Best time to go fishing?

I’m often asked by my customers, “when is the best time to go fishing”, or “when is the best time to catch Snapper”?

Of course, I love fishing, so my answer usually whenever you can get on the water!

Before starting my fishing charter business and not being on the water all the time, I would try to work out when is the best time to go fishing to make the most of the opportunity on the water. I gave some thought to when the best time is to catch snapper and decided to write about it for others to enjoy.

1. First light: Before I began running fishing charters I was always on the water before first light, heading to my usual favourite spots and getting rods in the water with a slight burley trail going and waiting for the sun to peak through the horizon. As the sun begins to lift from dark to light; that moment of anticipation always had me on the edge of the seat waiting for the first rod to buckle over. Still today, I love seeing the first fish of the day at first light.

2. Last light: As the season approached late November or early December, I would also head out in the evening as the fish would continue to bite after the sun had set. Dashing out after work, after dark, I would continue until I reached my bag limit.

When is the best time to go fishing?

3. Change in weather: After a big cold front has come through, heading out as soon as the barometer begins to lift, snapper fishing is at its best. Following a big southerly blow, often I have often bagged out, in as little as 7 to 15 metres of water from Chelsea to Frankston. I’ve had rods buckling as soon as we have sounded the fish up and anchored. A rising barometer is the key.

Northerly winds are also great times to catch Snapper I am usually fishing deeper water on those hot days or balmy evenings, before the cool change comes through, I have found the snapper stirred up and ready to go as the barometer is dropping. A moving barometer is the key. I have found a changing temperate, especially if it’s been stable for several days is a great time to fish.

4. Tides: To have a tide change close to first light and last light was always more favourable. Almost as good as this is to have a tide change when you are on the water, while waiting for fish to bite, it is worth sitting that little bit longer for the tide to change before heading back home.

5. Now that I am operating a charter boat, my answer to the questions is: whenever you can book to get on a boat, it doesn’t matter if its 5am 10am or 3pm, as we are often on the water, we know the best spots to catch fish at any time, so it’s a matter of what suits you.

What separates us from the recreational fisherman is the hours we spend on the water and the distance we are willing to travel to put our customers onto the Snapper. We don’t always catch fish, however, it’s not usually too far away before we find the schools of Snapper and the patterns of each Snapper season. Keep in mind that each year is different.

Finding Snapper that are feeding, regardless of the conditions, comes as a result of the time we spend on the water, preparation and persistence. Pursuing Snapper for our clients normally ends with customers going home with a feed of Snapper.

Thanks for reading our article: Best time to go fishing? We hope you enjoyed it.

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Fishing data obtained from Victorian Fishing Authority