We are being invaded! They are big, red, and the odd one has a huge bulging nose and a big bump on its head. They terrorise our local baitfish supplies and us Victorians completely lose our minds over them!
It’s snapper season, and for many of us, it’s more exciting than Christmas!
James Parrish had a ripper little session on the top end of Western Port. He started at Joes Island with a quality 5kg snapper and then snuck around to the mouth of the Tooradin Channel for the run-out tide and picked up another couple of quality fish.
Gawaine Blake from Big Time Charters has also been giving the top end of the port a good working over and has been finding fish east of Joes Island. His secret to success is the new cuttlefish baits from Gotcha Bait along with fresh calamari.
Pete Ferguson has basically called the whole top end of Western Port home recently and after hearing about some of the fish he’s been getting I can completely understand why!
Pete has seen regular catches of snapper over 5kg with the odd 6-8kg gummy thrown in. Salmon and ‘couta fillets have been the baits of choice.
Local fishing legends T-Dogg and Stinga have been annoying the hell out of the snapper population but also focusing their attentions on the early season King George whiting and schools of salmon that have been daring anglers to hang up the 5/0s and tie on a #6 long shank and a pipi.
Lysaghts has been the place to be over the last month and the waters there have seen more boats than most boat yards in recent weeks! The snapper have been thick and the whiting have certainly started to call the shallow banks home.
Regular customer of Tackleworld Cranbourne, Mike, has been sitting in 17-18m of water off Lysaghts and polling in snapper at the top of the tide. Dave Wilson took his mate James Tanner out for a fish and James found himself connected to a beautiful 1.5m gummy shark which took a fresh bit of squid on a Black Magic Snapper Snatcher.
Along with the tonnes of snapper being caught at the moment the old King George whiting have been finding their way into a few anglers live wells over the last month.
Now is the time to be getting up onto the banks of the middle spit or finding yourself a good sand patch on the Tyabb bank and soaking a pipi for these tasty critters.
A little secret to tempting the bigger whiting is to, believe it or not, put the pipis away. Find an exposed bank on any low tide and pump yourself some bass yabbies or lace your baits with a nice strip of fresh calamari or cuttlefish to help tempt the bigger specimens.
This may well go a long way in helping you land that iconic 1kg whiting that a lot of anglers dream of catching.
With a lot of anglers getting tired of soaking a bait for snapper there is a couple of things you can do to bring back the excitement of snapper fishing before the whiting start to lure us onto the banks.
Soft plastics and lures are something that have been extremely successful over the last few seasons and I can guarantee it to be some of the most exciting fishing you can experience in the port. Load yourself up with a 4-8kg graphite rod and a 4000 size reel spooled with 20lb braid and you are set to throw some plastic at a hungry red.
Choose plastics in that 5-7” range and match them to a 3/8oz to 3/4oz jig head depending on the tide. Just remember, as long as your plastic is working off the bottom, it’s within the snapper strike zone.
With Christmas just around the corner and more snapper being caught than kids Santa has to visit, I like to remind everyone to stick to the bag limits and respect this world class fishery. Victorian Fisheries officers have been out in full force, and doing a great job, but with a few reports of people losing their boats for keeping way too many fish and undersized ones, it’s a reminder to us all to be careful and only take what we need for the table.
On that note, everyone have a safe and merry Christmas and I look forward to seeing you all in the new year.Reads: 2115