Fishing Journalist And Personality
Jarrod has spent his life building a career in fishing, juggling print and online fishing journalism, photography, radio and television presenting. He’s fished all over Australia and all over the world and as Brand Manager for the Compleat Angler, he knows tackle pretty well too. Despite a hectic schedule, Jarrod loves to share information and continues to juggle his retail career with his prolific journalistic work..
Jarrod’s Top Tips For Melbourne Snapper Fishing
- Snapper fishing in the Melbourne area is seasonal and there are two distinct snapper stocks with different migratory patterns. The season starts to build in September, with bigger fish turning up in October and November. The bite goes quiet in late December and a secondary bite period happens in February and March.
- Westernport Bay is the smaller of the two and has French Island in the middle, which creates sheltered fishing in most weather conditions. It has deep channels and shallow mud banks that often trap anglers and leave them stranded until the next high tide. At times the tidal current can be up to 12 knots, making it challenging to anchor and to get lures down deep.
- The southern end of Port Phillip Bay is similar to Westernport, but North of Mt Martha it becomes like a big soup bowl with minimal current.
- Generally any time you locate snapper you can entice a bite. They are often very active in hunting down lures, even more so than baits.
- It’s important to really know your sounder to find the fish. Snapper can be recognised as thick red arches that closely hug the bottom. They are generally not found mid water, so look for a few arches close together and close to the bottom, then fish the area well.
- In Westernport it’s important to motor well up from where the fish mark on the sounder, then drift back while casting well ahead of the boat and bounce the lure along the bottom as the boat drifts towards it.
- Westernport Bay snapper are usually found on the natural reef systems that are found in the main channels. Motor along at 3-5 knots and watch the sounder for signs of fish. Snapper fishing tends to be most productive for the couple of hours either side of the turn of the tide.
- Port Phillip Bay snapper tend to aggregate on the myriad small reefs early in the system, including the formal artificial reefs and illegal artificial reefs. As the season progresses, they move out into the bay and spread across the bay, where they can be found by simply motoring around watching the sounder until they are spotted.
- Snapper are very susceptible to barometric pressure. When a cold front is coming and the barometer is falling steeply they’ll often go off the bite, although sometimes they’ll bite like crazy the day before the front and then shut down.
Jarrod’s Snapper Fishing Tackle Recommendations
- Tackle for Westernport Bay snapper fishing tends to be relatively heavy to cope with the strong tidal currents and the heavier lures and weights needed to get the lure to the fish. Jarrod likes a Venom 8-12kg spin rod with 50lb braid with an Albright knot. He has a running ball sinker with 3m of 60lb nylon leader followed by 1m of 80lb bite leader and a soft plastic lure. Alternatively, for casting and working bay rubber and soft plastic lure styles he might drop down to 30lb braid and a 50lb leader.
- Tackle for Port Phillip Bay snapper fishing is much lighter, with a 3-5kg, 7ft graphite spin rod, 2500 size reel and 6-10lb braid with a 15-20lb leader being Jarrod’s preference.
Jarrod’s Best Snapper Fishing Lures
- Bay rubber style jigs such as Shimano’s Lucanus Jig starting at about 60g weight work well in Westernport Bay particularly. These can be dropped to within a foot or so of the bottom and the rod can be placed in the rod holder to let the boat movement do the work.
- Soft plastic lures can also be used on Westernport Bay snapper, with Jarrods favourites being the Keitech Jerkbaits on a 1/2oz jig head or bigger. Zerek 90mm Live Flash Minnow and Zerek Flat Shad soft plastics also work extremely well. Cast them long, ahead of the drifting boat and free spool to the bottom, then slowly hop the lure back towards the boat.
- These same soft plastics are also suitable for Port Phillip Bay snapper, but on lighter jig heads of 1/4 to 1/8 oz. Again, the are cast long in front of a drifting boat and the line is watched until it “relaxes” indicating that the lure has reached bottom. It’s then worked back to the boat in a series of short hops.
- Soft vibes are one of Jarrod’s favourite lures for snapper fishing in Port Phillip Bay and he reckons the Zerek 95mm Fish Trap is not only easy to fish, but is deadly when the fish are aggressive as well as being the best tool to turn to if the fish are hesitating. The Yakamito Viper-S and 45-55 mm metal vibes are also very effective. They are worked in a similar way to soft plastics but need to be worked a little faster than plastics.
- When the fish are on reefs Jarrod works the edges in 3-5m of water by trolling small hard bodies. The Zerek Ripper Diver and Zerek Tango Shad (89mm) and Yakamito Husky Jerk all work well. You want the lure to be working as slowly possible about 1m off the bottom and Jarrod often works them only 5m or so behind the boat.