We are well and truly in the thick of it now! This month is generally the best snapper fishing of the season and, if the past weeks are anything to go by, hang onto your rod because it’s going to get a bit crazy out there.
The pier continues to fish well with some seriously good sessions being had by the land-based crew. In fact on some nights you really have to wonder if it’s worth having a boat at all when almost every angler on the pier gets one or several shots at catching a big snapper in a night.
The past month has been just like this and it doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon.
Best of all, it’s a fairly simple formula. Get onto the pier when there is a good southwest blow happening, then fish with baits of pilchard or squid and hang on.
From the boats, the reports are starting to flow in from a wide area; better fish are being taken in shallower 6-9m areas off Mordialloc and up to Mentone. These areas have been good at night and also when it has been rough; fish with unweighted bait as some of the ground through this area is fairly heavy. While out slightly deeper, places like Hump and up off Ricketts Point, the fishing has been very consistent for snapper in the 2-4kg size, which has also made them the prime target for anglers to cast plastics, troll or even jig them up with small metal jigs.
Up in Beaumaris Bay there has still been the odd snapper caught land-based but for the most part the squid and garfish are keeping most land-based anglers busy.
Out off Ricketts Point the deep area, known as the Gasso, is once again a top place to be fishing for snapper. Even though it has been producing snapper over the past weeks, it’s this month that will see it go crazy as big schools of reds move over this food-rich mud bottom to feed.
Back in a bit closer the 16m line up towards Black Rock has been fishing very well over the past weeks. A lot of anglers have been reporting that they have been doing well on baits of garfish and couta, both of which are around in decent numbers.
If you are after some thing a little different then it’s also worth keeping and eye out for the multiple schools of salmon. They provide plenty of fun at this time of year and the snapper love to hold up under the schools to pick up the scraps, which also makes them the perfect areas to chase snapper on lures.
Off sandy breakwall there has still been the odd snapper taken in the rough weather, however it’s the boat anglers who have been fishing here in the 6-8m area that have had some great fishing at dawn for snapper in the 4-5.5kg sizes.
Out a little wider I have also seen some good numbers of fish being taken from around the Anonyma Shoal, with the best results again coming pre dawn and into first light before the fish push out wider.
Out on the edge of the shipping lane the snapper fishing has been very good for those anglers who are willing to find the patches of fish, as they seem to be moving up and down the channel between T1 and T2 and the Fawkner Beacon.
As an added bonus its doesn’t seem to matter where you head at present there are heaps of bait around, so a bit of berley and a Sabiki jig will see you with plenty of garfish, mackerel and yakkas to use as either fresh cut or live baits.
Closer to shore the dirty water of the past weeks of rain has in many people’s opinion really helped to get the inshore bite on the snapper really firing. Slightly dirty water really sees some big numbers of reds being caught from the rock Groynes at Hampton and most of all off Brighton Breakwall. There have been some cracking fish among them too with several over 6kg being caught from the rocks and boats.
From Brighton to St Kilda this month will hopefully see the push of big snapper moving into the shallow waters in this part of the bay to feed at night; famous locations, such as the drain at Elwood and its surrounds, are the places to look. The large areas of reef and cunjevoi bottom make the prime habitat for these big fish to feed under the cover of darkness.
During the daylight hours however the snapper fishing off this part of the world has also been great, with good numbers of fish found between St Kilda and the Fawkner Beacon. And while this is a huge area and may sound very vague, it really is a case of looking in areas you may have previously caught fish, or just spend some time to sound around until you find the action.
Some heavy rain in October put a serious stain of freshwater into this part of the bay. After it had settled a bit, it has kept the snapper chewing with some good reports and very big fish taken off all the piers.
While out in the boats, the same areas that fish so well through winter are now producing numbers of quality snapper in the 3-8kg range, and what could be better than fishing under the lights of the city, especially on a calm night.
The real surprise packet for snapper anglers in this part of the bay however has been the continued run of fish to be found around Princess Pier.
There are also a few other species of fish around at present but for the most part it’s snapper season in Melbourne so let’s get into it!Reads: 843