Western Port’s water temperature rose more quickly than Port Phillip Bay’s, bringing the fish on the bite earlier. As usual, many of the early reports were heavily focused around the Long Reef area. This is an underwater reef system than extends from Joes Island. It encompasses Crawfish and Eagle rocks, continuing on a 45o angle towards the large green sheds off Lysaughts.
Dom headed out to Lysaughts thinking it might be a good place to kick off the season in the first week of October. He anchored in 40ft of water and caught a 7kg snapper.
Following suit, a group of young anglers, Pat, Luke, Zach and Peter, fished over Long Reef during the same week. The boys managed a bag of snapper around 2kg on pilchards.
The top end of the Port has produced some great catches of snapper of 1.8-4kg. Anglers Marty and Scott did well on the reds, but they also picked up a gummy shark of 12kg near Joes Island.
The Hastings area has produced some great fish on the eastern side of the North Arm. Peter of Cranbourne fished the area during the last of the ebb tide to land a 5kg snapper on quarter of a pilchard threaded on a snapper snatcher rig. He then headed out the following day with his wife and found a patch of snapper willing to devour every bait they put into the water.
Cowes has been the place to search for bigger snapper. Quinn Scott headed out with a few mates for their first snapper session in the deep water out from the Cowes Pier. They landed three snapper to 3.5kg before catching 20 whiting at Tortoise Head Bank.
Ron Wilson fished in the deep water off Cowes. He fished the run-out tide and landed nine snapper ranging from 1kg to a 9kg+ monster that bottomed out his scales. The big fish was taken on 8kg line and took 20 minutes to land.
The hottest place to be early in the season was definitely Corinella. Billy Hayes and mate Dylan headed out to fish the run-out tide. They armed themselves with a range of baits but found the fish bit best on fresh silver trevally fillets and fresh calamari. They ended up with eight snapper to 5kg in 5m of water.
Len Henderson also fished in the same location with his mates Dave and Ray. These boys had a cracker session, catching and releasing 17 snapper to 6.5kg on silver whiting. Meanwhile, Tackle World staff member Aaron Sammut headed back to his ‘Spot X’ that produced some amazing fish last season and repeated his success with four fish of 3-6kg. Aaron said the run-in tide was most productive and found all the fish took baits of Californian squid.
Stony Point Pier has had good numbers of calamari, mullet and salmon while Cowes Pier has been the place to try your luck for land-based snapper.
I joined Scott McNabb one Saturday night to fish the run-out tide on dusk at Merricks Beach. We used a combination of baits of fresh salmon fillet, trevally fillet, calamari and cured eel fillet.
Scott managed a 7kg gummy shark and was bitten off right at the rocks by an estimated 15-20kg school shark. I was fortunate enough to land a 40kg seven-gilled shark that almost smoked me on 50lb braid before surrendering.
Tackle World staff member, Mark Keaveny, hit the sandy shores of Stockyard Point with mates Brad and Clint. They fished the run-out tide and managed a nice gummy shark of 4.5kg.
Snapper fishing in December usually quietens down for a few weeks as the fish begin spawning. They go off the bite to concentrate on finding Mrs Snapper, before getting hungry again shortly after Christmas Day. During this quiet period, go back to fishing the same way you did during the early season. Look for reef systems like Long Reef or the Corals and try your luck.
Snapper are creatures of habit and often go back to the reefs, as a good food source is never too far away at these locations.
By late December, the Western Entrance fishes quite well and is definitely worth a look, especially around Buoy 11, Buoy 7 and in 12m of water in Cat Bay.
For further information regarding fishing Western Port, drop into Tackle World Cranbourne, 270 South Gippsland Hwy, Cranbourne and see myself or one of our knowledgeable staff.
SNAPPER GPS MARKS WORTH A TRY
Joes Island: S 38 16 498; E 145 21 110
Hastings: S 38 20 039; E 145 14 045
Corinella: S 38 25 122; E 145 23 452
Cowes: S 38 26 013; E 145 13 521
Western Entrance: S 38 25 467; E 145 12 150