Welcome to the Trolling for snapper salmon flathead and snook in Port Phillip Bay Best Lures guide. I love fishing, and the endless bound of possibilities it presents. This might be trying a new location, targeting a new species or trying a new lure of techniques. I really enjoy the experimental side of fishing pushing you to continually learn new ways of catching fish. Recently I have become quite obsessed with trolling for saltwater species around Melbourne particularly snapper, salmon and snook. Trolling both in my kayak and small runabout boat around Port Phillip Bay and Western Port. Contrary to popular belief species like snapper will not only feed on the bottom but also in middle and shallow depths. When they are feeding and in an aggressive mode trolling is a great option to catch them.
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Feel free to also read our detailed guide on how to catch snapper in Port Phillip Bay and Western Port
Choosing a trolling lure in Port Phillip Bay
This was my starting point which included visits to many local tackle stores to understand the lures available for this style of fishing. I quickly learnt that there are multiple important factors that you need to understand before choosing a lure.
THE DIVING DEPTH
Firstly, the diving depth of the lure is critical. It’s really important to understand which species will take a lure high up in the water column and lower down in the water colum. Example species like salmon and snook are happy to take shallow diving lures that stay in the top 3rd of the water colum. Whilst fish species like snapper and flathead are more likely to take deep diving lures in the bottom third of the water colum.
When fishing on my kayak in port Phillip bay I’m often fishing in depths of 4-6 meters. So, I generally have a few different options with me. Some shallow divers, mid divers and deep divers. having a trolling lure that dives down to around 3 meters is ideal. Having one dive down to 8 meters would be pointless as it would simply be dragging on the bottom. Especially considering that I don’t have downriggers on my kayak and boat and many others won’t either. Many TV shows and documents will show expensive boats completely kitted out with the best available tools but let’s face it most of us don’t have or can’t afford those luxuries.
Depending on the species that I’m targeting I will chop and change between lure choices based on the logic above in diving depth.
Next, it’s important to select the right size lure. Most deep-diving trolling lures sold on the market are between 60mm and 150mm. When fishing Port Phillip Bay around Melbourne many of those lures will be far too big. I find between 50mm and 90mm to be that sweet spot. Tht size imitates many of our baitfish species really well and is a size that even a pinkie or bay trout will be confident enough to have a go at.
I find peddling on your kayak to be a wonderful trolling speed. It gets the lure down and is at a good speed that really encourages bites. Therefore when I’m on my boat I will go almost as slow as I can.
The best trolling lures for snapper salmon flathead and snook in Port Phillip Bay
Rapala Shadow Rap Jack Deep
The Rapala Shadow Rap Jack Deep lures are very versatile and work equally as well in lakes, Rivers, estuaries and the Bay. I can say with confidence that this is a wonderful option for trolling around Port Phillip Bay. It comes in 2 different sizes the 5cm version which weighs 5.7 grams and dives down to 3M and the 7cm version which weighs 10 grams and dives down to 4M. This makes it an ideal choice for pinkies and flathead when fishing in depths between 3-6 meters deep. These lures have quality components and strong trebles which are suitable for the size of fish species being targeted. They cost $24.99 from most retail outlets.
Daiwa Steez Shad 60DR
The Daiwa Steez shad is a wonderful profile size for fishing around Port Phillip Bay. Its smaller and thin body resembles our local baitfish probably better than most recommendations in this guide. It has excellent components and swimming action that will tempt multiple species depending on the depth that you are fishing. Flathead in the shallows, pinkies in 3-5 meters deep and many salmon and bay trout. This 60mm profile comes in several outstanding colours however I like to match the harch and use anything that imitates a baitfish like the silvers. It weighs 6.7 grams and dives down to 2.5 meters deep. They cost $22.99 from most retail outlets.
Halco Poltergeist 50
This is a very versatile trolling lure at slow speeds that can get you down to 3 meters using the 50mm version down to 5 meters using the 80mm versions. These were designed with Barramundi in mind and have a range of bright colours however they also work very well on slat water species such as snapper https://www.halcotackle.com/products/poltergeist-50/
Savage Gear 3D Shrimp XD Extra deep
This is a prawn XD a small hard body lure with realistic colours imitating a shrimp with a larger bib that will get you down to about 3 meters deep. This is an extremely good choice for flathead and pinkies in waters between 3-5 meters deep https://www.bcf.com.au/p/savage-3d-shrimp-extra-deep-runner-hard-body-lure-5cm-sand-shrimp-5cm-4.8g/543161.html
Daiwa Infeet Spike 44EXDR
New in 2021 is the revised Daiwa Infeet Spike 44EXDR. These lures were designed to target bream and flathead in deeper estuary waters as a great slow swimming alternative to popular lures such as the double-clutch. However, these lures are remarkably versatile and have been found successful for a whole range of fish species including trout in lakes, perch in rivers and fish within Port Phillip Bay. This smaller 44mm profile comes in a good range of colours It weighs 4.2 grams and dives down to 4 meters deep. They cost $22.99 from most retail outlets.
GM Gillies Classic Dr evil
This is a 90mm hard body lure with some cool colours that dives down to 7 meters or 20 foot. http://www.jmgillies.com.au/product/dr-evil/
Daiwa double clutch
This is an extremely popular lure more known in the bream and trout scene. However, the larger models such as the 75mm and the 95mm can get down to 2 meters and can be effective over shallow reefs and flats for snapper. Locally in Port Phillip Bay, i have found them very good for snook, salon and flathead in the shallows. They need to introduction as they are one of the most popular lures on the market today https://daiwafishing.com.au/products/pros-double-clutch-izm
Rapala X-Rap magnum
This lure is often associated with bigger game fishing but the 100mm and 1100 mm versions can be an ideal choice for snapper. There are realistic colours choices and quality finishing that makes this another great choice https://www.bcf.com.au/p/rapala-x-rap-magnum-10-hard-body-lure-11cm/M274070.html
Other great snapper trolling lures
- OSP Powerdunk – https://osp-lures.com/product/power-dunk-sp/
- Luckycraft pointer 65 XD – http://www.luckycraft.com/luckycrafthome/Products/jerkbait/pointer65xd.htm
- Rapala shadow rap deep – https://www.rapala.com/rapala/lures/shadow-rap-series/shadow-rap-deep-/Shadow+Rap+Deep.html
- Daiwa Spike – https://daiwafishing.com.au/products/tournament-spike-53sp-2
- Derek Tango shad – http://www.wilsonfishing.com/Products/Lures/Zerek-Innovation-Lures/Tango-Shad-50
How to pick the right colour when choosing a trolling lure
Generally, my first choice is always a natural colour. Often going for blues and silvers that mimick a bait fish or pilchard. The red and whites continue to be very popular choices.
Rod and Tackle selection for trolling.
When trolling for snapper in inshore waters my goto is a 3-6 kilo spin rod coupled with a 3000 reel spooled with 10-15 pound braid and 15-20 pound fluorocarbon leader. When fishing offshore this is stepped up to heavier rod, reel, line and leader.
Final notes from the author
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