Western Port’s Spring Snapper
  |  First Published: September 2005

Wow, where did winter go? It’s spring already and we all know what that means – snapper season! That’s right anglers, throw the cover off the boat, lose the beanie and get into that early snapper action.

Now here’s the question on everyone’s lips: “Where are the reds going to turn up first?”

Last year, the offshore reefs were plagued with small pinkies to 40cm during September. Plenty of boats fished the Flinders Bank chasing these pan-sized fish along with the whiting that could be found frequenting the same ground.

Lysaughts was an excellent producer of better quality reds during the start of the 2004 season and I suspect it will receive plenty of attention again. Try fishing in between 9 and 12m of water around Lysaughts and be sure to drop a weighted berley pot of crushed pillies, pellets and tuna oil to get things going.

The snapper run was red hot until around Christmas last year. Anglers were pleasantly surprised to find hundreds of fish in the 3 to 4kg range taking up temporary residence all over the Port. There were also unusually high numbers of big reds over 6kg feeding hard prior to spawning.

Then, as if departing for a Christmas holiday, the snapper just disappeared. Sure, the odd bag was taken here or there, but nothing like the September/October bash. It will be very interesting to see whether the reds enter Western Port in the same numbers again, and if so, whether they stick around after New Year.

Land-based Fishing

For those without a boat there’s no reason to despair because our favourite fish Chrysophrys auratus (pink snapper) can also be targeted from the shore.

Both Cowes Pier and Settlement Point at Corinella are excellent locations to try. Cowes must be fished during a tide change as the current rips through the area at any other time. Settlement Point is best fished on the last half of the ebb through the first hour or so of the flood. Use squid strips, silver whiting and garfish for best results.

The jumbo size calamari squid are also about in numbers. Flinders Pier and the shallow weed beds in the surrounding area are worth a try. Squid fishing is top fun and fresh, crumbed calamari is hard to beat. Incidentally, these squid are also found around the eastern entrance of Western Port, Port Phillip Heads, Queenscliff and Portsea.

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