Not every angler has the ability to hit the water on their only day off work to instantly get into the action. Finding fish is often the hardest part of the day and while many anglers have a knack of ‘hitting the mother load’ as soon as they drop the pick, others can often go home empty handed day after day.
Finding fish can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t understand your sounder. Not everyone is technologically intelligent, some in fact can’t even turn on the television or DVD player and getting to know your sounder is even harder when you have to try and decipher the hieroglyphics in the unit’s manual.
If there is one thing that people can do, that’s plug in some coordinates and head to a GPS mark. A GPS mark is not necessarily going to lead you to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but it will provide you with a starting point in which fish wont be too far away, especially if it is a reef.
Many anglers think that a GPS mark is where all the fish in the bay will be but in fact, a GPS marks should be used as a guide and then sound from there until you find fish.
The snapper season generally begins in the area of Mornington through to Chelsea during the months of September and October. As the season progresses, more and more anglers begin to fish further north from Chelsea around to Altona throughout November and December. Late in the season, another run of fish tend to fire up spasmodically and while you would automatically think they would be in the north, the best run of fish in fact is in the Portsea, Sorrento and Mt Martha areas.
Below are a few GPS positions in Port Phillip that you should use as a guide. Once you get to the location, sound around until you find some fish or just anchor and set out a berley trail, the fish will hone in on it quite quickly.
Portsea isn’t really known as a snapper holding location and most of the time the fish travel through the main channel before branching out around the Mt Martha area. If you’re keen on fishing for snapper around Portsea, you best bet is to work around the Portsea Hole. This location tends to fire very late in the season around the February/March period.
Portsea Hole - S 38 18.375 E144 42.414
Similar to that of Portsea, the Sorrento area is a very late season mark. Passed down from my uncle, Sorrento fires up best in late March. This mark is quite a popular location to catch snapper but don’t expect large models. The fish is produces mostly range from 1-2kg.
The late roughie - S 38 15.408 E 144 45.079
Late in the season Mt Martha tends to really fire up. Late February through until the end of March is when this area fishes its best. One thing to note here, it is the ships that will make all the difference. For some reason unbeknown to me, each time a container ship passes by, your rods buckle. If you see a ship approaching, change your baits, re-cast and wait for them to buckle.
This location fires best 4 days after a solid west south west wind blow. Some big fish are caught in here so be ready.
S 38 12.600 E 145 01.188 – courtesy of Simon Rinaldi, Red Hot Fishing Charters
Ansetts is a well known location that never lets anglers down. The bottom is of thick cunje and reef bottom in which snapper feed around.
Ansetts is a good all season mark up until December with its peak firing in November. Some big snapper can be caught here so ensure you tackle is up to the task.
Ansetts - S 38 11.323 E 145 00.502
Fisheries Beach - S 38 15.911 E 144 58.221– courtesy of Simon Rinaldi, Red Hot Fishing Charters
Wide of Frankston the bottom is littered with all sorts of structure. There are many well-known locations to catch snapper in this area with the 17m line being a very popular location for anglers. Berley is essential to bring the fish within casting range. Fish of all sizes can be caught here and it fishes very well throughout the majority of the season with October through to December being the prime time. The fish tend to bite better on sunrise.
Frankston - S 38 08.085 E 14502.212
Just out from the Seaford Jetty, Mile Bridge is known for delivering big snapper in rough weather. The bottom is thick cunje which holds food; hence the large amount of snapper that move into this area. Mile Bridge fishes best in a westerly or south westerly wind on first light. In saying that, during late November and early January, evenings are preferred.
Mile Bridge - S 38 06.821 E 145 06.658
Carrum is without doubt one of the most popular locations to fish on the eastern seaboard. Many hundreds of anglers flock to both the Inner and Outer Artificial reefs which do fish well all season. Some of the better results do come throughout late spring. This location supposedly contains the remains of an old scallop barge.
Considering the area looks rather flat when sounding, the actual reef in fact is quite a bit further south than the actual buoy which marks its location.
Still, those fishing where the reef ‘apparently’ is, still catch quite a lot of fish. This location has and does produce snapper over the magical 10kg mark along with mulloway.
Outer Artificial - S 38 04.800 E 145 02.098
The Chelsea area is a top location to fish early in the morning but fishes its best later on in the season. One of the better months to work this location is in December. It does hold a lot of smaller fish, but providing you fish first light with a run in tide: larger fish are possible.
Chelsea 13 - S 38 3.216 E 145 5.036
The Gasso is one of the better late season marks and most of my fishing is done here in late December before moving to the Mt Martha area. The Gasso holds good fish throughout the season but continues to produce fish into late December.
Rougher days seem to stir it up which brings the fish on in a big way.
Gasso - S 38 2.493 E 144 58.942
While these are just a few popular marks to get you on your way, you will notice a trend with them and when they best fire up. If you can figure out the direction in which to fish them, you’ll have a long and plentiful season.Reads: 20700