The final month of winter is upon us and we are only a sniff away from the start of spring and the hottest fishing period of the year – snapper season!
With that in mind August is always an exciting month for me. Big squid and salmon rule the roost but preparations for a busy season are in action. Respooling reels, doing a bit of snapper reconnaissance, sounding and bait collecting are always high on my agenda.
It is ironic to talk about the start of the snapper season because in truth it simply never ended this year! It has definitely been one of the better winter snapper fishing seasons that we have seen in a few years.
From Queen’s birthday right through to the beginning of July we saw anglers taking good fish in 20-22m off Mt Martha and deep off Rye. And the best bit is that the size of the winter fish is at least 2kg heavier on average than the fish you will encounter in spring, with most fish between 4-7kg. Local boy Jono, fishing with good mate Clinton Bradey, caught a very memorable fish that went 7.8kg, a fantastic winter effort.
At this time of year make sure you pack plenty of pilchard bait and berley and don’t leave home without a box of Californian squid.
True to their annual form, Aussie salmon have been making a strong appearance at Blairgowrie Marina, which provides for a fantastic land-based alternative to the back beaches. It is particularly good in southerly winds where the back beaches can become difficult to fish. If you feel like picking up a few salmon from the marina I strongly suggest you check-in at the local tackle store and pick up a few soft plastic lures.
For whatever reason, they seem to significantly out-fish metals at this particular destination. Schools have been making regular appearances right throughout the day – you will often see them breaking on the surface before you catch one.
On the back beaches we continue to see plenty of action. It has been a ripper season with good-size fish right throughout winter. Gunnamatta, the stalwart of activity, has seen plenty more anglers trying their hand at surf spinning this year which is great because it is such an effective method of catching salmon.
As a final note on the salmon, my hot tip is to check out Portsea Back Beach during this month as it often produces some of the biggest salmon for the season.
We have had a lot of northerly winds this year, which has meant that bay fishing for squid has at times been limited by an inability to hit the water. Having said that fishing away from the crowds, even in water that is shallower than what you may usually fish, say between 1-2m, has proved effective for squid to 1.5kg. The shallows around the Sorrento Channel have seen some good squid as has the edge of the Rye Channel where the weed breaks up and becomes patchy.
We had some good land-based reports late in June from Flinders Pier, while Portsea on the bay side of the Peninsula has been the hands-down winner. There have also been plenty of cuttlefish around this year – great bait and not too bad on the table if you know how to prepare them!
It’s all upwards from here as we launch into spring and it’s hard not to be thinking about early season snapper. Having said that, the next couple of months is the best time for trophy squid, so keep that in mind as an option.
• For more information feel free to drop in and see the boys at Peninsula Total Tackle, 11 Boneo Road in Rosebud or phone: 03 5981 1994.Reads: 833