Unveiling the Secrets of Snapper Fishing in Port Phillip and Westernport Bays: A Compleat Angler Dandenong How-to Guide.

This guide will reveal all the tips and techniques you need to catch the prized Snapper. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned angler, we have got you covered.

We’ll start by delving into the behaviour and habitat of Snapper, equipping you with the knowledge you need to find these elusive fish.

We’ll also unveil the must-have gear and tackle required for successful snapper fishing, providing recommendations to help you make the right choices. And, of course, we’ll share our top tips for baiting, casting, and reeling in these feisty fish.

Understanding snapper behaviour and habitat

Snapper, also known as Pagrus auratus, migrate to deeper waters during winter and return to the shallows during the warmer months to spawn, specifically as the water in the two bays has warmed up to 17C.

Best time and season for snapper fishing.

Snapper start to enter the bays in September, although the numbers usually pick up in October and run through to early December; as mentioned before, the water temperature is critical to this timing. During the heat of summer, Snapper tend to move to the deeper, cooler waters. However, they often return from February through to early May, offering anglers another good bite.

Time and Tide for catching Snapper.

Snapper seem to be most active during first and last light. Fishing during these times increases your chances of a successful catch.

The tide plays a significant role in snapper fishing. Many anglers prefer to fish during the first few hours of the incoming tide or the last few hours of the outgoing tide when the water movement is most pronounced.

Weather and Light Conditions:

Cloudy or overcast days seem to be excellent for snapper fishing. They provide more comfortable conditions for Snapper to venture closer to the surface. Light to moderate winds are generally preferred.

Some anglers believe fishing around the new or full moon can be particularly productive. Do these phases influence fish behaviour, or is the influence the moon has on the tide?

How to find the Snapper in the Bays.

Snapper are predominantly bottom-dwelling fish commonly found in rocky reefs, seagrass beds, and sandy areas.

  1. So, using a quality GPS/sounder combo is often the best way to find Snapper in the bays.
  2. Our weekly fishing reports will generally give you an idea of where the fish have been biting, although Snapper are influenced by weather changes and can move around a lot over a few days.
  3. Because we serve so many anglers who target Snapper, we probably have the most up-to-date knowledge of where the Snapper are biting. Come into the store and talk to us.

Image taken from John Adams book - How to use an Echo Sounder / Fish Finder.

Essential Equipment and Gear for Snapper Fishing

Having the right equipment and gear is essential when targeting Snapper. You need to understand that the rig you use in Westernport differs significantly from that you would choose for Port Phillip Bay. This is primarily due to the two bays’ having very different tidal flows. So local knowledge is essential. Each Spring, we buy in the latest and most appropriate tackle for the two bays.

Our Snapper information leaflet, which you can download here, gives some general information about the style of rigging you will need; we strongly recommend that you come into the store and talk with us about exactly what and how you should be rigging for each Bay.

We are not just the biggest independent fishing tackle warehouse in Melbourne; we also have five of the most knowledgeable anglers working in-store. The chances are that during the season, at least one of us has been out catching Snapper in the last few days. We also talk to over a hundred anglers daily, so we gather huge amounts of information we are happy to share with you.

Below are two general examples of how you might rig your bait for the two bays. Come into the store and talk to us for more up-to-date and alternative options.

Choosing the right bait, lures and Berley for Snapper.

Snapper, it seems, are fussy eaters! The bait we recommend vary between the two bays and from season to season. Again, this knowledge comes from what we and other anglers are finding works. Generally, we would say that Squid, Pilchards or Yakka work in Westernport and Squid, Pilchards or Silver Whiting are preferred in Port Phillip.

Berley is critical to catching Snapper, particularly in Port Phillip Bay. However, which Berlay and how you use it can make the difference between hauling them in and a quiet trip. So again, we suggest you come into the store and talk with us about what exactly is working this season.

Safety precautions and regulations for Snapper fishing

While snapper fishing is exhilarating, it’s essential to prioritize safety and adhere to fishing regulations.

Before heading out, always check the weather forecast and sea conditions. It’s advisable to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) when fishing from a boat, even if you’re a strong swimmer.

Bag Limits and Size for Snapper.

Familiarize yourself with the local fishing regulations, including size and bag limits. For Snapper in Victoria, they are as follows.

Bag Limit: 10 (of which no more than 3 fish may be equal to or exceed 40cm in length)

Additional Info: These fish can’t be filleted in or on Victorian waters. They must be kept whole or in carcass form until you’re away from the water. It’s okay to fillet your fish on the cleaning tables at the boat ramp.

Pick up a Victorian Fisheries Fish Length Ruller sticker for your boat or tackle bag in-store to stick to the rules and avoid a fine.

For more information on Fishing Regulations and Bag Sizes for all Victorian Salt and Freshwater fish please visit The Victorian Fishery Authority website.

Fishing License.

Ensure you have the necessary fishing licenses. Victorian Fishing Licenses are available in-store.

Snapper – Maximum 3 fish may be 40cm or over

Juvenile snapper (pinky) – Minimum legal size: 28cm

Important – Please care for our Environment and the Future of Fishing.

At Compleat Angler Dandenong, we do everything we can to respect and care for the environment. We practice catch and release whenever possible.

Snapper are a slow-growing species, and protecting their population for future generations to enjoy is essential.