Marge, the red’s have arrived!
  |  First Published: October 2012

The outlook is certainly bright now that we are into October. There is no doubt that this season is set to be an absolute bumper.

Before I dive into what to expect throughout October, I just want to reflect on the classic catches that made the headlines over the past month:

The tides turned in the Port during the second week of August. It was around this time that a spate of reds got a little hungry devouring a selection of baits in the top end of the Port. While past history had shown that it would be either the Lysaghts or Corinella areas that saw the first fish, my predictions weren’t far off the mark. It was only six snapper but is just the start of good things to come.

Meanwhile, more and more anglers hit the Port at every opportunity but it was the regular catches of gummy sharks that kept lines tight.

The most productive location throughout the end of August and into September was the Balnarring area. This shallow flat had many anglers bounding at the bit to get back out to try their luck again.

Gawaine Blake from Big Time Charters put his clients onto almost countless fish throughout the past few months and with an end tally of 60 gummies caught from 13 trips, you could say that this winter/spring period has been a corker.

While some may see catches of fish this high unnecessary, remember more than half were released. I also had a few trips out with Gawaine for a few R&R session with good results. Still, the more you explore the Port’s murky waters the more virgin ground you’re sure to find.

There have also been a few catches of pinkie snapper that have been caught in the Corinella area, with particular attention to Pelican Island and Snapper Rock. These two rocky reefy areas have been fishing quite well on the run-out tide. Anglers fishing with fresh calamari strips have been catching some good fish to 1.5kg.

Peter McDonald was one of those anglers that caught two pinkies off the back of Pelican Island; a whole pilchard did the job.

One location that see’s very little attention throughout the year is Dickies Bay – San Remo area. While it is known for its regular catches of whiting, the area has been producing some very large garfish of late. These have been in abundance during the run-in tides.

Berley has been an essential part of the process with a float set up the most effective way to catch them. Some of these gars have been in the high 40cm so it will pay to increase the hook to a size 8 long shank.

There have also been some whiting in the area; I expect them to show up in more numbers over the coming weeks.

Reef Island and Coronet Bay have been delivering some decent fish by fishing in close from kayaks. It has been quite consistent and has easy access. There have also been some respectable flathead and calamari over the weed beds.

Although many anglers have got snapper on the brain, the abundance of calamari in the Port is of epic proportions. The larger breeders have arrived and are in very healthy numbers. Those flicking artificial jigs from the Flinders Pier have been doing quite well with many of the larger models falling to silver whiting on a prong. The high tide has been the most productive time to catch them.

Just south of the pier around West Head have produced some of the larger models. Few anglers fish down here but if you want some big squid, this should be the first place to log a few casts. The ideal depth has been around 10m with size 3.5 jigs working well.

Even though Flinders is known as the home of the big squid, Hen and Chickens reefs, Mchaffie and Ventnor are all very productive locations as well. These spots don’t get the numbers of anglers fishing them and the boat traffic is far fewer, meaning the calamari are less likely to be shy. The tide can run quite hard in this area so it will pay to fish two hours either side of a high tide change.


The reds have arrived and in unique fashion. Mid to late August may have produced some very early and hungry fish it wasn’t until mid September that the doors really opened up with good fish being caught right around the Port.

The most consistent areas were the Spit Point – Corinella areas. These seemed to fish very well on the run-out tides as the fish moved up through the system. There was also plenty of fish throughout the Western Entrance with two solid schools of fish located near Buoy 11 and Buoy 2. I have fished both these areas in past years and for some reason, the fish continually school up here before dispersing by early November.

If you are on the look for a red, and by now hundreds of anglers will be, have a look in the Coronet Bay region. On first light during a high tide, some big fish move into the shallows in search of food. Anglers keen on hooking into a big fish should look in this area. Be quiet as these fish will spook very easily.

There are sure to be plenty of outstanding reports that will filter in over the coming weeks and as we head into November, get ready for some full blow snapper mayhem.

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