Sizzling Summer Snapper
  |  First Published: December 2005

It’s the start of another year and let’s hope that, at least in fishing terms, it’s a good one. My belly is still stuffed from the Christmas feast but thankfully that’s not the case with the fish in Western Port: whiting, gummies, snapper and sharks are all feeding well.

Snapper have been caught consistently for the last few months with several fish exceeding 6kg. Self confessed Western Port addict Pat Neidhart fished Lysaughts recently boating approximately 60 snapper to 8kg. The fish took squid, pillies and cured eel. Most fish were released unharmed.

The top end of Western Port has also been worth a look on the snapper front, with many anglers taking fish of around 4kg in 12m of water. Productive areas include the mouth of Boultons Channel and the rocky ground surrounding Joes Island.

However, not all reds have been monsters. There have been plenty of pinkies around 1kg taken from Eagle Rock, Pelican Island and Settlement Point Corinella.

Settlement Point has the added advantage of being an excellent land based option. Speaking of which, keep an eye open for the upcoming book Land Based Fishing, a Guide to Western Port. It will retail for $9.95.

Whiting reports have been coming in steadily. Customers Graeme and Bruce fished the banks near Warneet to land 17 quality King George whiting to 39cm. The boys used mussels but other anglers have had similar results on pipis and thin squid strips.

The whiting legend Jack Crowley and wife Dorris also had their share of the whiting action. In just one hour they’d managed 12 lovely whiting while fishing out from Tooradin. Now Jack’s not the sort to tell porkies so you can understand my excitement when I heard that these fish were ‘as thick as your arm’.

Last year, I experimented with Owner Mutu circle hooks for the whiting and found that my hook-up rate was near perfect. I even managed to nail those timid fish that I’d often missed. Either way I’m ready for some sensational whiting fishing over the rest of summer.

A great place to begin looking for whiting is the weedy area between the Tooradin Channel and Lyalls Channel, known as Browns Reserve. Find the mudflat that connects these channels and fish the drop-off. I have caught fish there on both tides but prefer the start of the flood.

The shark season has well and truly kicked off with the first few makos taken in mid November. One early season mako weighed 50kg but other bigger fish have been caught. Berleying hard with fish frames, tuna oil and pilchards is a must if you’re serious about connecting. Remember to keep the trail flowing constantly – don’t just throw over great lumps of fish every half hour. Good luck and see you out there.

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