Action before red invasion
  |  First Published: August 2015

Winter can certainly seem slow on the weeks which present endless grey and gloom. Yet we have been reasonably lucky through the last month with those periods generally punctuated by a respite and a few days of light breezes and good, if still grey, fishing conditions.


Given we are only moments away from the impending snapping season I almost feel some hesitation talking about snapper as we’ll all be sick of them in a couple of months from now. However, as we’ve seen the last couple of years there have been some fantastic reds caught on both sides of the Mornington Peninsula in the last month or so.

Admittedly, it is a brave angler’s game, as many of them have come after dark, which means plenty of wet and cold while you are waiting. While we heard of some good fish from Mt Martha and Mornington during daylight hours too, the best fish, mostly over 8kg, came during the evening.

Mason Shultz was one such angler who got out there, did the hard yards, and found unbelievable snapper in the process. Mason clocked some rippers between 7-9kg while fishing Port Phillip and Westernport.

Surf Scene

The bread and butter stuff for this time of year, however, is the surf scene and the Australian salmon that are targeted both on baits and lure at popular beaches like Gunnamatta, Rye back, Portsea and even on the east side of the peninsula at Merricks and Shoreham.

Late in the month we seemed to have a spike of action down at Gunnamatta with plenty of salmon, many well over 1kg, being caught by a range of anglers.

I’ve mentioned this a few times over the years but we continue to see an increase in the number of anglers targeting salmon on lure. The bottom line is that it is a much simpler form of surf fishing – light, mobile and without all the paraphernalia that most bait fishos lug down the beach. If you haven’t tried it, do. I’d say we sell almost 50/50 now in surf spin tackle to bait tackle for hitting the back beach these days. If you’re not sure what to look for in your local tackle store start with the 9-foot graphite rods. They’re an essential in my book for this type of fishing.

The largest salmon we saw in the last month got weighed in at the shop and went 2.71kg, which is a very nice fish indeed. We still have a bit of time before the end of the surf season and we often see a late run of big fish so no doubt, the 3kg mark will be cracked in no time.

Gummy Shark

Personally, gummy shark slide down the target list in winter, mainly because my feeling is that there are less in the bay and they just become that little bit harder to target. We also tend to get an influx of swell sharks into the bay with the cool water. Adding another bait stealer to the list of banjo sharks, port jacksons, rays etc. can make for difficult fishing.

With that said, it has been pleasing to see some good gummies caught by those taking advantage of a few of the calm evenings we had through the month. Sam Sierakowski was one of those who nailed a nice fish while fishing in 16m off Rye on the south channel. He and his mate Blacka did the right thing in chasing up bit of fresh bait before settling in for a late arvo session.


I will quickly report that the squid fishing has continued to be very consistent. Most of our local grounds at Safety Beach, Tootgarook, Blairgowrie and Sorrento have fished well. Spring however, often heralds the big breeding squid entering the bay so I look forward to hopefully bringing you some more action on this front over the next couple of months.

Looking Ahead

If you’re not already, it’s time to start looking over the snapper gear. Check what needs re-spooling, how’s the hook supply, what leader do you have left? The annual spring run of snapper into our bay and port is probably the biggest event on the fishing calendar for most of those who live in greater Melbourne.

Each year is different and each year the fish hold and congregate in different areas. Who knows what this one will bring but without doubt the first spring fish will be caught in the next month. And I’m looking forward to every second of the action. Bring on the snapper!

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