This week many people will be venturing out on the high seas in hope of bagging a snapper in the twenty ninth annual Mornington Peninsula Tea Tree snapper fishing competition. Anglers from all over the state will converge on Port Phillip and Western Port Bays in hope of bagging the biggest snapper and crowning themselves Victorian Amateur Snapper Fishing Champion. 


So where do you fish? The competition is strictly for snapper caught in Port Phillip and Western Port Bay. As a tip in Port Phillip Bay when the sun is up look at fishing in 18-21 meters, if however the wind is blowing or it’s night time, you could be best served fishing in 8-16 meters of water. In Western Port its much the same deep in daylight and shallow reefs in the evening or rough stuff.  Some of my preferred hotspots would include Ansetts, 16 meters off Mt Eliza, Morrisons reef in Mt Martha and 21 meters from Carrum. In Western Port:  Lysaghts off Hastings, Cows, Eagle rock and Crawfish rock are all hotspots.


Now for the rigs. Personally I prefer to always fish a running sinker rig. I find that this presents the bait in the most natural way.  My running sinker rig typically consists of 60lb crane swivel followed by 1-2 meters of 30-60lb fluorocarbon leader and two 4/0-6/0 chemically sharpened hooks in an octopus/ suicide pattern. People need to remember that the size of the hooks that you use is dictated by the size of baits you’re fishing. Now I’m different to most when it comes to sinkers. In Port Phillip Bay i like to fish 3 different size sinkers. I like to fish a size 1 bomb on an ezy rig cast out the side  of the boat into the current, then on a 45 degree angle of the stern a size 1 ball, followed by a size 0 or 00 cast directly into the burley. In Western Port Bay i like to use an ezy rig to make sinker changes easier. Now here’s the tip, I tie a 50-100cm dropper off the ezy rig and attach my sinker to this, now you must make sure that your dropper is at least 20% weaker than your main line. This is so if your sinker gets snagged you bust off your sinker not your main line!


Bait. While so much debate goes into snapper fish and the best baits, it’s really quite simple. Fresh is best! While it’s great to be able to catch your own squid, salmon, couta and garfish this is not always possible so if you have to use frozen bait my number one tip is to check that its eyes are clear and it’s free of freezer burn. Personally for this time of year i like to go snapper fishing with at least squid, pilchards and silver whiting as my offerings to the snapper Gods! 


Finally burley is a must, when the fish are moving like they are at the moment a good burley trail is essential to keep them in the one place and in the mood to feed! Pellets, logs and cubing are all successful methods.


The boys at Peninsula Total Tackle (11 Boneo Rd, Rosebud or call 5981 1994) said that “It’s that time of the year and the southern end of Port Phillip Bay has been seeing some big squid. Most of the action has been in the tidal areas around Queenscliff and Lonsdale Bight and if you can organise a session on the slack water, Point Lonsdale and Nepean Bay has been pretty good too. Guys are using a variety of means from the old baited jigs through your standard artificial jigs. Gancraft have been popular this year and will no doubt continue to account for fish over the coming month. And, Snapper are clearly the other species on everyone’s mind, most of the action is from little further up the bay however. The best reports we have had have been off Mt Eliza in 16-18m although some fish have been coming from Mornington to Mt Marthas, as yet, still remains pretty slow… but that will all change in the next few weeks.”


Mornington boat hire at Schnapper Point had some lovely fish landed over the weekend with quite a few snapper to 4.5kg and one monster of 8kg! Best locations have been B buoy, Ansetts and C buoy. Pinkie snapper are also in great numbers around the mussel farm. Also the flathead are in good numbers and for those willing to fish for them the squid and whiting have returned to the Mornington and Mt Eliza area, with best results in 3-6m of water. 


Fishing in the deep water and the channels of Port Phillip and Western Port Bay there has been some great School and Gummy Sharks landed to 25kg, as always the change of the tide and fresh bait has been best.


At Yaringa, Jonny from Yaringa boat hire reports Snapper to 6kg from Lysaghts, snapper to 9kg at Joes Island, Gummy sharks in the mouth of Watsons Inlet and eagle rock, and good numbers of whiting from Hastings all the way to Warneet. He said that the top of the tide and the ebb tide has been best, and added that other fish boated this week included Leatherjacket, flathead, pike, salmon, gurnard, mullet and mackerel.


From Carrum the number one topic has been snapper with lots of boats trying their luck. Many snapper to 8kg have been boated and some of the most popular locations have included 11m Seaford, 16m and 19m Mt Eliza, 14m and 21m  Frankston and Carrum. While the snapper have at times been patchy some great bags are being hauled by those fishing the change of tide and using burley. The best results are coming from lightly weighted rigs fished in the burley trail.


For those hitting the water please play it safe and obey all boating and fishing regulations !


Tight lines and calm seas

Paul Pingiaro


Managing Director

Mornington Boat Hire, Bait & Tackle Pty Ltd


Schnapper Point Boat Hire, Mornington, Port Phillip Bay.


Yaringa Boat Hire, Somerville, Western Port Bay.



p: 0417 551 373