Surf or snapper?
  |  First Published: August 2008

With Melbourne’s wild winds gusting to over 30 knots recently, many anglers have found it difficult to wet a line. Between the storm fronts there have been some calmer periods, and it seems as though the surf beaches have received the most attention.

Kilcunda Beach has fished well during a rising tide. Most salmon have been between 600g-1kg. Early mornings have provided the most action, with the fish going off the bite about an hour after the high tide change.

Smiths Beach is also fishing well. The salmon there have been around the same size, with the odd better fish to 1.8kg. Salted pilchards and squid strips are among the better baits as they are tough and resist the dreaded sand crabs. If you find that crabs or small fish are picking your baits to pieces, try using a product called Bait Mate. It is a cheap but effective elastic thread that can be used to quickly bind your soft baits to the hook. I wouldn’t fish the surf without it.

The beaches of Cat Bay, Somers and Merricks are also worth a look if targeting gummies after dark. This is by far my favourite form of surf fishing. A good gummy caught off the beach is a real buzz. Simply pick a flood tide that peaks after dark and preferably before midnight. I find these tides the most productive.

The average surf gummy is between 4-6 kg during the summer months, but winter provides a better class of fish between 6-12 kg. All the more reason to brave the cold!

Use strip baits of fresh salmon and mullet if you catch them on the night. Better yet, buy some tuna fillet and salt it down in gummy sized strips. This can be done in advance, as it keeps indefinitely in coarse rock salt. It is one of the most effective baits as it becomes very tough and oily. In fact my neighbour Vince and mate Tim grabbed a few of my salted tuna strips and headed to Shallow Inlet recently. They caught two nice gummies of 6kg and 8kg.


Tortoise Head has been fishing well for whiting. Kevin Reid and Keith Thomas found a good bag of fish between 38-42cm. They fished a high tide change using squid, shucked mussel and pipi.

Alan Patterson and John from Grantville also found some whiting during the first week of July. The fish were around 32-38cm and were taken from the Newhaven area.


Who ever said snapper were a summer fish? I can’t believe the amount of big snapper that continue to be caught during these cooler months. Corinella is the place to try, with several reds being caught by anglers chasing gummies. Dennis Kimbal was amongst those to bag a winter red. He managed a lovely snapper of 6.9kg on a squid strip in 10m of water.

Tackle World staff member Scott Harper and mate Paul Coulton also deserves a mention here too. While not actually a Western Port capture, Scott landed a 5.8kg snapper from the Outer Artificial Reef in Port Phillip Bay in early July. The lovely fish was spotted on the sounder just minutes before it ate a half pilchard.

For all the latest info on fishing in Western Port, drop in and see Dan at the staff at Cranbourne Tackle World, 270 South Gippsland Highway, Cranbourne (5996 6500).

There have been big snapper caught in both Western Port and Port Phillip during the cooler months. This one came from the Outer Artificial Reef in Port Phillip Bay and was caught by Scott Harper from Cranbourne Tackle World. It weighed 5.8kg.

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