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Calamari ring a bell? They’re great on snapper!
  |  First Published: November 2016



I think it’s fair to say that the snapper switch has been flicked. Reports are coming in thick and fast. Pin pointing a prime location to fish at this time of the month is challenging. There are fish being caught right throughout the Port but of all the locations, the most consistent areas are the North Arm and in particular just off the edge of the Middle Spit.

A fair amount of fish have been located around Buoy 29 in recent weeks. Those fishing just out from the Cowes Pier are doing extremely well on the run-out tide. Snapper to 7kg have been a common catch and 3-5kg models are likely for those on a quick fish, not a long session.

The mud flats around Rhyll, Observation Point and in Coronet Bay are fishing very well with the Corals also firing up in recent weeks. There have been a lot of smaller fish in this area, fishing off Observation Point (S38 27.122 E145 20.176) in around 8-9m of water. In saying that, there’s been a significant amount of fish caught from along the drop off just out from Elisabeth Island (S38 25.267 E 145 22.313). Fishing with fresh calamari rings has been the key.

The Corinella area is still producing nice snapper and will continue to do so until the end of next month, then it’ll be about pinkies rather than solid snapper. When fishing the Corinella area, the run-out tide seems to be right bite time at present. Of course, before dropping the anchor as soon as you arrive at your destination, always have a good look around, mark a few fish and position yourself in their direction. As long as you put out a spread of good baits, they’ll be on in no time.

Joshua Western from the Boronia Sport Fishing Club managed a whopper fish from the Corinella region that weighed 5.97kg. Shaun Furtiere reported that the fish in the Corinella region have been nothing but spectacular. On a recent trip, Shaun had long-time customer Colin Sires aboard. Early in the morning, Colin pull aboard a cracking snapper that went 5.3kg and took a calamari ring.

Although it might be all about snapper, the calamari scene has also been very rewarding for those looking amongst the weedy banks. Tankerton has been producing wicked calamari as well as the Cat Bay and Flinders areas. Drift fishing has been the preferred method with jigs in the 3.0 and 3.5 sizes producing the goods. Colour is also a hot topic – jigs containing a red foil belly have been the most consistent catchers. Pure white coloured jigs have also caught a fair share too.

Flinders Pier has been shut off for the past few weeks from halfway along, but has since re-opened. Anglers can fish from the end once again. The calamari pulled from this pier always astounds me. So far this season, it’s really stood out as the best platform to catch calamari from the Port.

I recently dropped into the pier, not for a cast but a look, and found it was standing room only. Never have I seen so many bobby cork floats situated 10m out from the pier. Despite the angling pressure, there was no shortage of calamari caught by those fishing with baited jigs and artificial jigs. High tide has yielded the most success. Although the bite has been quite good during the daylight hours, at night it’s been even better.

OFFSHORE

The offshore scene has kicked off. Anglers poke their heads out the front in search of mako. It’s still quite early, but there have been a few blue sharks caught along with great gummy sharks off the bottom. Most of this action has come from between the Western Entrance and Cape Schank. While the edge of the offshore reef extends out into 30m of water along this section, drifting along edges has proved to be productive.

Over the coming months, this fishery will really open up with school sharks, sevengill sharks and kingfish available. One species that gets little recognition and is in abundance offshore, is the humble tiger flathead. Drift fishing for flatties is the preferred method. A simple paternoster rig gets it done.

At times they can be a challenge to find in any number, but areas such as the Flinders Bank at the Western Entrance, the Eastern Entrance and in 20m of water along the coast near Kilcunda. These three locations are all worthy of a look. There are plenty of fish that can be caught with ease.

A LITTLE ON THE BEACHES

With snapper still on the chew, fishing the surf along our beaches this time of year is quite productive if you’re keen to put in effort. The salmon might be long gone but there are still yellow-eye mullet, pinkie snapper and gummy sharks to be caught. Although all of the beaches contain yellow-eye mullet to around 500g, fish for them with a paternoster rig with two Mustad Bloodworm size #10 longshank hooks and little pieces of pipi for bait. Cast into the shore break. Berley is a must to bring them on the bite in the gutter.

Gummy sharks are a popular affair with a lot of the beaches producing. To catch gummy sharks from the surf requires research, particularly when they’ll be most active. This is usually during the lead up to a full moon and in conjunction with a high tide. Beaches such a Williamsons, Kilcunda, Lang Lang, Stockyard Point and Point Leo are the prime locations to give it a shot.

Don’t be surprised if you’re left with a bite off too – there are some toothy critters about. Don’t go armed too light when targeting gummies. Tying rigs from 60, 80 and even 100lb at times should see you land the toothies as well as sizeable gummies.

There’s nothing that can disappoint anglers at this time of year except the weather keeping them at bay. There’s always plenty of time to get out on the water and amongst the fish, just make sure you plan nice and early. Have a backup plan if the wind doesn’t play its role.

1

Colin Sires with his magnificent red.

Photo courtesy of Shaun Furtiere.

2

Shaun went out to fish with his mate Robert Coillet and managed some magnificent reds from the Corinella area.

Photo courtesy of Shaun Furtiere.

3

Wanting calamari? Now’s the time to hit the banks for big ones.

Photo courtesy of Shaun Furtiere.

4

There is no shortage of calamari throughout the year, if you know where to look. Its not hard ­– a squid jig, high tide and weedy bank will make an XOS calamari.

Photo courtesy of Shaun Furtiere.

5

If you’re in search of calamari and land-based, you can’t go past the Flinders Pier. Just get there early to reserve your spot.

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