Carrum Boat Ramp is located on the banks of the mighty Patterson River. What makes it appealing to most snapper fishos are the facilities it has on offer; with bait, food, drinks and petrol all readily available.
With four double or triple lane boat ramps and plenty of parking, it is the biggest boat ramp on the bay. While you’re there, drop in and have a chat with local legends Trevor and Lynette Hogan, who manage the facility. They will be more than happy to help you in any way needed.
The prime time for snapper, as we all know, is November and December, but don’t discard the months of September and October. The fish this time of year may not be in as big a numbers as what they are later on in the year, but what they lack in numbers, they definitely make up for in size. Early morning or late afternoon sessions, with a tide change (which is a key factor), will double your chances in hooking up to a few big reds.
A lightweight 4-8kg spin outfit is the perfect match for snapper fishing in Port Phillip Bay. Purpose-built snapper rods married up with a spin reel from a 4000-6000 size, spooled with 15lb mono are ideal for bait fishing. If you prefer to cast soft plastics, then a 3000 sized spin reel with a 3kg-6kg graphite rod is the go to combo spooled with 10lb braid.
A running sinker rig is the most common way used to catch snapper in the bay. A small no. 1 ball sinker running down to a twin hook rig of 5/0 hooks works well. A good abrasive resistant leader, like some of the Sunline models, in 40lb will help stop fish bite offs and running you around structure, but still supple and soft for tying up rigs.
It always pays to take a variety of baits out, because one day they will hit one bait, and the next it’ll be something totally different. Pilchards, silver whiting, yellowtail scad and squid are all up there as the go-to snapper baits. For the lure brigade, it’s hard to go past the squidgy range of soft plastics with 110mm and 145mm flick baits in pillie and evil minnow – all taking their fair share of fish throughout the season.
A quality sounder, like any of the new Lowrance units, is an essential tool and your best friend when it comes to snapper fishing. Have a plan in mind as to what depth of water your want to start fishing. If fish are being caught along the 16m line, then head straight out until you hit that depth and sound along that line until you find fish. You don’t want to just throw the anchor out and hope the fish come to you – you want to go find the fish, and start fishing once they’re located.
Always check the weather reports before going out. Port Phillip Bay can be a very dangerous place, when the weather turns sour – so take care. It can really chop up; so if you do get stuck out there when it gets ugly, always attack the waves on a 45º angle – don’t go over the waves head on, as the nose of your boat can go under and take in a lot of water.
Berley is the difference between an average trip and an awesome trip – but don’t overdo it. A little berley often is better than a lot of berley less. Snapper are grazing fish, and a little berley will often keep the fish around and wanting more food, rather than filling up on lots and not wanting to eat at all. Remember this tip, and watch your snapper fishing results sky rocket.Reads: 369