Plenty of snapper, but other species surge too
  |  First Published: December 2012

Reports of snapper are now coming thick and fast across the top end of Port Phillip.

Many of the inner reefs east of the Yarra River at Ricketts Point, Sandringham and Port Melbourne, right through to Williamstown and Altona in the west, have been highly productive. Similarly, the fishing out wider has been equally impressive and the hot action is expected to continue well into December, before gradually tapering as the fish prepare to spawn.


Peter Mesto has been doing really well on the snapper with fish averaging 2-6kg taken during most outings. His best session to date occurred in very rough conditions, just 200m or so out from Altona pier, where the snapper went absolutely nuts. According to Pete, it was difficult to keep baits in the water with three anglers each achieving their bag in a short period of time. The hottest bite came just prior to sunset on silver whiting and sauries.

A few days later, another large school lit up Pete’s sounder screen between Williamstown Beach and the Football Ground. After setting the anchor and berleying frantically for 15 minutes, or thereabouts, it wasn’t long before the rods started buckling over. Most of these fish averaged 2-4kg, which certainly gave a good account of themselves in the shallows. More recently, Pete has been concentrating his efforts further east with much of the action occurring in the shallows between Port Melbourne and Sandringham. Pete says most of these fish have been of a really good size, including a few 6-7kg specimens taken in just 3m of water!

A little further east, Darren Ryan fished along the 10m line at Ricketts Point over consecutive mornings for a total of five snapper between 2.1-4. These fish were taken on squid heads and pilchards, though the pickers regularly made short work of the softer pillies.

Back on the western reefs, Aaron Dillon and Ryan McSeveny launched from Altona and headed straight out to about 10m of water to soak a few baits in the lead up to high water. After the first hour of light failed to produce any interest, the boys changed tact, opting to flick plastic on the reefs between Altona and Williamstown. This proved to be a good move with Aaron hooking a respectable red on a Gulp Jerk Shad, amongst a few smaller pinkies and flathead.

Fishing in 10m of water off Altona, Daniel Mizzi found the snapper to be in good numbers. Daniel says he and a couple of mates bagged out during the early morning tide change with a few fish pushing the 90cm mark. Interestingly, these fish were reluctant to hit whole pilchards, but as soon as the head was removed, it was game on!

After hanging up the paddle for a short period over winter, Colin Kneebone launched his canoe west of Williamstown Beach where he managed a handful of King George whiting to 36cm on pipi. A few small pinkies and juvenile Australian salmon were also taken on pilchard.


Juvenile Australian salmon have been congregating around most forms of structure downstream from the Bolte Bridge with good numbers venturing up into the sheltered confines of Victoria Harbour. While most are less than 30cm in length, they can still be good fun on light gear. Larger predators are certain to be eyeing off these bite-sized morsels, which is bound to have the mulloway experts licking their lips over the coming months.


Some big pre-spawn bream have been responding to baits of scrub worms and freshwater yabbies along the middle reaches of the Maribyrnong River. Fish to 40cm were taken during mid to late spring, though they have been a little slow at times. As the water temperature continues to rise in the lead up to summer, expect the resident bream to start moving up onto the edges where small hard-bodied lures and lightly weighted soft plastics will come into their own.


There are still quite a few bream schooling in the lower reaches of the Werribee River. Live tube worms and Bass yabbies have accounted for some solid fish from the beach and jetties at Werribee South. Quality flathead are also up for grabs in this area with fish to 60cm not uncommon at this time of year. Mark Brown and his son managed a few flatties, including a ripping 54cm specimen, taken on pilchards.


Lastly, I’d like to wish V&TFM readers, and especially followers of the Port Phillip West report, all the best during the Christmas holiday period. Thank you to those who have taken the time to email reports and images over the past twelve months. I look forward to hearing all about your success stories next year and beyond.


If you would like to see your name and/or photograph published, please forward reports and images to --e-mail address hidden-- . You’re certainly not obliged to give away your secret spot, but a please include a general description of when, where, the technique and bait used, and who caught the fish.

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