Snapper is about the only species to be mentioned this month with anglers from far and wide of the State flocking in droves to Western Port to get their snapper fix.
Some great fish have been taken around the Cleeland Bight area. No doubt these fish were entering the port from Bass Strait when caught. Angler Pete and his mate had a blinder of a session managing eight snapper to 5.9kg – the smallest going 2kg. Pete mentioned that the best baits were fresh squid that they caught earlier.
One location that is extremely popular with snapper anglers is The Corals. The Corals are located about half way between Corinella and Rhyll and is only about 6m deep. This area does get overcrowded at times but continues to produce the goods.
Local sinker maker, John ‘the sinker man’ had great success one morning fishing around The Corals. John managed five snapper around the 2kg mark and also said there were plenty of salmon available.
While John was hooking into some magnificent snapper, Tackle World staff member Scott Harper was into the gummy sharks. Although Scott went in search of a snapper, he managed two gummy sharks both around the 8kg mark. Not a bad morning on the water.
One of the hottest locations to be fishing in Wester Port seemed to be in the vicinity of Elizabeth Island and Silverleaves. Silverleaves was very popular with anglers early on and was much along the same trend of last year.
Scott Montague tried his luck and came up trumps with a cracker fish weighing 12lb. Scott was fishing in 19m of water when he caught his fish and used fresh calamari.
Corinella also performed well with plenty of reports filtering through. Gawaine Blake from Think Big Charters started off very well in the Corinella region getting his clients some memorable fish.
On one trip near Elizabeth Island they caught four gummies up to 4kg and lost a big schoolie beside the boat estimated at 18-20kg. They then fished with Brendan Wing and clients in mosquito channel for a 7.2kg snapper.
Gawaine and Brendan then headed out again with mate Richard for a leisure fish to land five ripper snapper to 5.8kg. The following Saturday Gawaine was out again with a customer and fished the same area. With a falling barometer they landed a snapper of 6.1kg and a nice little 5kg gummy shark. The fish were caught on a pilchard/squid cocktail on the run in tide. Larger fish also came from Corinella such as Bruce’s 6.8kg, measuring 83cm.
Although there was a significant amount of fish taken in the Corinella area, there were still reports of fish taken from everywhere else in the Port.
I headed out with Brendan Wing one evening along with young guns from Phillip Island, Dane and Dave. After a short while fishing in 12m of water out from Balnarring, one rod loaded up and Dane was quick to set the hook. After a lengthy battle, Dane boated a nice seven-gill shark estimated around 70kg.
From there it seems everything turned back to red when more reports of snapper came in from the top end of the port.
Long Reef continued to produce the goods as it had ever since the early season but this time the fish were a little larger. Pat, Luke, Zac and Paul headed out to have a crack in nice conditions. The lads managed five snapper to 4.8kg and a gummy shark of 1m.
Further up the Port and more good fish were being taken from around the Warneet area. Brad and his 5-year-old son Nick braved the elements to fish the top end of Western Port one Sunday afternoon. After setting anchor and soaking their baits they managed a cracker of a snapper weighing 7.8kg. What made the capture even better was Nick managed to reel it in and land the fish with a bit of help from dad. It was Nick’s first ever snapper.
Although the snapper reports were thicker than you could imagine, a few other captures slipped in under the radar.
While poking around on the Quail Bank for some calamari with mates Gawaine Blake and Brendan Wing one Sunday evening we came across two anglers having success during the run out tide. The guys were fishing with silver whiting under a float and doing very well catching a good selection of calamari.
Marty, Adam and Scott also found success on some monster calamari while fishing on the Tyabb Bank. The boys managed six calamari to 2kg. Before heading to Boultins Channel where they managed two snapper to 4.5kg and yes, they were caught on the fresh calamari.
December is an interesting month with anglers slowly taking their focus off snapper to search of other highly prized species. Although the run of snapper will continue til around Christmas, whiting, mako and thresher sharks become highly sought. Summer will lead us into the realm of the mako shark.
Those with large enough boats will head into Bass Strait at every chance they can get to tangle with one of these toothy critters. Those just wanting a relaxing day on the water can find enough entertainment catching a feed of whiting. The Middle Spit, Quail Bank, Coronet Bay and Dickies Bay areas will become prime whiting haunts revisited. A blend of berley, a bag of pipis and you are well on your way to whiting success.
I have recently given out a few GPS marks to help anglers on their way to finding snapper success.
So far I have had a dozen anglers’ report back of their successes from these locations.
Listed below are the GPS marks, use them at your leisure and remember, if somebody is already at anchor drive away from them and sound up another patch of fish, the fish won’t be too far away.
|LONG REEF SOUTH:||S 38 16.897||E 145 15.095|
|LONG REEF NORTH:||S 38 16.228||E 145 15.582|
|THE CORALS:||S 38 27.150||E 145 20.550|
|HASTINGS:||S 38 18.784,||E 145 14.420.|