Rig up for snapper
  |  First Published: October 2008

It has certainly been a cold winter this year and as much as I have complained about it, I’ve still braved the conditions to seek out Western Port’s winter options. I must say that although noticing very quiet boat ramps and little boat traffic on the water, the fishing has been noticeably better than average.

Gummy sharks are still being reported, but not of the quality that we saw this time last year. Still, this didn’t stop Jeremy Swallow who fished Tortoise Head Bank in 10m of water on a late winter weekend to catch a nice gummy shark of 1.2m. The fish took a whole pilchard rigged on a Gummy Gotcha rig.

Jeremy then headed out again to back up his success, and caught three gummies in one session. The largest fish measured over 1m and was again caught on a Gummy Gotcha.

Snapper have also been reported. Paul Serdzeff fished out from Hastings on the last of the run-out tide. He managed a nice 3.5kg snapper that also took a whole pilchard bait.

Sensational catches of whiting have also been reported, especially in the Cat Bay region and on Tortoise Head Bank. Anglers flocked to this location early in the month to catch bag limits of whiting. Most of the fish were 32-38cm and were caught on a range of baits.

Despite some uncomfortable weather conditions, land-based fishing has also been producing the goods. Gawaine Blake from Think Big Fishing Charters took his two daughters Asher and Poppy down to Stony Point Pier one afternoon. They fished from the side of the jetty and caught some big garfish to 54cm. A float setup was the key to catching the gars as they were feeding higher in the water column.

Even the surf fishing around Western Port and Bass Beaches has been extremely productive for those in search of Australian salmon. Kilcunda Surf Beach has produced some magnificent fish of 1.5-2kg. Peter Nixon fished Kilcunda for 12 salmon on the rising tide. Bluebait and a chartreuse surf popper were the keys to his success.


Snapper, snapper and even more snapper. Hopefully that what we’ll have plenty of over the next month. Before we know it, reports of snapper will dominate nearly every saltwater fishing report and for those needing to do some maintenance on reels, boats and trailers…your time is quickly running out. Reel manufacturers, boat servicing departments and trailer repair factories are being inundated with anglers getting in early to make sure they have a successful snapper season.


You can become as technical as you like when snapper fishing but I am one for keeping it as simple as possible.

When fishing for snapper in Port Phillip Bay, use a running sinker rig tied from 30lb Nitlon Fluorocarbon leader. Place a size 1 Owner crane swivel to one end of the leader and two Owner SSW Suicide hooks on the other, snelled together. The sinker can run on the mainline above the swivel. Total leader length is m.

For Western Port, use a running sinker rig tied from 60lb tough trace. Place an Ezy-rig on your mainline, then tie on a size 1 Owner crane swivel. Attach a 1m length of 60lb tough trace to the swivel and a size 6/0 circle hook to the other.

No matter whether you catch a beauty or just a feed for the table, feel free to drop me an email.

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