After a cold October and cooler water tempertaures than the norm for the start of November, the past weeks seemed more like early spring, but when the fish turned on, the quality of snapper caught was nothing short of sensational. Many anglers found fish in the 7-9kg size and more than just the occasional fish over 9kg.
Best of all, as we slide into December, it seems that we could be shaping up for a really good snapper bite right up until the big man in the red suit slides down a chimney with lots of new fishing gear for everyone – this is great news, as I’m sure we can all agree, there’s nothing better than getting stuck into some crazy snapper action on a hot December day.
You have to wonder when the land-based snapper fishing will slow up, with snapper still being caught in good numbers from both Beaumaris and Mordialloc piers throughout November. The simple formula is a bit of wind from the southwest and the fish turn up.
In the boats, fishing started slow in November, but the past few weeks have really heated up on all the known areas such as the Hump off Mordialloc and all through the surrounding 14m line. Out off Ricketts Point, the 16m line and out wider at the Gasso have been very good with a mix of fish taken in the 2-5kg size. There’s no doubting that this season will see more, bigger snapper in the 6-9kg getting in on the action. A lot of these bigger fish have been taken on bigger baits like squid heads and big silver whiting or garfish.
Back in closer, along the reef edge between Ricketts Point and Black Rock has been a great fall back location with lots of 1-3kg snapper on offer, with more than occasional 4-6kg fish. These keep the lure and bait fishers on their toes. Best of all, this area fishes well when its rough, so you don’t have to travel too far if you’re launching at Mordialloc or Half Moon Bay.
The great news over the past week has been the success anglers have had on soft plastics. While they’re nothing new, they’re holding their own this season and account for some really big snapper. On several occasions, they’ve also been the food of choice when bait anglers have struggled, especially on those hot, calm days. Interestingly, one of the standouts has been the new Storm So-Run Joker Shad series of plastics, this paddle-tail swims at super slow speeds and the snapper love them when fished on a really slow retrieve.
We’ve also been having some great success over the past weeks with a newer style of fishing that is proving to be deadly on snapper. It involves using 40-60g metal jigs on light rods to vertically jig over the schools of snapper. One thing’s for sure – they love it. It allows you drive around sounding up fish then dropping on top of them. If they don’t bite after a few drops you can move to the next patch.
With the warmer weather of December, anglers will also turn to the whiting. It’s still early, but I’ve heard of a few scattered fish along Ricketts Point, so fingers crossed we see a few fish in the coming months.
For the land-based brigade, the sandy break wall, the Rock Groynes and up at Brighton breakwall have all produced snapper during the good onshore blows. Boat fishing has really shined over the past few weeks with lots of good snapper fishing on offer in this part of the bay. The shallow reef areas in 6-10m of water off Brighton produce great fishing at night.
Out wider along the edge of the shipping land and up toward the Fawkner Beacon, there have been huge schools of snapper on the chew. A lot of afternoons have seen big numbers of boats fishing and getting into great numbers of fish. The interesting thing is the reports coming from a lot of anglers that they’re only sounding up one or two fish, then anchoring up berleying hard. Within minutes they’re greeted with screaming drags and bent rods.
Warmer conditions over the past weeks and cleared up water have made for some ideal squid conditions. Some anglers find patches of calamari between Green Point and North Road. I’ve also had some good reports of decent salmon schools beginning to pop up over the past few weeks, which will hopefully continue with a warm summer, and then hopefully roll into some kingfish starting to mix with the salmon.
All the rain over the past few months has proven to be a good thing. The top end of the bay has had exceptional fishing over the past weeks. The numbers have been great, but so is the overall size of the fish being taken, with multiple fish over 10kg in weight and too many fish in the 6-9kg bracket to mention.
Best of all is the spread of fish. Those anglers putting in the effort on the shallow inshore areas produce the goods. It’s been a bit rough during the night, while the boats fishing out wider in the deep water along the edge of the channel find the bigger schools of fish.
We’re back in December and it’s time for Christmas. It was bit of a slower start to the season with a super cold winter, but it seems we’re on the verge of an exceptional few months of fishing, as always happens after a pile of rain. Have a great and fish-filled Christmas.
Nikki with a cracking 8.5kg snapper on a Storm soft plastic off Ricketts Point.
Jason Farugia with one of several 10kg+ snapper he’s put customers onto this season.Reads: 149