Snapper the eternal flame with great salmon too
  |  First Published: August 2013

Before I get into the big snapper news, the Australian salmon fishing along the Bass beaches has been extraordinary this season.

Past seasons have been terrific but this season has really stepped up to be one of the best that I can remember. Salmon have infiltrated the entire coastline with some beaches performing better than others week to week.

Williamsons Beach has seen some action and though it is the deepest beach along this stretch of coast hasn’t really seen the sizeable fish it is known for. Still, don’t disregard it as it could fire at any time in the coming weeks.

Of the most consistent, Kilcunda and Cape Woolamai have certainly been leading the charge. Both beaches have been producing salmon to around 1kg consistently with the odd larger fish around the 2kg taken on occasion. The high tide has been the most productive time to fish as the fish move in closer to the shore break.


Located just a100m or so to the right of the sand dunes in Cleeland Bight there is a small reef which fishes quite well for calamari and whiting in the summer months. These past few weeks however land-based anglers have been catching some nice whiting from it. John Sampson fished from the sand in this area and caught eight whiting ranging 36-45cm. Pipi and beach worm were the top bait.


The Dickies Bay area has been fishing well for a few weeks now with garfish plentiful in the area. The prime time to be fishing this area has been the last few ours of the run-in tide and first few hours of the run-out. The water has been very clean and clear in this area which is why they have been in such large numbers.


Settlement Point which is located to the right of the Corinella Pier is a quaint land-based fishing rock ledge that fishes well for silver trevally, snapper and gummy shark throughout the year.

Dylan and his partner Skyeler fished from Settlement Point during the night in almost below freezing conditions. Fishing the high tide they managed to catch and release 13 gummy sharks between them keeping just one for the table. The fish ranged from 5-6.5kg and were all caught on Californian squid. This location is a very productive location and wishes extremely well on the lead up to the full moon as the fish push up the channel.


For the past few years we have been having better and better winter snapper runs and this season is without doubt one of the best. Anglers fishing right around the Port have been catching fish to 7kg with some impressive models coming from the Corinella area. Pilchards and squid baits have been working well but don’t expect to catch a big of fish. Most of the time it is only one being caught.


Luke McCredden and his mate Adam shot out for a quick whiting fish on the edge of the Tortoise Head bank last month and managed a few nice whiting. The boys fished the end of the run in tide in 3-4m of water and caught King George whiting to 40cm using pipi baits.


While most of the winter weather has been unfishable, there were a few days recently that were more than glorious. This allowed the diehards the opportunity to get out and while the snapper were hot, this location proved to be the place to try their luck. I spoke with one customer that came into the shop who told me of his success one Saturday. Fishing the edge of the Tortoise Head Bank he and his friend managed two snapper: one of 5kg and the other of 4kg. They then moved to Buoy 14 where they picked up another fish that went 7kg. Plenty of gummy sharks were also caught down the Entrance with a particular focus out in around buoy 14, 13, 11 and buoy 5.


When it comes to land-based fishing, any fish is a good one in my book but when it’s an 8.6kg snapper, you instantly become a legend. David Hawes was busy fishing land-based last weekend from Balnarring Beach. Fishing with squid heads for bait he managed a cracking 8.6kg snapper.


There has been a significant amount of large calamari caught by anglers fishing from the Flinders Pier. During the winter period this pier has been known for some very impressive models and yet again it is fishing well. Anglers fishing with baited squid jigs have caught the majority of the larger ones with the odd calamari falling to artificial jigs. It is imperative that the high tide be fished as on the low it is only around 1-2m deep and artificial jigs can be easily lost on the thick weed that lines the bottom.

It is hard to fathom but it is only four weeks until the early snapper season begins. September is only around the corner and it won’t belong before some divers see a sea of red swim into Port Phillip heads or an aeroplane will spot millions of snapper swimming on the surface into Western Port.

Whether it is true or not, September sparks the beginning of the early season and while we are now in August, I bet the fish have already started their migration. I know the next few weeks will see myself looking over a few marks to see if they are about and it only takes a spike I the barometer on a nice day with some fresh bait to temp just one nice fish.

If you’re not keen on trying your luck just yet, I suggest fishing the lead up to the August full moon in the Western Entrance. August is a great time to be in search of gummy sharks and with the influx of warmer water; they will be on the move.

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