Snapper madness dominates the fishing scene
  |  First Published: October 2013

October already, on my next blink it will be Christmas, hold on that’s only 12 weeks away. Just where has the time gone? I guess there is one thing good to look forward too and that is snapper season.

It is fair to say that snapper season is well and truly upon us now with plenty of anglers all getting their big red fix from right around Western Port. The past few weeks have been nothing but encouraging on the snapper front and it is good to see the usual haunts really firing up.


There is no doubt that Corinella is one of the most prolific locations to be catching snapper this month. Early in September the fish made their annual trek up this way and they will continue to hold here throughout the season. Try fishing on the edges of the muddy channels where they will hold up and graze along the bottom. Usually one side of the tide will fish better than the other and lately, it is the last two hours of the run-out tides that have sparked a feeding frenzy. Most of the fish in the area have ranged 2-5kg with the odd larger fish being caught early in the morning and late evening over the shallow flats.


The shallows of Coronet Bay are living up to their reputation with plenty of snapper already actively feeding. This area has been fishing best on first light and by around 9am the fish seem to have moved from the area. Local angler Peter McDonald managed to catch 4 nice snapper to 4kg using squid baits.

This area will continue to fish well all season but it is imperative that it be fished on first or last light when boat traffic isn’t a concern.

Some nice whiting have also been caught in this area from depths ranging 2-4m hard up against the rocks near Settlement Point. Anglers using pipi and whiting worm have had most success of late. The high tide has been more productive than the low.


Lang Lang is a very productive at this time of year as Ando found out recently. He was fishing almost out from Stockyard point in 4m of water. Ando had a great session catching and releasing 5 snapper to 7kg. Fish of this size are usually found lurking around the shallows by themselves and from Tenby Point to Lang Lang are locations they can be commonly found at this time of year. Berley is worth using but you will attract a few unwanted critters.


The Corals haven’t really fired up yet but few fish are being caught from the area. The corals usually fires up around the middle October when the water temperatures increases slightly. This area is quite flat but the fish love to graze over it. Pilchards and squid are the most popular baits with a cube trail if cut pilchards very effective. Most of the fish caught here of late have been on the smaller size but it will only be weeks until the larger fish show up.

Some decent flathead have been a welcomed by-catch with some models over 55cm.


The buoy 15 area gets quite a lot of attention at this time of year and it is receives quite a flush out from the tides pushing in from the Western Entrance. Anglers have been anchoring not far from the Cowes Pier and doing very well on fish up to 5kg. This area has quite a thick rubble bottom where fish will school up in smaller numbers.

Anglers choosing to catch snapper on lures can do so in this area on the approach to the slack tides. Lucanus jigs in the red colour have been working lately as Phillip found out one Saturday afternoon. Phillip used the 100g Lucanus to catch and release nine pinkie snapper to 2kg.


McHaffies Reef is a tricky location to fish and must be done so in calm weather. Even on the calmest of days, the pressure from the tide can make it stand up. Those fishing in close over the reef have been catching some nice pinkie snapper along with some sizeable whiting including Toby Jacobs who managed six whiting while fishing for snapper. The whiting were to 44cm and were taken on squid bait rigged on a 4/0 sized hook.


Despite all the snapper attention, few anglers have been trying their luck on the gummies. Buoy 14 is a known and productive location to catch them and they have been quite forthcoming over the past few weeks. The lead up to the full moon was very good in September with four gummies caught by two anglers. Angler Jared managed two gummies to 12kg on eel baits while Mark Phillipson managed two gummies of 8kg on salmon fillet. These fish will continue to frequent this location with the next full moon firing them up once again. A lot of smaller fish will become the standard catch as the water temperature increases but they are still get fun to catch.


On the whiting front, the Balnarring area has been pretty good these past few weeks and will only get better as the water temperature increases. Anglers fishing in 10m of water over the sand patches have managed some nice whiting to 45cm. Squid baits have been the most productive. One angler by the name of Brad managed six whiting to 44cm from the beach at Balnarring. He was fishing early in the morning on a high tide and used pipi for bait. He did mention it was quite weedy though but still managed a good haul.


The Flinders Pier is continuing to produce some nice calamari on the high tide during the night. Baited jigs have been the best offering with silver whiting doing the job. Those flicking artificial jigs about have caught some good models with the white colours the most effective. If the nights are calm, this pier is a great place to chill out for a few hours. It does get very busy so make sure you get in early to get a good spot.


There has been a solid run of big garfish frequenting the Stony Point pier on the run-in tides. Anglers berleying from the end of the pier have caught some monstrous gars to 50cm. A float setup has been the most effective method with small slithers of pilchard doing the job. During the night, calamari have also been taken under the lights on artificial jigs.


I always like to escape the crowds when it comes to snapper season and the larger fish are always caught when boat traffic is at its least. If you’re after a big red, fish during first or last light and try to fish the high tide over the shallow flats. Coronet Bay is certainly worth it but don’t discount the top of the bank near Elizabeth Island. Some big fish are caught here but it is a location that often flies under the radar.

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