In typical fashion, Western Port has been the standout when it comes to snapper reports so far this season and what a season it has been.
Nothing is more exciting than listening to the sweet sound of a howling reel as the braid is ripped off the spool and squealing as it is pulled through the rod guides. The sweet smell of success! This sound brings together all the hard work of sounding, berleying, baiting, tying knots and rigs and most of all, being patient while waiting for something to take your offerings.
Each season is very similar in the way the weeks unfold. Early in September the fish are slow, October they are slightly more active, November off their tree, December they are quiet due to spawning and January throughout to March quite spasmodic due to the dropping water temperatures.
When you sit back and look at each month and where we are up to in the scheme of the season, it has played out very similar except due to the water temperature being a little cooler for this time of year, the fish are a little bit behind the times. For us keen Western Port anglers, that is a good thing meaning that the season is behind by a few weeks and should now push right up into the Feb/March period with continual active feeding.
Though it is my prediction that this scenario will unravel, the past few weeks have been nothing but right on target. Of all the reports I have seen, the fishing has been nothing but sensational with some very impressive fish caught.
Corinella hasn’t really fired like it usually has in the past but there have still been some very good fish being caught.
Fish to 7.5kg have been reported on a regular basis. Anglers fishing north of Mosquito Channel have plucked some fantastic fish from the murky waters with most being caught at night. Squid baits have been the best offerings during the run-out tides.
This area will continue on fishing well for the rest of the season and while the fish might seem to have disappeared, anglers just need to start to work further up the Port towards Spit Point where they will continue to find the fish actively feeding on the tide changes.
Late in the season each year, the corals and in particular Rhyll really begins to fire from now on and into March when the hoards of pinkies arrive. Lately, some really good reds have come from the area with an 85cm snapper caught by Paul Trevaskis. While this was one of many solid fish caught from Rhyll, many anglers are finding the fish going well on the run out tide in 13m of water near Observation Point.
The one location I have always boasted about being consistent in delivering 10kg snapper is the small stretch of coast from Cowes to Silverleaves. The muddy bank drops deep into 15m of water quite quickly, sort of like the edge of a cliff. Past history shows that during January, at least one 10kg red is taken here and providing those keen enough spend the time fishing the area during the prime times tend to come home with the goods.
Another productive location lately for anglers has been just out from the Cowes Pier towards Buoy 15. There is a jellybean shaped contour and depending on the tide direction, the fish will be holding on either side. While it is not that big of an area, it pays to put in the time and sound around until you find where the fish are before anchoring and deploying baits willy nilly. Local angler David McNeil fished the area recently and managed 3 snapper ranging from 3.9-6.8kg will all 3 taking fresh calamari baits.
Though I could go on about snapper for months, I think it is best to end this report on the fact that many anglers had already made the switch from snapper to whiting by mid November.
Gawaine Blake from Profishinal Services did just that recently and had a blinder of a session with a client. Together, they worked a shallow bank edge and managed to find their bag with ease.
Other anglers have also had similar success, especially on the top of the Tortoise Head Bank. The fish have been going very well during the run-in tide with a berley trail bringing them within casting distance.
Though the Tortoise Head Bank has been the more noticeable location along with the southern end of the Middle Spit, anglers are starting to report good catches of whiting in Coronet Bay, Reef Island, Dickies Bay and around McHaffies Reef.
While the whiting season hasn’t even begun, it is good to know that the fish are already active and chewing their heads. The next few weeks are going to be out of control, but don’t just rely on fishing the banks for ‘ting. Often the larger models are in the deeper water and if you’re keen on fishing for channel whiting then make a move out into 14m right off the bank and try your luck.
At this time of year, larger whiting are in their prime condition and providing you’re willing to work the tides and use berley, these larger models will be quick onto your baits. Most of the main channels hold whiting and it is a matter of setting anchor and fishing the last few hours when the tides speed begins to slow. While there are many locations to begin to explore, start in the north arm, this place is pure gold for big channel ‘ting.
Photo courtesy of Gawaine Blake.
Photo courtesy of Gawaine Blake.Reads: 443