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It’s snapper time – Part I
  |  First Published: September 2015



September is upon us, the Teatree is starting to blossom, the wattle is flowering and some diver who wishes to remain anonymous just reported that he personally saw a school of snapper 10,000 thick swim through the RIP just last week.

Arrh, it’s that time of year again when the strangest of stories are told from angler to angler and as entertaining as they are, one thing is for sure, the snapper are beginning to arrive.

Before getting all excited and just jumping straight in though, it is the time to do some maintenance if you haven’t already.

CHECK THE BOAT

Boats that have been garaged all winter will require a good look over before dropping straight into the water on a busy Saturday morning.

If boats haven’t been attended too, problems can arise and I’m sure you really don’t want to be towed in by the coast guard on your first outing.

If you’re handy with boat motors, a good check over yourself won’t go astray, otherwise, it is best to take it to your local dealer and have it serviced. That way you can head out with a head full of confidence you’ll get back at the end of the day.

It is not just about the motor either, check your bungs as the seals could have dried up and cracked, check the boats hull for any gouges or scratches that might need repairing.

Then there is the maintenance inside the boat with organisation of items, checking your flares to see if they are still in date and making sure your inflatable life jackets been serviced.

When you think about it, there is quite a lot of things you can check and it is all worth doing for your safety.

TRAILER MAINTENANCE

Though you might have checked the boat, the trailer also needs a good going over for any faults it could have sustained from the prior season. Though you can check your trailer at home, a more thorough check is to take the boat to a local ramp, launch it and then inspect the trailer in the car park. This will allow you to really look over everything such as rollers or skids that might need replacing, the jockey wheel that could be worn, the winch strap webbing that could be deteriorating and you might also want to check your number plate to see if it is secure or not.

Checking the tow coupling and breaks is also worth doing as well as inspecting the welding on the winch stand for cracks due to the stress it is put under when a boat is attached.

Realistically it only takes an hour or so to do this and could prevent an accident from occurring down the track.

ROD MAINTENANCE

Fishing rods also need regular maintenance as they are often tossed in the corner of the garage, bashed and bumped around when being stowed for the off season. This can cause damage to guides and the blanks themselves so it always pays to inspect your rods.

Blanks can be looked over with a fine eye and loaded by hand to see if the blank itself has sustained any damage while checking the guides and tips that could have cracked ceramic inserts. To inspect the guides, get a cloth and hold one end and thread the other through each guide, then with your other hand grab the other end. In a sawing type motion run the cloth over the ceramic guide under tension. If it slides through free from catching, the guides are fine. If you notice it does catch, then you should replace the guide by doing it yourself or taking the rod to a rod repairer.

REEL MAINTENANCE

Reels bear the brunt of the hardship over previous snapper seasons and while they are in contact with the saltwater weekly if not daily, after being stowed for the winter can have corroded and or seized if they weren’t cleaned correctly at the end of last season.

Reels always need regular maintenance from oiling and greasing the internal gears to checking the roller bearings and even the bail arm. Though servicing reels yourself might sound like fun, there are dozens of tiny springs and screws when if lost can do more harm than good. Ideally, if you’re is in need of a service, post it back to its manufacture for a full service for a small fee and have it done right.

Your fishing line will also require replacing if it is still spooled with last season’s. Monofilament line becomes weak due to UV exposure after 3 months. That means that if your fishing line has been on the reel in the garage for the entire winter, and the chances of it breaking while fighting a fish are increased dramatically. At the start of each season it always pays to re-spool your reels with new line and for what it costs to do so, no fish is worth losing because of a few dollars.

TERMINAL TACKLE

Though it is important to inspect the boat, trailer, rods and reels, your terminal tackle and items in your tackle box will also require a going over. Rusty hooks and swivels along with old line is not a good way to begin a successful snapper season.

Once again, before heading out, open the lid on your tackle box, pull out all of the old, damaged and rusty tackle and replace with all new gear to set you up for the season. As easy as it is to say so, replacing old tackle doesn’t have to be expensive either. In the era of digital technology, most of us are connected on social media. Purchasing new tackle is as simple as waiting for a local tackle store to have a sale, then go out and stock up. Remember though, just because its cheap doesn’t mean it is good quality. Do the research, know your brands and buy them throughout the winter when they come on sale.

Facts

Snapper season in a nutshell

SEPTEMBERFishing is a little slow but worth persisting on first light with a tide change.

Port Phillip Bay: Early season, fish around Mt Eliza, Frankston, Outer Artificial Reefs.

Western Port: Long Reef, Boultins Channel, Bouchier channel, Spit Point, Corinella.

OCTOBERFishing is a more consistent but still persisting on first light with a tide change.

Port Phillip Bay: Mornington, Frankston, Seaford, Carrum, Chelsea, Sandringham and Brighton.

Western Port: North Arm (Lysaghts), Joes Island, Corinella, Lang Lang, Mosquito Channel, Western Entrance.

NOVEMBERFish are feeding very actively. When barometer crashes, they are tough. Good bite times are first and last light.

Port Phillip Bay: Everywhere – during strong westerly blow, fish in close off Seaford, Frankston, Mt Martha

Western Port: Everywhere – for big fish, fish during the night in 5 meters of water out from Coronet Bay.

DECEMBERFish begin spawning and go quiet halfway through the month. Best bite time will be late afternoon with rising barometer.

Port Phillip Bay: Mornington, Frankston, Seaford, Carrum, Chelsea, Aspendale, Blackrock, Sandringham and Brighton.

Western Port: North Arm (Lysaghts), Western Entrance, Corinella, Coronet Bay, Rhyll and the Corals.

JANURARYFishing is quite slow with the fish biting every aggressively every few days.

Port Phillip Bay: Mornington, Mt Eliza, Frankston, Mt Martha.

Western Port: North Arm, Western Entrance.

FEBURARYFishing is quite slow with the fish biting every aggressively every few days.

Port Phillip Bay: Mornington, Mt Eliza, Frankston, Mt Martha.

Western Port: North Arm, Western Entrance.

MARCHBig fish are still about in smaller numbers. Best bite time is around a tide change.

Port Phillip Bay: Mt Martha

Western Port: Top of Long Reef, Sandy Point, The Corals, Western Entrance.

Facts

Author’s recommended tackle box

Western Port

HOOKSMustad Demon Circle 6/0
SWIVELSMustad Rolling Swivel 1/0
LEADERSurecatch Fluorocarbon 60LB + 80LB
RIGRunning sinker rig tied from above components.
ACCESSORIESEzy Rig sinker clip, soft lumo beads, sinkers (6oz-20oz), brag mat, scales, long-nose pliers.

Port Phillip Bay

HOOKSMustad Big Red 5/0
SWIVELSMustad Rolling Swivel #4
LEADERSurecatch Fluorocarbon 16LB
ACCESSORIESSinkers (Size 0 – 1 ball), elastic bands for rod foregrip, soft lumo beads, brag mat, scales, long-nose pliers.

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