SOME of the best snapper of the season were caught over the past week.
Graeme Spence capitalised on ideal conditions at Portarlington to make an early start in the deeper water. Soon after his rod buckled over with a healthy 8.5kg, 90cm fish that took a pilchard.
Simon Spence put in time fishing for snapper at the White Lady off St Leonards. He had already enjoyed plenty of success on flathead and whiting but the snapper had eluded him until he boated a trophy fish of 10kg and nearly 1metre in length on his whiting rod.
Anglers who made early starts off Clifton Springs were rewarded with respectable sized squid to 1kg. Size three jigs in natural colours were best, with anglers pushing out to some off the deeper weed beds finding the biggest squid.
Corio Bay remained hot for flathead, with many anglers landing fish to 55cm. Casting soft plastics such as Gulp Turtleback worms in Pumpkin Green did the trick. The odd larger pinkie snapper to 50cm was taken as a welcome by-catch.
Pike were taken on lures cast from North Shore rocks. Anglers who fished the last two hours of the day reported the best results.
The Rip held reasonable numbers of kingfish to 6kg. Jigging with green or blue knife jigs from 180g to 250g was still the way to go.
Australian salmon were also breaking the surfacing in feeding frenzies, with anglers lucky enough to be in the right spot at the right time taking fish by casting metal lures into the commotion. Some of the salmon have been absolute barrels, pushing 2.5kg.
Daniel Baden and I ventured offshore from Barwon Heads on Sunday morning in search of kingfish. It was not until mid-afternoon we were able to track down a school of surface-feeding kings that were more than willing to take Slugo and Gulp plastics rigged on heavy jig heads to reach down deep under the salmon.
During a frantic session in less-than-ideal conditions we boated four kingfish to 65cm and dropped some much larger models that took us by surprise.
Other anglers fishing offshore from Barwon Heads found good numbers of flathead and the odd snapper while drifting baits in 40m.
The Barwon River estuary remained productive for juvenile mulloway. Anglers fishing well into the night enjoyed the best results.
On the freshwater front, the Barwon River around Queen’s Park produced carp to 5kg.
Casting small hard-body lures such as Atomic Shads around the weed beds produced redfin to 35cm.
Eric Box travelled to Lake Toolondo where he battled strong winds to set out his mudeye under floats. Over two days, he caught four trout to 1.8kg and thee redfin.
Over the next week, chasing surprisingly large snapper should be worthwhile, especially around first or last light with pilchards. Otherwise, try for kingfish either in The Rip or offshore from Barwon Heads on jigs or soft plastics.
Freshwater enthusiasts should try casting lures over the weeds around dawn at Lake Purrumbete.