and Avalon.
Mario Saliba and his son, Cameron, found reasonable numbers of flathead feeding in 5-8m of water. Casting single tailed grubs rigged on 3/8oz jig-heads for just a few hours after sunrise resulted in eight flathead to 40cm during each of their last two trips. They’ve also managed a handful of squid within relatively close proximity to the flathead.
Kevin Warwick and his son, Thomas, landed eight snapper to 4.5kg and a surprise elephantfish during their first trip for the season. Kevin’s workmates were also amongst the action with rods buckling almost simultaneously on the low tide change. All fish were caught on whole pilchards in 10m of water between Werribee South and Portarlington.
John and Joey Regali made a return visit to Docklands recently where bream to 36cm were taken on mussels. Despite the discoloured water, small vibration style lures and soft plastics have been productive, particularly when fished a little deeper in the water column. Frozen prawns have also accounted for a few silver trevally at times.
Ryan Scarborough from Noel Clarks Tackle Bar says that bream have been active in the Maribyrnong River with fish to 40cm taken on freshwater yabbies, scrub worms and bread. Casting small soft plastics, surface lures and diving minnows along the rocky shoreline will become a more viable option throughout summer.
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