Fishing in Queenscliffe this September will come with a few different challenges. As the weather might still be wild from time to time, catching certain fish will also be banned.
FISH OF THE MONTH: PINK SNAPPER
Prized by recreational fishers for its delicious taste, the Pink Snapper is one of the most iconic species you can catch in Queenscliff and the most prominent species in the month of September.
While the Pink snapper grows relatively slowly, they can grow to more than one metre and up to 10kg. It’s because of their slow growth rate that the stocks (also known as populations) can take a long time to recover from overfishing.
While spawning, the Pink Snapper are often found in the same few locations each year. During this stage they can culminate into groups of thousands where their eggs and sperm are released into the water and fertilisation takes place externally.
This species has an average lifespan of 40 years. The juvenile snapper is often referred to as a ‘Pinky’. The minimum legal size for a Pinky is 28cm. A Maximum of 3 fish can be 40cm or over.
THE RIGHT TECHNIQUES
BOTTOM BOUNCING is an older technique that’s been used with success for some time. It’s a fairly simple method for targeting these fish. Look for a significant reef system in the 30 to 70m depth range.
With this method it’s good to fish on the drift: i.e don’t drop the anchor. This allows you to cover ground and locate a school of fish, provided the speed of drift isn’t too high.
Once your baits hit the bottom, lift the baits about a metre or two from the bottom, to prevent getting caught on the reef below. Then it’s a case of slowly lifting and dropping the rod tip. Keeping the baits on the move can help nearby reef fish see your baits.
FLOATING BAITS is a technique used when your target fish prefers bait in the current or mid water and the best way to achieve this is with a float. There are four main types of float used: wagglers, sticks, poles and sliding floats.
Generally speaking, the deeper the water and harsher the conditions, the bigger the float you will need. When specifically fishing for Snapper it’s important to note they find slow sinking baits hard to resist. If you’re in water that’s shallower than 30m, floating lightly weighted baits back into a berley trail is a great method.
When fishing for Snapper, You won’t need the larger bulky outfits. It;s suggested to use a 5-8kg spin rod around 7′ to 7’6″ in length. If that’s matched with a 3000 to 5000 reel, you’ll be able to flick lures or baits with it all day without losing too much energy.
The best bait to use are whole fish baits such as pilchards, tommy rough, yellow tail, garfish and whiting.
BANNED SPECIES IN SEPTEMBER: MURRAY COD
There is a closed season for Murray cod between 1 September and 30 November inclusive. If you catch a Murray cod during this period you must return it to the water as quickly and carefully as possible.
The closure for Murray Cod aims to protect the native species during its breeding season. They lay their eggs on a submerged log or other structure, where they hatch 6-13 days later, with juveniles feeding freely within 3-4 weeks.
Each adult female will lay up to 40,000 eggs, with only a small proportion surviving to maturity.
In recent times over fishing and the destruction of their habitat has caused cod numbers in the wild to decline drastically.
As spring approaches the fish will begin to stir. So keep bearing the brunt of the cold weather and get rewarded for braving the elements!