Challenge of the month: land-based snapper
  |  First Published: July 2016

There’s nothing like a change in the weather to stir up the fishing, and this has certainly happened on the bay over the last month or so. Persistent onshore westerly and north-westerly winds have limited angling opportunities for many of the Bay anglers. Substantial rainfall has also given the inshore areas a real shake up, with substantial flow entering the Bay from the drains and rivers along the coast.

Many anglers have welcomed the recent rain and weather, especially the dedicated crew of land-based anglers that target snapper from the piers and rocks during these conditions. The environmental factors can be a little challenging to say the least for these fishers, but the rewards are worth it.

Mornington Pier is probably the most productive location for snapper anglers during these times, as it has easy and relatively safe access to deeper water, and a substantial reef at its feet. The snapper come in close to feed on these areas during bad weather. I have had reports of some nice fish landed from the pier up to 6kg in weight over the past couple of weeks, and more commonly in the 3-5kg range. Successful baits have been varied, but most of the reports I have received indicate that anglers have used strip baits of salmon, fresh squid and tuna fillet to great success.

Other productive areas have been from the various rock platforms along the Mount Martha rocks, especially Bradford Road and Hearn Road. Frankston and Seaford Piers have also produced a few nice snapper as well, as have the piers further north in the bay, especially Mordialloc and Brighton.

It’s worth noting that safety is paramount while fishing at all times. My advice is to always fish with a mate or two if you are going to brave the bad weather and try for a land-based winter snapper. You will notice if you cast your eye over the gear these crew are carrying, that long gaffs and nets are very important, as well as surf rods, all to help land your prize when it comes in close. No fish is worth risking your life for, but the right gear will make things a lot easier when it comes to the money shot.

The average weather has also been ideal for anglers who chase salmon and other predators. Most of the popular land-based haunts have produced salmon, as well as many of the open beaches along the eastern shoreline. They are normally very easy to spot by the presence of birds, and when they break the surface, and will take a wide variety of lures, flies and baits when they are feeding. A real hot spot at the moment is nearby to the mouths of rivers, creeks and drains, especially the mouth of the Patterson River, Kananook Creek and Martha Cove.

The Patto has also produced some thumping bream; especially for bait fishers fishing close to drains and run-off. I have had reports of some ripper fish up to 1.4kg weighed in at Launching Way, and have had a few sneaky reports of mulloway landed as well. The mulloway action seems to be a bit later this year, but stay tuned for next month’s report. I would expect the resident perch population to fire up in this system as well over the next month.

The late season whiting fishing happening locally seems to have moved further south for the time being, but I have still seen a few anglers landing some nice fish from Mornington Pier. Fresh mussels and pipis are the gun bait.

The squid fishing has been a bit challenging lately, with dirty water and plenty of wind, but small windows of calmer evenings and nights have produced some bigger than average squid, especially for the land-based and kayak guys. Personally, I have been doing best on brighter coloured jigs lately.

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