It's that time of year again when the Snapper show up along the East Coast of Australia in good numbers. To follow is a quick insight into how I catch stacks of these very cool fish including the products I suggest that get the job done.
DETERMINE THE TYPE OF FISHING YOU'LL BE DOING:
Firstly, You will find Snapper hanging pretty close to shore in Winter, in as little as 7-10 metres of water at times however its usually the 15-30 metre mark that I find most of my fish. What you're looking for on your sounder is arches stacked but firstly and way more importantly you need to find the bait. Find the food source and you will find the predatory fish. I will literally sound around for an hour if I have to to find the bait (and the Snapper) rather than fishing blindly for them. It can be pretty frustrating as you just want to start casting and catching but I think if you really spend the time searching them out on your sounder your session success can be so much more fruitful.
Now, let's say you get a really good show on your sounder; the first thing you do is drive up or even past where you sounded the fish and drift back over them. If your drift is too fast think about using a sea anchor to slow you down or if you have an electric motor its very effective to spot lock around 15-20 metres away so you can fan a few casts back at them.
Rod and reel is easy: 3000-4000 size reel (20-30 pound braid) with a 7 foot 8-12 pound rod is ideal. Fish light, it's way more fun.
I never use bait on Snapper. Never. It's just not necessary in my opinion. I use 7 inch Jerk shads (mainly McArthy’s these days) of varying colours on a 5/8 or 4/4 ounce jig heads with a 7/0 or 8/0 hook. This will obviously vary depending on the current and depth you're fishing but for me in around 20-30 metres of water they are my go sizes. You may think a 7inch bait is big for a Snapper but believe me its not. They love a big bait to munch on.
Another go to lure for me is a Zerek Fishtrap that I like to use when the current slows a bit. Big Snapper love a vibrating lure and the Fishtraps smash plenty.
In terms of leader I don’t go heavier than 30 pound fluro carbon but mostly use 20 pound. A bit light for some but I have have even gone down to 10 pound leader when the bite was tough.
Ok so what's the technique? I simply put out a nice long cast and let the plastic sink to the bottom. This is the time in most cases when you get your bite. You have to watch very carefully for a tick in your line that represents a Snapper bite. If you see that ’tick or bite’ you need to strike hard and set the hook in the tough mouth of the Snapper.
More often than not though really big Snapper just smash your bait on the drop. If you don't get a bite on the first drop I will give the plastic a few sharp jigs off the bottom and let it sink down again. I will however, only do this maybe twice and then wind back in and start again. That initial drop is by far the one that gets the most bites.
If you are a bait fisho that likes to anchor up and burley but you want to try something different, I promise you once you give this style of fishing a go you'll see your catch rates improve and I truly believe that your average size of fish caught will also improve. It's a stack of fun. Tight Lines. Bergie