Multi species mayhem in the lead up to snapper season
  |  First Published: September 2013

September is the time angling in the region awakens from the depths of winter.

If you didn’t get your boat serviced in May, June or July, it could be too late as most anglers will start lining up to get theirs done before snapper season.

The surprise captures over the past twelve months or so is the influx of small mulloway. I’ve had reports from Apollo Bay to inside Corio Bay with most fish either side of the legal length of 60cm. Anglers fishing the Geelong waterfront for bream using soft plastics have tangled with the odd small mulloway under the legal length and some pinkie snapper up to 35cm. Yellow eyed mullet congregated in and around the local jetties inside Corio Bay and released some built up tension of those dead keen anglers awaiting the warmer weather.

Brent Hodges has hosted some Lara Secondary School children fishing from St Helens rock wall where the students enjoyed catching around a dozen garfish using silverfish for bait and breadcrumbs mixed with tuna oil for berley.

Clifton Springs and Portarlington

These two coastal towns will go snapper mad as September matures. They are one of the more popular places in Victoria where you can have a fair dinkum chance at a big, fat snapper over 5kg with the real chance of bagging something bigger. If you’re new to the area or new to snapper fishing in general, grab a fresh slab of pilchards, red rockets, sauries, silver whiting or you could try to catch your own bait such as squid or garfish. Head out at first or last light and try your luck in water over 5m with a bit of gravel if you can see it on your sounder.

An outgoing tide is best here and make sure you give everyone plenty of room on the boat ramps and when joining a group already fishing.

Grassy Point off Portarlington can be squid central so you can cruise out here early arvo, jig up some fresh bait and tucker, then head out deeper to find the snapper.

St Leonards to Queenscliff

This area of the Bellarine Peninsula has done quite well in the lead up to September with anglers fishing near the Prince George Light after dark landing a few quality gummy sharks. Closer to shore, over the shallow weed and reef, anglers have the ever reliable calamari to target. Rod Ludlow from Beachlea Boat Hire at Indented Head says the flathead have kept clients happy with good numbers to be caught fishing the deeper water on the drift between St Leonards and the Prince George Light with the incoming tide proving best.

The early weeks of September are prime bait gathering time in the lead up to snapper mayhem. September can provide anglers with the opportunity to target calamari either side of 3kg in the Lonsdale Bight and in between Queenscliff and Point Nepean over the deep water kelp beds as they come in to spawn. Some of these deep beds are over 10m down so rig a paternoster rig with a decent sinker and have a dropper loop to attach your jig.

Tim Biviano from Queenscliff Charters says the calamari have been biting well just north of Swan Bay. He has also done a few flathead trips further north up near St Leonards but says there has been nothing much over 40cm.

Barwon Heads and Surf Coast

Lara Secondary School Students were back on location in the Barwon River estuary last month. For our last field trip for the term they started off at the Ocean Grove Boat Ramp but it was slow going with all the dirty water around the low tide. They did however, manage a few yellow-eye mullet and salmon on peeled prawn. Moving down to Fishermans Jetty proved effective with plenty of juvenile salmon on the go in the clean water. Some students caught up 10-20 each, mostly on prawn with a few falling to soft plastics and metal vibes.

Nick Scerri has been into a few quality gummy sharks and small to medium pinkie snapper fishing the deep water out off Barwon Heads.

Silver trevally have made themselves known over the last month with some quality fish falling to both bait and lure. Best baits have been pilchards and pipis while single tail grub soft plastic lures have landed a few also. They definitely prefer the clean water of the incoming tide too.

Again this month has seen a fair few undersized mulloway landed in the lower Barwon estuary and some from Surf Coast beaches both on baits and the odd one on soft plastic lures.

Salmon fishing up and down the Surf Coast has been a little hit and miss with fish going quiet after big swell stirs up the water. I had a crack from the rocks around Lorne last month. Conditions were perfect with a light offshore breeze and low swell. I fished Jump Rock for half an hour spinning with 30g lures but lucked out there. I did see one gent land a salmon of around 35cm using bait. I then fished the rock platforms in-between the Pacific pub and the Surf Club where I hooked and lost a salmon around 1.5kg on a lure.

Keen snapper anglers should target the Surf Coast this time of year as they do get first look at some big snapper. Anglesea and Torquay only have beach ramps and Barwon Heads boaters need to navigate the Barwon River bar so take care if you plan on launching at any of these.

Catch a few around Geelong, Bellarine Peninsula or Surf Coast to Lorne recently? Send in a report to --e-mail address hidden-- with “VFM” in the subject field or give me a call on 0408 997348. Please include where (without giving away your secret spot!), when, what on and who caught the fish. Pictures are always great, but please make sure they are at least 1mb (file size).

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