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Warm water sprouts snapper action on all fronts
  |  First Published: October 2013



After the most solid winter that I can remember for sometime, it is pleasing to report that the cooler trends of early spring have changed and that the warmer months are definitely upon us.

Port Philip’s food chain has been given a real boost throughout the cooler months with plenty of fresh water and runoff entering the shoreline areas providing food and nutrients. This injection of life really drives the core of the ecosystem and is the best possible scenario for a bumper spring and summer season ahead. With the amount of bait, weed and reef growth, and also juvenile fish currently holding on the inshore reefs, everything looks set to fire in a big way.

The warmer months of the year are all about snapper, and by the time the October rolls around I expect the level of angler and snapper activity to increase greatly on Port Phillip. The most encouraging sign for the season ahead has been the consisten catches of snapper right throughout winter, mostly from the wider marks out from Mornington, Frankston and Mount Martha. These areas would be a great place to start your early season missions, especially if water temperatures are still a little bit cooler.

Also encouraging has been the quality of snapper that have been taken by land-based anglers as well. I have received reports of some real crackers up to 7kg being landed, particularly during and immediately after strong onshore winds have bashed the shoreline. Snapper will eagerly come into shallower water to feed during these times, and it’s worth braving the conditions for a chance at a big red from the rocks or pier.

The trend for early season snapper along the eastern shoreline marks of recent years has been to congregate closer to reefs and other structures, and I would expect with the increased health and vitality of the reef areas this will continue this year. Also be prepared to offer a variety of baits in your presentation, although if you had to pick one bait it’s hard to go past the humble old pilchard.

The spring months will also bring a lot of other bread and butter species into the picture, and a lot of anglers favourite the good old garfish has arrived in the bay in a big way over the past few weeks. Get a berley trail going in some deeper water and the gars will not be far away. They may make sensational bait, are pretty handy food for humans as well, and are also great fun to catch. Kids love them, and they also respond well to lure and fly presentations if you are so inclined.

Other bread and butter species have also been prevalent, especially in and around the bays rivers and creeks, particularly after recent rains and flooding wash into the bay. Mullet and Australian salmon have been the most consistent targets, and respond well to a wide variety of baits and lures. I have been having some great late afternoon sessions recently, chasing schools of feeding salmon along the shore close to home in Mornington and Mount Martha.

These fish can be easily reached from the beach with a decent cast, and all that’s required is to wind like a crazy person and hang on. Jig head rigged plastics, metal lures and fly are all worth a go.

Keep an eye on the birds flying above the fish, as they are the best indication of which way they are travelling.

The squid fishing has really improved of late, and expect more larger breeding males and females to take up residence on the shallower reefs over the next month or so. This trend normally occurs a little earlier in the year, but with cooler water temperatures, I would expect some big squid to be on the radar for some time to come along the eastern shoreline reefs.

Due to all the injection of life and fresh water over the past couple of months, bream fishing has been a little patchy, although the switched on bait anglers have been doing very well in the discoloured water, particularly in the Patterson River.

I have been road testing the new Cranka Crab of late, and to say that I am impressed so far would be a fair understatement. Keep an eye out for these great innovations in lure design.

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