Bring on the snapper!
  |  First Published: October 2006

October is when the hardcore snapper anglers blow the cobwebs out of the gear and lay the season’s first baits over the snapper patches.

This season is already shaping up to be an absolute cracker and we’re in for some fantastic fishing. In September, anglers caught 5kg fish from Barwon Heads and the Surf Coast. These areas traditionally receive the first sniff of the larger fish for the season.

First and last light has been best time add a run-out tide and you’ll have a great shot.

Barwon River – Geelong

Carp really turn it on in October. Love them or hate them, they’re still a great angling target. Andy from Ray Long’s Tackle notes that fish have been a few taken from Queens Park right through to Breakwater Bridge on both corn and garden worms. Fisheries release trout into Seagull Paddock and Saint Augustines Lake for the school holidays so these lakes are great places to take the kids for a spot of fishing.

Corio Bay

Kelby from Catch 22 Fishing Tackle has had reports of some very nice snapper to 6kg caught by anglers fishing over the mud flats in Corio Bay’s inner harbour. Plenty of other fish are available to anglers who are prepared to work hard and offer quality baits. The reef areas offshore from Mountain View Quarry have seen quality 7kg snapper taken by anglers fishing after dark. Dawn and dusk have been the best times for anglers fishing Clifton Springs with fish of around 4kg coming from ‘the turn’ and in surprisingly close to the launching area.

Andy reports there have been some nice pinkies taken in the inner harbour on soft plastics with fish to 2kg landed late in the afternoon and evening. The new release of 6” Berkley Gulp Sand Eels have been popular with customers; they should go really well this spring and summer on the snapper, salmon and kingfish.

Bellarine Peninsula

Kelby reports that St Leonards has consistently supplied calamari to 1kg over the shallow reef areas with some decent gummies coming out of the west channel nearby.

St Leonards and Indented Head have extensive shallow reef areas that regularly have quality calamari. Orange has done the best for me followed by green, pink and nothing too big as these crabs rarely exceed 1.5kg.

The Coles Channel is famous for its whiting and Kelby and Andy have both had good reports in late September. A few dedicated whiting fishers came home with some respectable captures of 40cm fish.

Queenscliff and ‘The Rip’

Andy reports the silver trevally have turned up in Queenscliff Harbour. The fish have been a little skittish, due to a seal now living under the jetties. Most fish have been taken on soft plastics with the standouts being Sliders, Atomic Grubs, and Berkley Bass Minnows. Andy headed down with Steve from First Cast Fishing Adventures and they caught 8-10 silvers during the run-out tide. Berkley Grubs in sunkissed and firetiger colours worked well, as did Atomic Grubs in pearl pepper. They also found Megastrike scent made a difference.

Queenscliff has some of the best calamari runs in Victoria this time of year and some have topped 3kg, but both Kelby and Andy noticed that they were patchy in early September.

Andy recommends that all anglers only take what they need and never exceed the bag limits.

The best baits for the monster calamari are freshly caught small (but legal length) salmon. Salmon can often be caught trolling out of ‘The Cut’ from the Queenscliff boat ramp. These small fish are used as bait on the metal skewer styled squid jigs and either fished under a float or cast and retrieved slowly over weed beds and reef areas. Queenscliff has some top snapper reefs in close to the entrance so try fishing within a few kilometres of this area and send down some pilchards or squid for bait. Reefy areas are relatively easy to find with a decent depth sounder.

The salmon schools have been hard to find in ‘The Rip’ without the diving birds but anglers working lures deep over fish have caught quality salmon to 1.9kg. Brendan and Andy fished with Steve and Chris and they caught and released salmon to 2kg on soft plastics and fly. Berkley Bass Minnows in the new clear colours (grey ghost, casper clear and bullhead brown) in 3” and 4” were effective, as were Evil Minnow Squidgy Flick Baits in the 85mm size.

Barwon Heads

Ken ‘Stretch’ Stevens from Barwon Heads reports that many locals have been putting in a lot of fruitless mulloway hours on the Barwon River. Stretch said there have been some ripper silver trevally caught at the mouth of the river. These 1kg+ fish have been taking pilchard fillets, pipis and bass yabbies.

Some very good 4-5kg snapper have been taken in 40m of water along with some top gummy sharks. Jamie Behrens has also done very well fishing after dark in similar depth of water taken gummies to 8.5kg on both fresh salmon and pike fillets. Jamie also got onto some ripper 1.5kg calamari in 30m of water.

King George whiting are being taken by anglers fishing the mouth of the Barwon River. Fish from 35-45cm are taking bass yabbies, pilchard fillet and pipi baits in around the shallow reef areas and the mouth. The outgoing tide is producing the most consistent results.

Anglers fishing off Collendina lately have noticed a strong presence of snapper to 4kg. These fish were in only 4m of water and would be worth a shot for anglers fishing the low tides after dark from the beach with surf gear. Aim for a tide of 0.5m or lower to reach productive water.

Andy says there are still plenty of juvenile salmon in the Barwon River estuary. Plenty of fly anglers are targeting these fish due to the lack of water in our trout fisheries. Bill Hartshorne has been landing fish on his ultralight 4 weight fly outfit. He landed fish to 1kg on salty BMS flies over the last week, but most fish are 300-500g. Anglers have also done well on soft plastics and small hard bodies.


Barwon Heads fisher Stephen ‘Speech’ Speechley fished after dark from Fishermans Beach at Torquay recently. He caught heaps of quality garfish wading the shallows with light tackle near the boat ramp.

Ozan ‘Ozzie’ Zaban boated a 5kg gummy fishing in 5m of water on 2kg whiting gear while John ‘Box Head’ Albrecht released a similar one. Other members of Torquay Angling Club have landed gummies with one angler weighing in one of 17.5kg caught in 40m of water.

Box Head has also been into Torquay’s ripper whiting fishing the shallows after dark. Boxy has taken fish over 600g using bass yabbies and pipi and released several small fish from 37-40cm.

Decent pike and salmon are patrolling the shallows of Torquay during the day and can be caught by anglers casting from Yellow Bluff on the low tide, from Fishermans Beach with surf gear and trolling or casting from small boats in close. Salmon are ranging from 500g-1.5kg and it can be hard to pick whether they will be about. Jan Juc Surf Beach anglers have enjoyed similar results fishing just on dusk with whole pilchards and squid. Squid has seen a few decent gummy sharks beached by anglers after dark with 10kg outfits and 15-20kg leaders.

Decent pinkies are available to those that put the hours in and are well equipped. Fish from 3.5-5kg are becoming more abundant and are turning up in depths of 15-50m over reef areas with the run-out tide providing the most consistent results.


Mick Allardyce from Allyweld Engineering reports spotting a massive school of salmon right in close to Point Roadnight recently. Ryan ‘McBusy’ McKnight has been flat out around Anglesea. Ryan and his mates have been fishing the low tides around Point Roadnight and catching salmon. The lads have taken 1kg fish using metal lures and baits such as fresh garfish and pilchards. Ryan fished with Kalon and Daniel from Torquay one day when the salmon were in close and had a ball casting metal lures to them.

Ryan often haunts to boat ramp down there and notes that anglers fishing offshore have taken a wide variety of fish. Whiting have been biting well and fish to 45cm have been taken fishing the deeper reef areas using pipi along with the occasional red mullet. Anglesea has had a very good run of gummy sharks offshore and around Urquharts Bluff. Anglers fishing from the surf have taken fish to 5kg while anglers fishing the deeper reefs offshore have taken fish to 8kg as well as a few seven-gill sharks.

Flathead have been taken, but not in big numbers or sizes. Pinkie snapper ranging from 40cm to 4kg are available around the deeper reef areas from 15-35m.

The Anglesea Boat ramp has received a new fish-cleaning table courtesy of the Recreational Fishing Community Grants Scheme and the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee with support from the Anglesea Motor Yacht Club.

Great Ocean Road and Lorne

Salmon fishing has been a little hard to predict along the Great Ocean Road. Beaches such as Eastern View and Moggs Creek have been dead one day and full of fish the next. Eastern View has been the most consistent when there is no weed on the beach with plenty of 1-1.5kg fish coming ashore.

Small pinkies from 35cm to 1.5kg have been taken on a few rock ledges when the weather behaved. Cathedral Rock and Jump Rock have been the pick with some decent salmon also available to anglers casting lures with 4m rods.

The new Lorne Pier is set to be completed around December and apart from a few break-ins at the construction site, all things are going to plan. More information is available at http://www.gtorc.com/inform.php?a=7&b=33&c=210 or by telephoning the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee on (03) 5220 5021.

‘Hoops’ from Lorne hasn’t been out a great deal but notes that flatties are available in 30-40m for anglers on the drift and the smaller pinkies are about in the local inshore reef areas as well as a few whiting to 43cm.


Plenty of garfish are available in the shallows of Torquay and Anglesea’s sheltered bays.


Kalon from Torquay with a nice salmon from Point Roadnight Anglesea.


Ryan McKnight from Anglesea with one of the many salmon he’s taken casting lures from Point Roadnight in Anglesea.


Keep an eye out for big snapper along the surf coast – it’s set to be a ripper season!

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