The switch is flicked
  |  First Published: October 2008

It’s as though a switch has been flicked, and the warmer weather we expect for the rest of the year has arrived. Calmer conditions, warmer and longer days are now typical on the south of the Bay, and this trend will continue for the next few months.

Bay anglers are high on the anticipation of the start of the yearly snapper migration and, in October, snapper fever will have well and truly taken hold. Snapper are the lifeblood of Victorian fishing, especially on Port Phillip Bay, and I know that I am looking forward to the silly season just as much as anyone.

So far the early signs for the upcoming snapper run have been very promising, with some great fish being caught. Trev, Lynette and the boys at Launching way have already seen some quality fish, many of around 4kg, which is unusual for this time of year. The word has got around very fast, and there has been a heavy increase in boat traffic, even though it is still early days.

By far the best snapper taken so far this season was weighed in at Patterson River recently, and pulled the scales down to 9.7kg. This is a trophy fish at any time of the year, but it is an awesome capture this early in the season. The big red was taken by local anglers Graham and Steve, and fell victim to fresh, well presented bait fished wide out from Carrum.

Another great sign for this summer’s fishing is the health of the Bay, and the sheer mountain of bait that is available. Smart anglers have been building stocks of baits all winter, preparing for the season ahead. Garfish are still around many areas in the south of the bay in big numbers, and all it takes is a bit of berley to get them going. Most of the popular land-based platforms and piers are as good as place as any to start, as well as most of the sheltered and weedy areas in the south of the Bay. Fresh garfish make prime snapper bait, they are great fun to catch and pretty good tucker too, so now’s a good time to get out there and have a go.

The squid fishing is still top notch as well, which is a great sign for those looking to get some prime snapper baits. I find it hard to feed a snapper that which I love to eat myself – so I compromise and they can have the heads!

From the land, the piers have been producing the best squid fishing, and the further south you go the better it gets. Young angler Travis caught two very healthy squid during a night session at Portsea Pier, with the best being nearly 2kg in weight. The larger specimen was hooked while the first was being played out on the surface, as it tried to attack the same pink jig that the first squid had eaten.

Portsea, Sorrento and Blairgowrie have also still been producing some lovely late run whiting for anglers who are willing to put in the time and fish smart during the right tides and times of day. Local jetty rat Mark Bolger has been giving the whiting a bit of a touch up lately down south, but so far I am yet to see any fillets.

The fishing for pinkies on the inshore reefs has tapered off slightly, and will become less of a feature as the water warms and the larger fish move into the Bay. Early mornings and late evenings are still worth a try, but I would try slightly deeper reefs around 4-8m deep.

The Patterson River has been a bit quiet lately. Some of the more dedicated anglers have also been landing the odd bream, but the bream spinning has been pretty slow as a rule.

Get ready for another season of crazy early morning starts, long queues at the ramp and screaming reels. Let’s hope it continues for plenty of seasons to come.

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