Western Port Snapper and Gummies
  |  First Published: August 2005

Despite the general lack of angler interest, there have been some fantastic fish taken in Western Port recently. Big gummies have been about in numbers as they finish spawning in the Port’s murky waters, and a few resident winter snapper have also made an appearance.

The gummies have been scattered about the Port, however Buoy 17 off Tortoise Heads and the deep water near Cowes has been particularly productive. Some of these fish have weighed over a massive 20kg but most have been around the 8 to 10kg mark.

Colleague Jarrod Day landed a lovely gummy of 12kg near Tortoise Heads. This fish was taken on a salmon fillet early in July. Another standout bait is freshwater eel. Many anglers in the know use eel cubes because they are very tough and big gummies simply adore the oily smell. Professional long-liners targeting gummies have used eels for years.

The only downside of eel as bait is that they are slimy, slippery little critters and you’ve probably got to catch them yourself because they are not readily available at tackle shops. Well not anymore! After much searching it looks as though we have been able to find a supply of fresh, vacuum-packed, de-slimed eels. The samples we’ve organised look fantastic and we hope to have them in stock at Cranbourne Fishing Tackle for August.

The whiting have been relatively quiet lately other than a few bags of 35cm fish landed in the shallows between Stony Point and Hastings. Last September, the King George whiting fishery was fairly sporadic until the water temperature started to rise. Keep your fingers crossed for some warm weather next month!

I can’t believe that winter is almost over and spring is just around the corner. In hindsight, it has been a fairly productive winter, perhaps not in quantity but definitely in quality.

One fish worthy of a mention was a 12.3kg snapper taken by Nick Maltezo and Jan Prib in early July. The thumper red ate a squid head intended for sharks. It is one of the biggest snapper to come from the Port all year. Well done guys!

The big calamari will be making an appearance next month as they enter the shallow sea grass beds to prepare for their spawning season. Likely areas will include McHaffies Reef and Flinders Pier. Use the biggest jigs as the squid are typically over a kilo.

The much-anticipated snapper season will soon be in full swing again and I for one can’t wait.

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