Snapper chaos in full swing as boat ramps clog
  |  First Published: December 2012

The commencement of daylight savings time and the true onset of some warmer weather has changed the dynamics of the bays boat ramps, and has also seriously adjusted the priorities of many of the bay’s anglers.

The snapper bug bites all true blue Victorian anglers at this time of year, even if they’ve grown up with it for most of their life, like me.

By the time this December issue of VFM is in your hands, the yearly chaos of Port Phillip’s snapper fishing will be in full swing. At the time of writing, the consistency and catch rates of many recreational anglers has improved dramatically, as the water temperatures are beginning to rise and the snapper become more active through longer periods of the tide and day.

The charter operators in the bay are a great indicator of the snapper activity, and Matt Cini from Reel Time Fishing, has been getting amongst some quality reds since as early as August. Matt reports that the snapper have still been biting best around the change of light and tide, and have been responding well to a wide variety of baits.

However, pilchards have been the most reliable offering, and with the snapper responding well to a cube trail of berley, this choice of bait makes good sense.

Specifically, the peak of the snapper action is still concentrated around the deeper marks from 16-21m right along the eastern shoreline of the bay. In our neck of the woods, the most productive areas have been Frankston, Mount Eliza and Mornington. The wider marks out from Carrum and Seaford have also been producing very well indeed. For the most part, the bulk of the snapper taken have been from 2-4kg with enough bigger specimens up to 6-7kg thrown in to keep anglers very keen, and keeping a close eye on the their rods.

I should point out that it’s still worthwhile to sound around to find concentrations of feeding fish, and also to be prepared to move locations to find hungry snapper. Even if you are marking up some fish, they may not be as active as another school nearby. Also, as I said before, a steady berley trail of small pilchard cubes is the way to go at the moment, especially around peak feeding times like at first and last light, and also on the change of tide.

Of great interest to me was the report I received only a few days ago of some bigger fish already being taken in the shallower water on bigger baits of sauries and ‘couta heads. These bigger grazing fish will become more prevalent and common over the next couple of months and will also be on the menu for lure anglers casting and trolling their offerings from smaller boats and kayaks. At this time most of these reports have been coming from Carrum and Seaford areas.

Plenty of pinkies have also been about, particularly out from Mornington, and while these can be a bit of a pest, they are a great indication of the health of the bay and the regeneration of the species in the bay. A change in location is recommended when the squeakers turn up, and care needs to be taken to return undersized fish back to the water unharmed. Also, be sure to pay close attention to size and bag limits.

It’s hard not to bang on about how great out snapper fishing is at this time of year, and as always it’s very encouraging to see some nice reds being caught by land-based anglers, especially from Mornington and even Seaford piers recently. As the summer weather rolls in, and the water temperatures really begin to climb, expect the inshore reef fishing for calamari and flathead to improve, and also the predatory presence of pike, salmon and even kingfish to increase.

With plenty of options on the bay, I reckon it’s time to go fishing. See you on the water.

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