Snapper right on schedule
  |  First Published: November 2015

Much like the sudden onset of the cooler months six months or so ago, the beginnings of the warmer days has come with a bang.

At the beginning of last month, during and after the AFL Grand Final weekend, the bay’s anglers were treated to some days in the mid-30s, which really gave the enthusiasm of many anglers a real kick in the pants. And although the action has proven to be a little slow getting underway, the early signs and reports are pointing towards a great late spring and summer ahead for the bays anglers.

While it is becoming a realistic year round prospect for many of the bay’s more dedicated anglers, this and the coming months are all about snapper in the bay. No other fish has such an iconic following amongst us Victorians, and the annual spawning migration gets us all excited at this time of year. I know, I’ve said it before in these pages, but if you don’t get pumped for a snapper fish at this time of year, I’d strongly suggest that you take up another hobby unrelated to fishing.

Early reports have been good, but not fantastic, but I reckon that the numbers of anglers has been slightly less than usual, and this can be attributed to the sensational and prolonged tuna action occurring right along the Victorian Coast. There’s no doubt that many anglers have remained focused on this iconic fish, and why not. Long may this trend continue, it really is great to see!

For those anglers who have stayed and put in the time on the bay, the most consistent reports have been coming from 14-18m out from Seaford, Carrum and Chelsea, and also wider out from Mordialloc. The wider marks out from Mornington and Mount Martha have also been turning over a few fish as well. Some of the snapper that have been landed have been some real crackers as well, including two fish around the 9kg mark weighed in at Launching Way. Great fish, and in top condition as well, which is a great sign for the rest of the season.

Many of the other snapper reported have been 3-4kg in size and also quite a few school-sized snapper coming from the deeper marks as well. All of the anglers that I have spoken to or that have sent me reports have been sounding large schools of bait right throughout the bay, which is a great sign for the bay’s food chain, but can make the reds a little tricky, and this happened last year. Last month, the water temperatures were still pretty low, but expect this to change fairly quickly, especially if the hot conditions during early October prevail during the later parts of the month as well.

Once again, the land-based anglers have been enjoying some good success on the snapper over the past month. The lack of recent rain has kept the water clearer than normal and this has kept prime feeding windows in shallow water to the more rugged conditions when the water is more stirred up. Just like the reports coming in from the boating anglers, the guys from the stones and piers are having better and more regular success using fresh quality baits and fishing during prime bite periods.

The squid fishing has been sensational, especially further south in the bay, but some better than average specimens have been turning up around our local reefs as well, especially for those anglers targeting the bigger models with larger jigs. Don’t be shy to try a little deeper and fish a little slower at this time of year, especially if your normal shallow honey holes are not producing.

More of the bread and butter favourites will become more regular captures, especially as the bay continues to warm up towards summer, and to this end the good old salmon schools just keep on keeping on around Mornington and Mount Martha, as they have done all through the winter months as well. Big schools have been smashing bait for long periods of time, especially out from Fishies Beach and have provided lots of sport and fun for local anglers. This general area has also been producing some nice flatties as well, especially for the kayak anglers, and some better that average pinkies are coming from the reefs nearby and also those further north between Mornington and Frankston.

The bream fishing in the Patterson River has been great over the past month. The fish in the canals probably get more fishing pressure these days, and are a little harder to catch as a general rule, especially if you count the number you can see, but can’t catch. The bait fishers have accounted for some nice bream of late, and expect the local mulloway diehards to start hitting the river in earnest over the coming months. Stay tuned for those reports.

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