Snapper Santa Arrives Early
  |  First Published: December 2005

Warm days, plenty of rain and a high barometer has made the mixture for some spectacular fishing and some picture postcard days in the south of the bay.

If you could hear the distant drumroll of snapper fever last month, then this month has been a fully-fledged street parade! Some ripper fish have been taken from late October and into November. The fishing seems to be going from strength to strength. Quality reds from 3kg to 5kg have been reported right throughout the south of the bay, even by many land-based anglers. A few bigger specimens have been taken; especially by those using fresh bait.

Andrew Clark has been catching plenty of snapper out of Carrum and suggests that anglers mix up their baits. He’s had some mornings when fish have only taken fresh squid heads, and others when they’ve taken only yakkas. Variety is the key and might be the difference between coming home with a few fish or nothing.

The focus of the snapper season for many, especially those involved with the Snapper Point Angling Club, is the annual Tea Tree Festival. The spectacle seems to grow bigger and better each year, as do the number of fish caught and the number of anglers competing. Amongst such a massive field of anglers, fish mortality appears alarmingly high, but it was great to see the clubs initiative in introducing a ‘catch and release’ section for competitors. Check out the results in the Tournament news section of this issue.

Local charter operators have been enjoying the spoils of some top class snapper fishing. Warren Carter and Craig Seignor, operators of Inline Fishing Charters, have been putting clients onto some ripper bags of snapper, especially in the deeper waters out from Mornington and Frankston recently.

The best of the bunch was Noel Ruff and crew, who nailed 17 lovely reds to 5.6kg fishing in 21m off Mornington. The best bait were silver whiting and squid. Many of their passengers have tasted the thrill of catching the bay’s most popular sportsfish for the first time.

For those with their own boats and their own plan of attack, nearly all the known marks have been producing snapper. Reports have come from Seaford, Frankston Wreck, The Hospital, Mornington Wide, Mt Martha, Dromana, Rosebud and Rye. Interestingly, some renowned late season marks have also been producing at this early stage.

Pre-dawn starts and late finishes are the key, as well as good fresh bait, sharp hooks and strong, thin leader material. Remember, it’s a great feeling to tangle with a big red, but it’s an even better one to feel the kick of it’s tail as you let it go, so only take what you need.

It’s happy days on the south of the bay when I run out of room to talk about all the other great fishing that is on offer. But summer is the time for snapper, and right now we are experiencing some of the best snapper fishing in years. So grab the rods, grab the bait (or the plastics) and get out on the bay and find out for yourself.

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