Radio Personality, Sponsored Angler
John has over 40 years experience fishing Corio Bay. He’s co-hosted various fishing radio shows for the Geelong region for over 30 years, written articles and presented fishing from stage. John is a soft plastic lure addict and targets all manner of species on the “softies”. He loves the technical side of fishing and hosts a fishing tech podcast in addition to running his jig head manufacturing business “The Jig Man”.
John’s Top Tips For Corio Bay Snapper
- Corio Bay is like a giant fishbowl with minimal current, plenty of fish and sheltered, easy to access waters. It’s fishable in most winds except an Easterly.
- Over the spring months the snapper will become increasingly active in the bay. Flathead will also begin to show up while large King George whiting, large bream, trevally and squid are also prevalent.
- Snapper can be caught all year rod at Corio, but the spring and summer months are prime times. In spring the fish will form small, tight schools, once you find them you can switch them on by working lures through the school fairly quickly. Once switched on the fish will start feeding more aggressively and will freely take lures worked more slowly.
- Corio Bay is mostly relatively shallow but has plenty of structure such as weed beds, pylons and man made structures that hold fish.
- It’s important to “Match the Hatch” when choosing lures to use at Corio Bay. Snapper move into the bay to feed on specific food items such as a unique marine worm that is found in the system, small whiting and juvenile cuttlefish. Matching these with your lures is key.
- The bay floor is comprised of “benches” of flat with 1m drop offs as you move towards the shipping channels. The drop offs create small upwelling effects as the tide pushes in, stimulating fish to feed.
- Be sure to use relatively large, solid, hard wire hooks. Corio snapper will quickly crush fine gauge hooks.
- Don’t get too hung up on tides, lunar cycles and so on. Snapper can be caught in Corio Bay all year round and on any tide. Find the fish and figure out what they’re doing and you catch plenty. Slightly rippled water works best when fishing during the day, dead calm works best when fishing at night. Soft plastic lures are deadly effective for snapper fishing after dark.
John’s Snapper Tackle Suggestions
- John uses pretty much the same tackle for all species in the bay. A 7’6” ABU Veritas in 2-4 or 3-6kg line class with 12-14lb braided line and 12 lb fluorocarbon leader is sufficient To stop snapper, kingfish, salmon and most other Corio Bay targets.
John’s Best Snapper Fishing Lures
- The 4” Turtleback Worm by Berkley Gulp is a great lure for the bay – John likes the pumpkinseed colour for this application. Don’t cut down or modify the lure as doing so will reduce your catch. Depending on water depth and wind, the worm can be fished on 1/16 to 1/4 oz jig heads, use the minimum that will do the job. Once you’ve found a school of fish cast long and let the lure sink to the bottom, then work it with short hops, keeping in contact with the bottom. Remember you are mimicking a worm and that worms don’t normally swim quickly, so make the hops very gentle. Snapper bites aren’t always savage, strike at any little “tick” on the line and you’ll hook more fish. Snapper will frequently take the lure while it’s sitting stationary on the bottom. Berkley has just announced the return of the 7” Turtleback Worm in colours that will be very effective in Corio Bay – stay tuned.
- Berkley Gulp 4” Minnow in Newpenny colour is a great lure in the bay and will take a lot of species, including snapper. It can be fished the same way as the Turtleback Worm
- The locally made Ripple Bug in Swarf UV colour is a great imitation of the juvenile cuttlefish that snapper feed on around the weed beds. Once again, can be fished in the same way as the Turtleback Worm.
John’s Projects and Sponsors
On the DeckOn the Deck is John’s fishing podcast where he and his crew discuss the tech side of fishing gear. Tune in and get a fix!
The Jigman is John’s jig head business – he loves designing seedless and semi-snagproof jigs. Be sure and purchase quality heads from John at his website or at fishing outlets around the country.