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Quality Snapper Appearing
  |  First Published: November 2005



You can almost smell the warm weather approaching. Marine service centres are booked solid, bait and tackle sales are on the rise, stiff old yellow pilchards are being dug out of the bottom of the freezer and cobwebs are being blown off snapper gear around the Bellarine Peninsula.

There has been a patchy run of large squid from as far back as July this year. This has continued, which points to a good season on the sharks offshore, not to mention just about everything that loves to munch on squid!

Kelby from Catch 22 Fishing Tackle reports the St Helens Rock Wall has produced some fantastic snapper fishing for land-based anglers. Those anglers prepared to put in the time have caught snapper of 3-7kg. Be prepared to give any tide change a go as Kelby has caught some fish in the middle of the day as well!

Silver trevally have been giving anglers some fun in the Queenscliff Cut of late and one lucky angler managed to land a ripper of 50cm! They’re not all that big, but they are getting more consistent and larger.

The inshore reef areas from Torquay to Barwon Heads have experienced a great run of early season snapper from 3 to 6kg as well as a healthy sprinkling of gummy and school sharks. Kelby also notes that the squid in the Lonsdale Bight have been in and out. More consistent captures of larger specimens between 2 and 3kg should eventuate over the next month.

Gordon from Scriv’s Geelong Bait and Tackle reports that Danny Skene has taken some ripper snapper of late including two beauties of 8.65 and 8.8kg! Both fish were taken in Corio Bay and anglers looking to do the same need to put the time in.

Brendan from Ray Long’s Fishing Tackle has been getting stuck into the snapper on soft plastics lately. He has got consistent captures of fish from 800g to 2.5kg, as well as some very nice salmon from 800g to 1kg, with a few fish nudging 2kg. He has been fishing around the Mountain View Quarries and Bird Rock. Brendan concedes that bait fishermen have generally been getting some larger fish, but I know he’ll be working on that as we speak!

Although many reports have been coming in of experienced snapper anglers taking some exceptional fish, Brendan assures us that these guys really put the time in and know their stuff. So he urges everyone not to have overly high expectations so early in the season.

Brendan has seen some very nice squid coming in and believes the key for taking the larger specimens has been using small, but legal-sized, salmon as bait.

Brendan has also been into the Queenscliff Cut trevally but hasn’t managed any real monsters as yet.

Chris Mitchell from Drysdale Sportfishing Club got into some very nice calamari just off the Clifton Springs boat ramp. These cephalopods were around 2kg and Chris says that there were even bigger ones that refused to take his jigs. Unfortunately, they seemed to have moved on very quickly, but it’s worth a go as the calamari are still there – just smaller models.

Sean ‘Splinter’ Devlin, also from Drysdale Sportfishing Club, reports that the Barwon River has been very consistent with bream from 700 to 900g of late. The best bait by far is bass yabbies and downstream from the Sheepwash boat ramp seems to be the most productive area.

Ben Mclean from Point Lonsdale Fencing and I had a crack at the Queenscliff trevs after a fruitless squid session in the Lonsdale Bight. We managed some very nice fish from 35 to 42cm on soft plastics on the run-out tide. Some other anglers were anchored up to the road that leads over to Swan Island and managed some King George whiting in their bags. Another group of anglers at the ramp got their bag limit by fishing the deep kelp beds closer to the middle of The Rip. These kelp beds are around 9-14m deep and the use of a sinker to get your jig down is mandatory.

November Tips

Get yourself into the calamari off the Lonsdale Bight. These should be in full flight and are giving 3kg a scare. There were squid taken this time last year that were 4kg so there is no reason why this shouldn’t happen again! The Queenscliff Cut is fishing well now and will only get better. Watch for increased size and numbers of silver trevally here. Gummy and school shark numbers should increase off Barwon Heads, the Swan Bay entrance and Portarlington, so drift in the deep water off Barwon Heads. Expect the odd gummy as ‘by-catch’ when fishing some of your snapper marks in Port Phillip Bay and Corio Bay too.

The larger tiger flathead should make an appearance off Barwon Heads at around 40m. These are some of the finest eating flathead available and November is the month for them.

November is also a great month for consistent captures of snapper around the Bellarine Peninsula so hound your mates for their snapper marks if you don’t have any, and remember to ask your local tackle shop for some hints. It’s in their best interest to get you onto some fish, so don’t be afraid to ask!

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