Snapper reach a crescendo
  |  First Published: December 2015

Although we have experienced the normal fluctuations in weather during the spring months on the bay, conditions have been very mild for the most part. Long periods without rain have coincided with calm and clear fishing and boating conditions on the bay, especially during the weekends when the bays anglers and their families have taken full advantage.

While the majority of the bay’s anglers are and will be focused on snapper over the coming months, the recent favourable conditions are a great way to introduce new comers to the sport of fishing and to our great bay, especially the kids. I’ve had my little screamers out on the water over the past few weeks on the weekends and they have been having a ball catching squid, pinkies and flathead on lures and soft plastics.

The bays more serious anglers are well and truly focused on snapper right now, and a great example of the anglers devotion to this iconic sport fish is the annual Snapper Point Angling Club Tea Tree festival, which is held over Cup weekend each year. For many of the bays anglers this weekend marks the beginning of their serious snapper assault for the year, and it is a real credit to the organizers and sponsors each year.

With competitor numbers being down a little on last year, the event was still a huge success with 1,523 competitors in total, including 717 teams. Of these, 159 were junior anglers. The new Victorian Snapper Champion for the heaviest snapper in the Open division was won by John Close from Boronia with a 12.7kg fish from Western Port. The heaviest junior fish was won by Natalie Bills from Willow Grove with a 9.51kg fish. Thee were three random boat prizes given out to lucky winners of secret weights.

The three heaviest snapper for the comp all came from Western Port, which all weighed over 10kg, one snapper taken from PPB was just below the third heaviest fish, but still over the magic 10kg mark. In total, 1360 snapper were weighed in for the weekend, of which 947 came from Western Port.

Still on snapper, and I received more and more consistent and encouraging reports from all over the bay, but especially along our eastern shoreline, things have been staring to heat up. While many anglers are still reporting that the snapper are very finicky and touchy, the reward for effort is certainly there for many anglers. Early morning and late afternoons and evenings have been best, especially when these coincide with a tide change. Employing a wide selection of baits is also important, and you should also be prepared to change your go to bait, even from trip to trip.

The importance of using and trusting your sounder is also more valuable than ever, it is really worth the time to have a good look around before you stop and drop the pick. Be prepared to have a good look around before you set up camp. Trolling lures can be a great way to cover water during this time, and accounts for plenty of snapper at the same time.

Most of the wider marks up to 19-20m have been producing fish, but better and more consistent reports have been coming from 12-15m, especially in the more reefy areas. Pilchards and silver whiting have been the most productive baits, and fresh gars, squid and salmon are all worth a try as well.

I would expect the Frankston to Mornington area to really fire over the next month, and the snapper to move further south towards Mount Martha closer to and after Christmas.

For those looking for something a little different, I have received some reports of whiting being taken around Mornington and Frankston already, which is a great sign of things to come.

Resident schools of salmon have been patrolling the shores right along out coast, and won’t go anywhere in a hurry, especially while there’s still plenty of bait in the bay.

Strangely, the squid fishing has been a little slow of late, but I have started to see a few better sized models showing up on the local reefs over the last couple of weeks. Much like a few years ago, green and brown and more natural jigs seem to be favoured by most anglers at the moment.

Lastly, and most excitingly, is reports of local kingfish that I have received of late. Anglers in the know, and those who know the history of PPB will not be surprised, but encounters and sightings of larger kingies in our local waters are becoming more common. I know a few very dedicated anglers (including me) who are very keen to crack the local kingy code, hopefully I’ll have more to report next month!

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