I simply can’t believe the number of wonderful fishing reports that have flooded over my desk this month. Snapper have obviously been the hot topic, but everything from trevally to bronze whaler sharks seem to be keeping anglers busy across the port. In fact, I have so many great fishy tales to tell, I barely know where to begin!
First of all, a reminder that professional fishing has been completely stopped in Western Port, as of 1 December. Most professional fishers wrapped it up earlier than the deadline, with licences being bought out during October and November. At the same time, Victorian Fisheries introduced tighter bag limits for recreational anglers snapper catches. These are some very deliberate steps towards ensuring the sustainability of Western Port’s fisheries for generations to come. I’d like to say thank you to those involved for their hard work.
This year the biggest snapper competition held in Victoria took place on Western Port and Port Phillip on November 2/3. A total of 1,767 anglers entered, which was around 400 anglers less than last year. Of the 1,240 fish weighed, only 168 came from Western Port. This wasn’t surprising as it is typically Port Phillip that produces the greatest number of fish, but Western Port reigns supreme as far as the quality of fish is concerned. And the three biggest snapper were indeed caught from Western Port. The message is, if you’re after a better class of fish, bypass Port Phillip and give the Port a try.
Cranbourne Tackle World customers Donna and Gerard had a fantastic trip near Cowes, catching and releasing several snapper after reaching their bag limit. One fish was so impressive they have decided to get the fish mounted by a local taxidermist. It has not yet been weighed, but the couple believe it will nudge the 10kg mark. They also managed a gummy of 8kg in the same area, a few days prior.
The Corals have been fishing well, with many good snapper landed. This productive area is located level with Observation Point, about 3km from the Rhyll Boat Ramp. The bottom is mostly reef, weed, mud and shell, and the tide doesn't run too hard, so up to 8 ounces of weight will be adequate.
It’s a matter of heading to the general area (GPS mark: S 38 27 475, E 145 21 080), then sounding around until you find the fish. There are some true monsters out there!
The details are a little sketchy, but as an example I have just been shown a photo of an enormous snapper that was officially weighed at 14.3kg! That’s a staggering 31lb in the old scale. It was taken at The Corals in November, on a pilchard bait.
Charter operator John Stuber has been catching snapper from 1.5–3kg in the Eagle Rock to Yaringa Bank area. Baits of barracouta, silver whiting and squid have all been working well. John says that the fish have been biting best halfway through the flood tide.
These quality pre-tied rigs have taken Victoria by storm recently. Hand made in New Zealand on Black Magic hooks, they are adorned with tinsel and luminous beads. Many anglers have reported fantastic success rates while using them. Try fishing the 5/0 size sweetened with a silver whiting head. They are dynamite at night, too.
I’ve just received a great report from 17-year-old Tim Carroll. In November, he was fishing for snapper in 6–7m of water off Corinella, with his dad (Raymond Carroll) and friends Lance Hustler and Gary Shaw. They were fishing the bottom of the run-out tide using baits of freshly caught squid, when his snapper rod nearly got pulled off out of his hands. To cut a long story short, after a 30 minute battle Tim landed a magnificent 18kg, 124cm mulloway. Great effort Tim, and it should serve as proof for those of us who have yet to catch a big jewie that Western Port is a great place to try.
Tim also reports good fishing for King George whiting and leatherjackets in Coronet Bay.
For all the latest information about fishing Western Port, drop in and see Dan and the staff at Cranbourne Tackle World, 270 South Gippsland Highway, Cranbourne (5996 6500).Reads: 11014