The calm before the storm
  |  First Published: September 2016

I’m not going to lie, the last month has been a very testing month for the recreational angler. We have had quite a bit of rain, the bluefin out west have been red-hot, but when we have been able to get out the fishing has been a little bit tough, even for this time of year! But, there is a silver lining. The reports that we have seen are very promising and everything is pointing towards a pretty good start to the snapper season!


I will open this month’s report on the snapper. The top end of Western Port is an early snapper season anglers’ dream. It’s generally pretty shallow, and there are various nice little drop offs that provide great cover for these fish as they sit and wait for conditions to reach the right point to begin spawning.

The shallow flats around Lang Lang and Bouchiers Channel get the most out of the little sun that we get this time of year, boosting the water temperature up just that little bit, which tends to cause this area of the port to fire first for the snapper.

Like I mentioned earlier, it has been a little bit tough so far, but the fish that have come in have been a size class of fish worth making the effort to catch. Jason Varadi took advantage of one of the few days we have had with glass calm conditions and spent a few pleasant hours on the waters through the top end. Jason hit the water armed with fresh calamari rings and was rewarded with a stonker of a snapper that pulled the scales down to 7kg. A beautiful looking fish and great way to open the account for the season.

Joes Island has just about been the pick of the spots for a snapper over the last month, and I would predict that this will be the case for the coming months too. Gaven Methers, who is a regular to these reports, had the family out for a few hours and was another who took advantage of one of those calm days that we were presented with. Gaven’s young bloke, Brodie, once again taught his old man a thing or two and boated a lovely fish that weighed in at 6kg. Once again it was the fresh calamari that got the job done.

Harry Sellars is another local who enjoyed the calm waters around Joes Island and spent a recent Friday afternoon in search of a big red. Harry spent a little bit of time with the sounder trying to mark up a few fish, but once he found them, it didn’t take too long for them to fire with Harry boating the first fish with in the first hour of baits being in the water.

Staff members Dave Kennedy and Kallan Braid-Ball took the boat for a spin in the North Arm and also found some success, which is really promising as the north arm tends to fire a little bit after the top end, with Kallan finding himself up tight to a really nice 5.6kg of really fresh looking early snapper. The plan was to spend a little bit of time catching a couple of calamari for bait, but when the squid didn’t want to play the game, they resorted to the smelly old pilchards they had thrown in the boat for berley and the snapper didn’t seem to mind at all!


Apart from the snapper, the calamari have been the other consistent player over the last month. There has been some exceptionally nice specimens sitting on the Tyabb Bank, and there are quite a lot of anglers taking advantage. It’s a great time of year to target the squid, because we start to see some real jumbos, but there is still quite a lot of good bait size squid around to pop a few in the freezer ready for the snapper season to really kick into gear.

Dave Osmond was one who found one of these jumbo squid on the Tyabb Bank in a recent trip. It’s as simple as having a really good drift and just covering plenty of ground. I prefer to be casting squid jigs in sizes 3.0 and 3.5 depending on tide, but don’t discount having a baited jig out the back as plenty of monstrous squid are taken using this method.

White and red squid jigs have been the standout colours, but it pays to have a few different colours in the box as squid are notorious for picking one colour and it can be a long day if that colour is not in your arsenal!

This time of year is really exciting, as you can almost smell the snapper in the air and we wait with anticipation on what kind of snapper season we will be dealt. Good luck in the coming month, and keep those reports coming!

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