Preparing for Snapper Season

With conditions on Saturday looking the best they have for a long time, I thought it would be a good opportunity to get out and paddle around Black Rock to see if I could sound up any schools for the upcoming season.

For me a quality sounder is worth its weight in gold when chasing snapper in Victoria. I use a Humminbird 787c, its waterproof qualities give me the confidence that if I do go for an unexpected swim, my sounder won’t be dead and for the record, I have tested it. The image quality and definition allow me to recognise schools, which I can then quickly mark with the press of a button for future reference.

Arriving in the car park I noticed a familiar face, a local kayak angler that knows these waters as well as anyone I know. Scott, a regular on the Victorian kayak fishing forum where he goes by the name of Donkey, but let me tell you he’s no Donkey on the water, I’ve seen this guy pulling up fish in while others fishing next to him are getting doughnuts. After a quick catch up it was time to set up and get out on the water.

Once on the water I headed to areas that have produced fish in previous years. I wasn’t expecting to catch much as the season is still yet to start, not counting the continued catches of resident fish. The main aim was to sound up where the fish were schooling, mark these spots for coming weeks and have a good long paddle.

It was a beautiful day on the water and got calmer as the morning went on.

I sounded up some good size schools, some of which were packed tight from the bottom 3 to 4 metres high and running for 50 metres or so. These spots were marked and could prove valuable when the reds come on the chew.

I tried a variety of techniques to entice these fish to bite and although none of the decent size fish were interested in what I had to offer, I caught and released about 20 fish between 20 and 35 cm. I also managed 1 at 45 cm and 1 at 43. I worked through a few colours and styles of plastics and the one that I caught the most fish on was the Z-man Jerk Baitz. Anyone who fishes for early season snapper would know the pinkies tear your plastics apart and which can easily see you go through a pack or more in a session. A little nip of the tail can render your plastic next to useless when it comes back with the back third gone. Amazingly though I got through over 5 hours of fishing with the same Z-man Jerk Baitz plastic that I caught my first and last fish on. It was in such good condition, I took it off my jig head and back into my tackle tray with my other Z-man plastics.

I ended up heading back to the beach when even the undersized fish lost interest in my offerings. Had the car packed and was heading home by lunchtime. As I was leaving the afternoon crew were heading out for a fish.

This time of year guys of all ages get out for a fish, here’s AFN’s warehouse manager Mark out on his Pro Angler enjoying Melbourne’s weather.

It’s still early and we probably have at least another month before the reds start to fire up in the shallow water, but there can be a lot gained from getting out for a paddle or peddle, whether it’s for marking schools for the upcoming season, or just for the exercise.