King George whiting on display in Carrum, Steve Cooper

The Launching Way boat ramp facility at Carrum is the best in the bay but during snapper season anglers who haven’t launched their boats and parked their cars by about 6am have to go elsewhere. Managed by Parks Victoria, Launching Way has four boat ramps and parking for about 275 cars with trailers. To maintain order, up to four staff direct traffic.

Carrum is popular because it is safe and close to the fish. Inshore grounds will produce King George whiting, pinkies, squid, flathead and salmon. Anglers also head to outer reefs and deeper water of  16–20 m for big snapper and gummy sharks.

I fished out of here with charter skipper Mark Kassar, among others, and he taught me about moving baits and snapper. While many anglers work bow and stern anchors, or increase the size of their sinkers to hold baits in position, Mark allowed his boat to swing and used small sinkers so that the bait was on the move. He reckons small fish attacking a bait, even flathead, can attract larger fish.

Some of the best big baits include fish heads, such as whiting and couta, salmon and mullet, whole or cubed, and squid and cuttlefish heads and strips. Preferably use big baits in conjunction with berley, but use a berley pot that can be tripped open on the bottom rather than the pot attached to the stern of the boat. Snapper are on the bottom and a berley trail started at the surface thins too fast as it sinks.

The closest GPS marks popular with snapper anglers include Outer Artificial (S38.04.560, E145.02.340), Mile Bridge (S38.06.500, E145.05.400), Chelsea Reef (S38.03.534, E145.05.273) and the Hospital (S38.10.100, E145.02.500).

Frankston pier produces a variety of species but the main ones are garfish, salmon, squid and flathead. Canadian and Daveys bays at Mount Eliza are highly regarded for their whiting. Mornington Pier is highly regarded and regularly produces big snapper after a blow, as well as salmon, mullet, garfish and squid. Inshore reefs will produce whiting, pinkies, flathead and squid while the offshore waters are well known for their big snapper. The 19–21 m  line from Mornington to Mount Martha consistently produces snapper throughout the season, and often into winter.

Boat ramps are at Patterson River, North Road Brighton, Ricketts Point (beach launch for small craft), Black Rock, Mordialloc Creek, Kananook Creek and Olivers Hill, Frankston, Mornington Pier, Fisherman’s Beach Mornington, Dromana Safety Beach, McCrae, Rosebud, Rye, Tootgarook and Sorrento.

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