Before I begin with what has been happening around Southern Western Port this month I just want to touch on a side of fishing that is well and truly frowned upon.
There has been a significant amount of illegal fishing this snapper season. It is great to see the presence of fisheries officers spread around the state with Port Phillip and Western Port’s boat ramps, prime targets.
One angler I heard of was searched at Warneet Boat Ramp and had three snapper over his bag limit, while another was 15 snapper over. The worst offender that was caught had 105 snapper and lost his boat and was fined $2500 + a further $270 per fish along with a criminal record. Just why do anglers risk this?
We have bag limits; they are not there just for the heck of it but to protect our fishery. The minority who undertake this act of illegal fishing is ruining it for all of us and if you’re reading this and thinking “Oh, big deal”, well it is and at some point it will affect you. If I can just ask every angler that reads this column, if you see any acts of illegal fishing REPORT IT! To do so, call 13FISH.
For those that have been doing the right thing the fishing has been nothing but out of this world.
The reds have really come on the chew in the Coronet Bay region. Matt Wright fished in Coronet Bay to have an epic session managing a 4.5kg and 6kg snapper along with a 10kg gummy shark. All the fish took a pilchard/squid cocktail bait.
Though the Coronet Bay region was shaping up nicely so too were the surrounding areas. Rhyll, Observation Point, Elizabeth Island and Corinella have all been producing fish and good ones at that.
Gawaine Blake from Big Time Charters headed down to The Corals to conduct a charter and on arrival sounded up some solid arches on the bottom. After casting out a selection of baits, Gawaine found that the reds were taking whole pilchard baits. He also noticed a squid type enquiry on one of the rod tips. After rigging a squid prong, they ended up landing a nice bag of calamari as well.
Darrell, one customer of Tackle World Cranbourne had a cracking session while fishing off Rhyll. Kindly sending us the report, Darrell reported that he had his success while fishing the run-out tide. Using a pilchard bait he managed to catch and release a 9.5kg snapper.
Not far from Rhyll and there were plenty of anglers fishing in the deep water off Observation Point. Steve Johnston from Ace Fishing Charters has been fishing in 18m and found the fish spread over a very wide area with every single boat around hooking up. The fish have been up to 4kg with most fish in the 2-3kg bracket. Steve said that the most consistent bait has been the Eden branded pilchards.
The fishing in these areas has been extremely consistent and will continue on well into December. The Corals, a well-known fishing GPS mark is one of the most consistent locations to catch snapper. While this location does hold a lot of fish ranging 1-4kg larger fish are usually found in shallower water. Nearby, Silver Leaves and Coronet Bay are the two locations to search out the larger models.
For those thinking of fishing these areas just remember it is imperative to keep noise levels down and fish when there is less boat traffic.
Now that we are into a new year what a great way to kick it off with a whiting season that’s now in full swing. There still are some snapper about: the North Arm, Rhyll and Coronet Bay regions are still worth a look.
Many angler are looking to the whiting and why not so with the report that have been filtering though already. The most popular locations to be fishing are the Middle Spit with anglers report good bags of fish ranging 32-40cm. If you are after some larger fish tough, don’t be afraid to fish deeper water. Outside the entrance to Hanns Inlet is a good location to fish two hours either side of a tide change while the coastline around the Cowes Boat Ramp is also worth a look.
Berley has been essential to attract the fish and plenty of anglers have been reporting that the Black Magic Whiting Snatcher rig has been producing the goods when matched with Whiting Worm baits.
Two other locations that always produce some thumping whiting are in 5m of water around Reef Island and in 3-5m of water in Cleeland Bight. Reef Island tends to be quite reefy so expect to become snagged on occasion while at Cleeland Bight the bottom is heavily weeded. Land-based angler too can catch whiting from this location.
Though the whiting are in numbers and there are plenty of locations to search them out, the game fishing scene is also about to kick off. Mako sharks, blue sharks and threshers are the top of the list and hopefully this season is better than the last but you’ll never know unless you have a line in the water.
SNAPPER BAG AND SIZE LIMITS:
Minimum legal length:28cm.
Bag limit = 10 (of which no more than 3 fish may be equal to or exceed 40cm in length). Landed whole or as a carcass .
For more information on bag limits refer to the web site: http://dpi.vic.gov.au/fisheries/recreational-fishing/catch-limits-and-closed-seasons/marine-and-estuarine-scale-fish/snapper