Snapper Fishing Port Phillip Bay and Westernport Bay
Snapper is the fish Victorians cherish most and Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay are the most likely place you will find these focused fishos in hot pursuit of their prey. While snapper are adored in most states, they are quite simply revered in Victoria with the Melbourne waters being some of the hardest fished in Australia for this target.
There are some reasonable land based areas where following heavy weather the chances of landing a snapper from the rocks or piers becomes feasible. It is however very much a timing thing where it is necessary to be fishing when it is safe, yet still rough enough that fish are still holding in close. Preparation and good casting technique can be the key to success in these circumstances. Quality baits such as fresh squid, octopus, whiting, rockets and slabs of salmon will pull the fish if they are there and even the humble pilchard at a pinch will work nicely on pinkeys. Depending on your view point you might also be lucky or unlucky enough to pull gummies, 7 gill and other assorted bycatch on these missions. Areas such as Point Lonsdale, St Leonard's and Mornington are reasonably well known but seeking some local knowledge can open up a few less heavily fished spots.
If you have a boat your options are now greatly increased, that is if the weather decides to behave itself when you get some time off. Although available throughout the year most of us are keenly waiting the spring run which brings the big breeding fish into the bays and holds them through summer. If a trophy fish is to be caught this season then is the time that statistically you will most probably get that new PB, so be prepared. These fish can push into the 5, 6, 7kg and each year we have one or two lucky fishermen that land fish of a lifetime 10kg plus animal. So where do we get em?
I'm not wanting to get abused for spot burning so just some very general locations in Western Port. Looking at the map around Corinella has some likely looking names that might be worth dropping a line or two at. Port Phillip Bay holds a good population of snapper with Frankston to Mount Martha being the most productive stretch of water in the system and Currum no too far behind. If you are going to catch snapper then you are going to catch them here and with good depth they are an all day round opportunity. Snapper will often move into shallower are under low light conditions then move into deeper waters during the brighter periods. With this in mind following their lead and starting in shallower areas then moving deeper as the day progresses can maintain good fishing throughout the day. Just be aware that when in shallower water snapper will be more alert and will abandon an area if there is excessive noise so no dropping the rod or tackle box on the deck or clanking the anchor over the side.
One of the most important things is to find good ground that snapper will look for to feed over. Broken rubble areas, spoil grounds, sea grasses with resident populations of molluscs, squid and baitfish will all attract snapper in search of an easy feed. Isolated rocks and contours suggesting hard ground are also well worth investigating especially if it is well away from usual snapper areas that get heavily fished. These quieter spots can often produce fish of better than average size and good numbers when only fished occasionally. Use your sounder but don't necessarily go for the wildest piece of ground you see as snapper will more often be sitting near but away from it.
The tackle used is going to be dependant on the size of fish, depth and type of bottom that you are fishing. Smaller fish in clean areas will easily be accounted for on 4 to 6 kg line while deeper water, rough terrain and big fish are best targeted with 10kg and perhaps 15kg leaders in extremely rough regions. At times sea lice can be a real so tougher baits are the way to go if they become too much of a problem and check your bait regularly.
Port Phillip Bay and Westernport Bay