Seemingly gathering momentum each and every week, the snapper season continues to fire across the northwest flank of Port Phillip.
As we move into January, there is some talk amongst the local experts that we could be in for an extended season. In comparison to this time last year, the water temperature is about a month behind, which could mean the reds will continue feeding hard several weeks into the New Year.
Among those to do well in the lead up to Christmas, Geoff Wills managed a cracking 8.3kg Williamstown red on fresh squid. At the time, this was the largest snapper reported from the local region this season. Just days later, however, Pete Mesto emailed through a photograph of his son, Walid, with a 9.3kg beast from Sandringham. Pete’s mate, Karl Houli, also jagged a whopper weighing 9.8kg on the same day!
Other than snapper, King George whiting are expected to fire this month and already there have been some decent captures recorded in the shallows at Williamstown, Point Cook and Werribee South. Fishing from his stealthy canoe, Colin Kneebone seems to have mastered the knack of picking up a feed of whiting year round. His most recent effort produced five good eating size specimens from the inner reefs and weed beds just west of Williamstown Beach.
Flathead are a prime target at this time of year particularly for those drifting flesh baits or casting soft plastics. Some lengthy snook have been on the chew across the western reefs for several weeks now and should provide good sport through summer.
Sports anglers should also keep an eye out for Australian salmon this month with good schools expected to show up at Point Wilson and Point Cook.
Pete Mesto’s success on the snapper to date has been nothing short of sensational. Most of Pete’s fish of late have come from the eastern side of the Yarra River. The stretch from Sandringham through to Black Rock has been particularly productive, especially in depths ranging from 7-12m. While most have fallen to silver whiting, some terrific snapper have also been responding to soft plastics, including 5” and 7” inch Berkley Gulp Jerk Shads. Pete says these fish really fight like bulls on the lighter lure casting gear. As always, a steady stream of berley has been the key to keeping the fish interested and schooled up around the boat.
Pleased to have his depth sounder fixed and working properly again, Dale Le'Toille managed a handful of snapper to 3kg while fishing in 13m of water out from Altona. These fish came in quick succession just after sunrise on pilchard. Aaron Dillion also pulled a few more snapper on soft plastics from the shallow inner reefs at Altona.
Wayne Douthat managed three successful trips on the snapper from as many attempts, bagging out and releasing plenty of others on each occasion. Wayne describes his most recent trip as his best for the season to date with a fish onboard within just a few minutes of setting the anchor. Keeping a few for a feed, more than 20 snapper were caught and released throughout the morning with most falling to silver whiting and pilchards.
Corey Gallagher recorded his best ever snapper on soft plastics session while fishing at Point Wilson. Corey says the sounder lit up like a Christmas tree and within a couple of casts he had secured the first of no less than 12 snapper! Each of these fish measured up between 50-72 cm and of course most were released. Crazy Legs Jerk Shads did all the damage on the snapper and also accounted for some serious Australian salmon. The snapper were schooled up under the salmon so the biggest challenge for the day was trying to get a soft plastic close enough to the bottom to entice a red before a rampaging sambo latched on. At 50 cm plus, the salmon certainly weren’t disappointing, but Corey admits he was a lot happier when the drag started screaming and the distinctive head shakes indicated a snapper had got in first.
Brothers, Aaron and Rhett Hassett, spent a few hours prospecting the outer Corio Bay harbour where Aaron recorded his first snapper for the season. Casting soft plastics across the shallow reefs and spoil grounds produced pinkies to 45cm and snook up to 1m in length.
With so many quality fish available in the bay, the metropolitan rivers can become somewhat neglected at this time of year, but I can assure you there will be plenty of bream on offer this month. Those planning to compete in Round 1 of the 2013 Vic Bream Classic Series will no doubt be finalising preparations before the two week pre-fish ban commences in mid-January.
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