You couldn’t ask for a better beginning to snapper season with fish going bananas right throughout the Port.
Traditionally, snapper season doesn’t really get going until mid September but this year the fish began to fire earlier. Some cracking fish were reported throughout the first half of September with some pulling the scales to 8kg. Generally there tends to be a good spattering of bigger fish early on in the piece and it is great to see some models being caught already. Plenty of other fish have also been taken with many in the 3-6kg bracket. What is best about fish firing early in the piece is that it gives you a good indication on where to be trying your luck.
Of the most productive locations, Elizabeth Island, Corinella, Tenby Channel and The Corals have all be producing some nice models. Most of the action has been two hours either side of the high tide change. In saying that, there has been a significant bite period right throughout the run-out tide at the Corals. Flathead, salmon and small gummy sharks have also been a common catch too.
Personally, the Corinella area is a top choice as the three muddy channels that run either side of Pelican and Snapper rock funnel snapper to the upper reaches of the Port. Anglers can focus on these channels and usually do quite well.
Shaun Furtiere from Think Big Charters has been out and about and while not set in snapper mode just yet, Shaun has already managed to bag a few. While out on an after hours gummy shark mission, Client Nick was stoked to have a lovely snapper engulf a fresh squid bait.
In saying that, a few nights prior to that fish Shaun was out in search of gummy sharks and managed a very nice fish for client Brendan. This gummy also took a fresh calamari bait.
Though the Western Entrance is also beginning to produce snapper, it is not always the easiest area to fish. Strong tidal variation prevents smaller craft from fishing the area as it is not always the easiest of locations to get the anchor to dig in. However, if you are planning on fishing the Entrance, ensure you have the right anchor and enough rope and chain to do so.
Due to the tide variance, the best fishing is around an hour either side of the slack tide. During this time, snapper can move about more frequently and it doesn’t take them long to find your baits.
This month though, things are really starting to ramp up and by ramp up I mean, the ramps are becoming increasingly busy as you’d expect when the annual snapper have arrived. Unfortunately, these busy times mean more anglers and boat users all trying to get out at the same time so I can only stress that you either get to the ramp as early as you can or just take a deep breath, get in line and relax.
Though it is all about snapper at the moment, calamari are also on in a big way for those wanting to wait until the snapper are really on the chew. While the calamari are about in the numbers they are, now is a good chance to catch them both for food and for bait for the snapper season. The high tides have been the better time to find them up on the shallow banks.
I recently headed out with Nathan Peterson and did quite a scouting mission to find some calamari. Unfortunately we fished the bottom end of the tide so it was hard to find them in any numbers but as the tide increased, they came on the bite quite well. We fished the bottom end of the Middle Spit and around Tankerton and providing you get your drift line right over the weed beds; you’ll find them rather quickly.
I tend to focus on the edge of the weed during the run-in tide in around 4-5m of water and flick size 3.0 jigs about. Approaching the top of the high tide, try and work further onto the shallow bank and reduce the jig size to a 2.5 as you’ll only be fishing in 2-3m.
Although many anglers have itchy feet and want snapper action, keep in mind that snapper are not always as predictable as first thought. September and October are still challenging months mainly due to the up and down barometer whenever a cold front comes over the state to drop some more rain.
When this occurs, they typically go off the bite and of course, you have to try everything in your ability to try and coax them to your bait.
One sure way of doing this is by using the freshest bait possible and now is the time to be on the Port catching it for future snapper sessions.
If you are looking for locations to try and find something worth using for fresh bait you can always hedge your bets on the Tyabb Bank for calamari, Sunken Island for garfish, the Middle Spit for mullet and the submarine for silver trevally, yakkas and slimey mackerel.
To be successful, it only takes a berley bucket full of fine pellets and mashed pilchards and a paternoster rig with size 10 long shank hooks to get the job done.
Although it is all about snapper and will be for the next few months, there is plenty of finishing options out there. This is the prime to be on the Port and as long as the weather plays its part, it will be fun for all.
Photo supplied by Shaun Furtiere from Think Big Charters.
Photo supplied by Shaun Furtiere from Think Big Charters.Reads: 347