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Is it snapper season already?
  |  First Published: August 2014



It’s cold, it’s windy and it’s wet but we all knew it was coming so there is no point in dwelling on it!

The facts are that A: There is a crazy amount of big calamari around at the moment; B: This has been one of the best off season snapper bites we have seen in a while, and; C: If you get tired of snapper and calamari then there are more than enough gummy sharks to go round. Winter doesn’t sound that bad anymore does it?

THE TOP END

WOW! Bring on the top end of Western Port. It has been producing it all and what a great way to lead up into the snapper season with a few quality early fish.

The Bouchier Channel has been a little gold mine and there is a hungry school of snapper parked on the mud up there. Nathan Peterson of Tackle World Cranbourne has been spending quite a bit of time up here and getting his family onto a few cracker fish. In separate sessions they have managed snapper, the biggest two weighing 6kg and 4.8kg and when they haven’t been getting them, they have seen gummies to 6kg on the deck of the boat. There are a couple of stand out baits and they are fresh calamari and the humble pilchard and the run out tide has been the most productive time.

The snapper fishing has been the biggest surprise packet with multiple fish coming in from various parts of the Port. As I mentioned earlier, they are schooled up around the Bouchier Channel and have been caught all the way through to Crawfish Rock where a 6kg fish was taken only very recently. The one thing in common that the majority of these fish have is that they have all fallen victim to a well presented piece of squid. Whether it be cut into a ring or the old traditional strip, it has definitely been the best bait. This does make a lot of sense considering just how many squid there are jetting around the top end of Western Port.

There have been a few good calamari around the entrance to the Gentle Annie Channel as our local sparky Darren found out. They were up there poking around for a few whiting and ended up with a bag of good eating size calamari. Size 3 jigs hopped over the weed beds did the trick.

The Tyabb Bank is one of the most well known squid pockets going around and it sure has lived up to its reputation. Luke McCredden has given the bank a good touch up a couple of times and he reports the size of the calamari are well above average for this time of year. One trip he was with local gun Peter Ferguson and they found them in 3.5m of water and the other was with Australian cricketer Cameron White and on that particular day they found them in 4m, so it pays to set up a drift and work some ground to find the optimum depth on the day. Size 3.0 and 3.5 jigs were responsible for the bigger specimens.

Colour of jig is always a hot topic so here is a quick starter guide to help you choose the right colour. Low light (dusk, dawn and heavily overcast days) have a look through your collection for either red or gold foils. Bright sky (clear water, bright and sunny day) lean more towards your natural colours. Silver and rainbow foils or your more transparent jigs work really well, and if the water is quite dirty and discoloured go back to your reds and golds along with your dark purple or black jigs.

THE NORTH ARM

The North Arm is where most of the bigger gummies have been. The calamari and snapper have also made a handy little appearance here as well.

Some really nice gummies have been coming in from around Hastings and local angler David Albarenque braved the cold one night to land a magnificent 17kg mumma gummy and she fell to juicy, fresh yakka chunk.

Stony Point is where the snapper have been with fish coming in to 75cm. In similar fashion to the top end it’s the fresh squid that has been getting the job done. Alex King sat through the wind and rain on a wild afternoon and he was rewarded with a very special 72cm gummy that ate a whole squid.

Jarrod Day scabbed a lift with Nathan Peterson one afternoon and they worked the weed beds from Stony Point to Esso and took home a very healthy bag each of good calamari. In similar fashion to the top end, it was the 3.0 size jigs that dominated proceedings.

Well, I hope this report has inspired you to get the boat wet in the trying conditions that we have been witnessing as the rewards have most certainly been there.

Good luck and keep those reports rolling in!

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