Snapper are sticking around for summer
  |  First Published: December 2016

Mild weather has continued for the most part over the last month in the bay. We still haven’t had the hot days that we are used to at this time of year. We all know this can change pretty quickly, and soon we’ll all be whining that the weather is too hot.

The spin off from the mild weather so far this year is that water temperatures are still fairly low. This also means that the inshore areas and reefs are still fishing very well, and the food chain in these inshore areas is very strong. Anglers fishing PPB over the next couple of months can expect this pattern to continue for some time to come.

Much like last month, there have been many reports of plentiful snapper from further north in the bay, especially in the shallower areas out from Mordialloc, Black Rock, Sandringham and beyond. There are lots of snapper in our neck of the woods at the moment – you might just have to work a little harder for them.

The land-based anglers have once again been doing very well off the local piers and rocks, as they can effectively fish when the snapper come right in close to feed during rough weather. I reckon this year I’ve seen more big snapper caught off the rocks and piers than in any other season.

Any location close to prominent reef and deep water is worth a go during and just after an onshore blow. Mornington Pier, Canadian Bay, Linley Point, and various locations along the Mount Martha Cliffs have all been reliable locations. Fresh oily baits like yakkas and tuna fillets are preferred by many anglers fishing these areas, as well as fresh squid and the good old pilchard.

Anglers fishing from boats, when the weather permits, have reported mixed results, especially from the wider marks. Most of the success seems to be coming early and late in the day. The inshore reefs and areas around prominent structure seem to be the pick of the bunch at the moment, with anglers concentrating on these areas.

The Frankston reefs and wrecks have been good in recent weeks as well as the inshore scallop and rubble beds out from Seaford. A key depth has been 7-9m of water for many anglers, especially those fishing early in the day before daybreak.

The close proximity to shallower reef areas and structure has also brought some quality snapper and decent pinkies into the sights of lure anglers, fishing from smaller boats and kayaks. Some kayak anglers have also done well early and late in the season trolling bibbed minnows for reef dwelling snapper, and also larger nomadic fish traveling in mid water.

Lure anglers can effectively use their sounders and electric motors to scan and cover wide areas and cast ahead of the boat’s drift. Soft plastics in 3-7” are the choice of most, but vibration style lures, especially soft vibes, are also very effective.

Recently I’ve found that 4-5” baitfish profile plastics have been the best choice. Late afternoon and dusk sessions have been the most productive. The best outfit for the job of catching larger reds will be a 3-6kg spin rod filled with 10-15lb braid. Tie on a couple of rod lengths of 15lb leader and a 1/4oz jighead and you’re set to go.

Slow jigging and micro-jigging are really yet to take off in PPB, but a few anglers have been enjoying some success of late in the deeper areas baiting small slow pitch and fall jigs, and tempting inactive snapper. This is a method that needs more testing in PPB, and is very effective elsewhere in Australia.

The strength of the inshore food chain has also had a flow-on effect over the last month with squid numbers returning in earnest to our local areas. Many of the popular spots are really loading up in recent weeks. Other forage species have joined in the party as well, especially big schools of salmon that have really been carving up the bait close to shore.

Saving the best for last, the numbers of quality whiting being reported in out local areas has also been very encouraging. Much like the trend with the snapper fishing over the past few months, the best reports have been coming from land-based anglers, especially during low lights.

There’s one important ingredient to PPB whiting, and that’s fresh bait. Opinions vary as always, but any one of fresh squid, mussels, pipis, bass yabbies and peeled prawn will do the trick. I’m told banana prawn is also very effective – I haven’t tried that one yet.

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