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HOW TO LURE SNAPPER


Can you believe the year is half over?  Everyone seems busy, busy, busy! The kids are making the most of their holidays by inundating the shopping centers, businesses are madly getting the books in order for the end of financial year audits and anglers coast-wide have been taking advantage of some brilliant flat days on the water.  This is what July is all about!  Last week snapper was the main focus, with bait presentation and best rigs to use featuring.  This week, we'll take a look at best techniques to use and tips when using lures for snapper.

 

Bouncing a 6-8oz snapper lead with two big suicide hooks in a paternoster rig is great for deep water fishing at The Barwon Banks for instance.  If you have never heard of the term ‘paternoster' before, it is any style of hook rig where the leader is tied to a fixed lead/sinker, the hooks then are on droppers above the lead. Usually one to three hooks are used on a paternoster rig depending on the species you are after. The droppers can be either blood loops tied directly in the leader or more often a stop knot, bead, swivel, bead, stop knot arrangement is used. This rig is used around the world on pelagic species where a decent depth is involved. See the picture below for a better idea.

Unfortunately this kind of set-up doesn't really cut it on the local inshore reefs. More finesse is needed to land the big one in the shallows. The fish tend to be much more finicky on the local shallow reefs. Sweetlip, parrot and snapper will often pick at the bait until there isn't any left on the hook when you have heavy lead. You occasionally feel the fish pulling away with the bait in their mouth, but generally once you apply pressure, they drop it. In this situation you either need to be really good at knowing when to strike or change your tackle to a lighter running sinker rig or floater.

 

Floated baits are un-weighted and usually suspend in mid water or slowly sink to the bottom. If the current is strong, then a small ball sinker can be put above the hook to help it get down deeper. Baits generally get smashed on the way down or when the boat jerks up and down with the wave action. Bait runner reels like the Abu Garcia Premium and Freeliner range are ideal for fishing floater style rigs because of their twin drag system. After casting the bait out, you set the bait run bottom drag as light as you can without have major over runs. When the reef fish picks up the bait in its mouth it can swim off without feeling any weight. Once the fish does so, the angler winds the handle and engages the top drag, which is set somewhat tighter and as a result set the hook in the fish's mouth. I use the Freeliner and similar dual drag reels when exclusively chasing snapper and find the hook up rate is much higher than conventional spinning reels.

 

Apart from being hard fighting fish, snapper are one of the best eating fish in the sea. If bled and put in an ice slurry soon after capture snapper fillets are delectable.

The best times for snapper fishing are dawn, dusk and over night and around the bottom or top of the tide. Drifting is a particularly good way to find snapper. Once you get onto a hot bite, anchor and berley up. Otherwise look for a rise in depth and try to anchor so that your bait ends up on the edge of or on top of the rise.

 

Soft plastics: The 4 inch Berkley Power baits and Gulp 5 inch Jerk shads are always a mainstay to have on hand in the tacklebox. The whole range of colours work, but I have found the best to be glow, smelt, nuclear chicken and chartreuse pepper neon. Jig heads with heavy gauge 3/0-5/0 hooks are needed to avoid losing the fish through straightening or crushing of the hook. Jig head weight can vary depending on depth, but in most cases a 3/8 to 1/2 oz will do. Start a berley trail and cast the plastics out as far as you can. Let the plastic work it's was to the bottom then jerk the rod upwards a couple of times, letting the plastic sink back down. If you don't receive a strike then wind it back up and repeat these steps over again. Also try drifting over a rise in the bottom working your plastic up over the bottom in an upward jerking motion.

 

Hard bodied lures:  The use of metal slugs and deep divers are not uncommon in coastal waters.  Trolling along rocky coastline at dawn and dusk can produce good snapper. Close in deep water off the rocks at Coolum, Noosa National Park, Point Cartwright and Caloundra are very productive areas. A range of deep divers made by Halco and RMG in a variety of colours have proven popular over many winter seasons to date. Snapper will feed in mid to deep water, so once you know the depth try to work the lure around half way down and you should be within their strike zone. The Scorpion Crazy Deep by RMG dives to 8 metres and would be perfect for working areas like Currimundi Reef and the Inner Gneerings. Also, try to look for baitfish, structures and spots that show on the sounder and drag your lure past in the hope of hooking up.

 

These big pink knobbies of the sea are well worth a try during the winter months and considering we are already a third through winter - you better get your skates on! So be sure to take the boat outside and chase these fun, tasty fish.


LOCAL FISHING REPORT

Noosa: Coral trout, snapper and long tail tuna from Sunshine Reef. Tailor and good sized dart along north shore. Trevally and tailor in Woods bay.  Luderick form the rock walls at the river mouth. Flathead throughout the lower reaches.

Maroochydore: Cobia to 24kg, snapper and coronation trout from the Barwon Banks. Parrot and snapper from Murphy's reef. Tailor and bream along north shore. Bream, tailor and jew to 89cm in the cod hole. Bream from the lower reaches.

Kawana: Snapper to 3kg, moses perch and parrot from the 12 mile reef. Tarwhine to 1.5kg , bream to 800g and some big dart at dawn and dusk from Kawana Beach. Gar in the sand basin and along La Balsa wall.

Caloundra: Flathead to 68cm on small lures on the north western tip of Bribie Island. Trevally and cod on lure in Pelican Waters. Chopper tailor and bream in the channel out from the boardwalk on the top of the tide.



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