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Shallow water snapper bonanza
  |  First Published: May 2013



The fishing this month has been an offshore bonanza! Big numbers of gummies and snapper have been taken from Red Bluff right through to the Stockyards by anglers anchoring over sandy gravel reef and berleying the fish to the boat.

It has been surprising the size of the snapper getting caught. While early in the season is normally the run of bigger reds there seems to be a lot more 10kg class fish around than ever before. Bob Hirs, Brian Davidson and John Bennet had a blinder of a session one afternoon, nailing nine solid gummies then four cracking snapper up to 97cm on slimy mackerel. Most of the action has taken place in 15-25m of water, with the Grange being a popular spot.

On the reef around the pipeline there have been numbers of small pinkie snapper up to around 1kg and make for great table fare, along with sand flathead and arrow squid. Other species being taken include barracouta and the occasional kingfish on the deeper reefs. Numbers of school sharks and the occasional big bronze whaler have been taken too so it pays to have a wire setup rigged and ready to go at a moments notice.

There have been a few boats heading out wide in search of those elusive marlin and while reports have indicated the odd fish out there most are saying the water is fairly dirty and too cold for the marlin to be hanging around. A few yellowfin and albacore have been taken around the horseshoe on trolled Pakula Sprockets in that deadly Lumo colour. 

 In the estuary the rock walls have been fishing extremely well for luderick and silver trevally. The luderick have been targeted on green weed, while the trevally are taking prawn, mussel, bluebait or small soft plastics on the incoming tide. Huge numbers of small salmon and tailor have been abundant chasing the schools of small whitebait in the system and are fun on ultra light gear throwing 10g Lazer lures and winding them back across the surface.

The whiting have been disappointing again but the odd one has been caught by the persistent angler using mussel along Kalimna jetty on the incoming tide.

Some huge bream have been caught on the local jetties on both live baits and lures. Best bait for the bigger bream is a live unweighted prawn, while many are falling to a well presented hardbodied lure fished tight around the structure.

Garfish have been abundant around the footbridge and Highway Bridge and are easily caught using sandworm under a float with a tuna oil berley slick to keep them in the area. Not only are they great fun but make great bait and are delicious!  Plenty of mullet have been around too and love stealing sandworm baits from in front of the gars.

The odd large flathead has been caught around the Nautilus floating restaurant on large soft plastic prawns. I’ve heard of a couple around the 10lb mark and seen quite a few between 60-75cm in recent weeks so we may have another couple of months on them before the water gets too cold for them. Please remember that the maximum size limit is now 55cm for duskies and any over this length must be released unharmed. Photos look much better than a dead fish laying on a cleaning table.

 Lake Tyers has once again been brilliant. The flats fishing simply has to be seen to be believed. Huge numbers of bream and flatties have been smashing hardbodied lures and surface plastics with gusto and sessions of 50-60 fish are not uncommon. Try throwing shallow running minnows, surface walkers and for the deeper edges a deep running crankbait to get down in their faces.

Bait anglers are cleaning up using like prawn and pilchard fillets unweighted which is also scoring some beautiful flathead and the odd larger silver trevally. Areas like the Glasshouse, Blackfellows Arm, Trident Arm and Mill Point have all been prime areas to target.

The upper reaches of both arms have been fishing well for flathead, bream and luderick. Shrimp and peeled prawn are accounting for most of the fish and squidgy wrigglers in bloodworm and drop bear have been slaying the flatties on a 2g jighead in the deeper pools.

 The surf has been fishing well for salmon, tailor, gummies and the odd bream and pinkie snapper at Beacon Point. Squid has been the best bait as the crabs have been hassling those using softer baits. Always remember to have a surf popper rigged up as the salmon just love them.

Spinning with 25-50g Lazer lures on 4-6kg gear should see some nice fish landed and is great exercise! Eastern Beach, Lake Tyers and Petermans Beach are all producing good fish on high tide.

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