Winter is coming... and so are the Snapper! In fact they're already here. We are starting to see the traditional winter weather patterns emerge with stable mornings influenced by light, dry westerly breezes. We missed out on these morning “glass outs” last year but it seems this winter is shaping up to be a lot more stable.
The large rain falls we saw at the beginning of April flushed huge amounts of nutrients from our rivers and creeks out to sea which was a real “shot in the arm” for our local fishery with large numbers of fish being attracted to and following these nutrient trails. We had already started to see some quality Snapper showing up early at the end of March and this boost in nutrients has turned up at the perfect time to entice them into the bay and on to the shallow offshore reefs in better numbers, earlier than usual.
Snapper feed primarily at sunrise and sunset. A super early, pre-dawn start is essential to make sure you're at the right place at the right time when targeting that morning Snapper bite period. Finding the fish is a similar theory to the one mentioned last month for pelagics, except instead of high current pronounced pressure edges you're looking for similar, less pronounced, underwater pressure edges holding baitfish. This basically just means fishing the “up current” side of a piece of structure. My preferred method of targeting Snapper is with soft plastics in the 5” - 7” range rigged on a 3/8oz or 1/2oz jighead with a 5/0 – 7/0 hook. Fished up off the bottom a few meters with a slow jigging action broken up with long sink periods. The lighter your tackle the more bites you will get, but also the more fish you will lose, it's a catch 22. Another popular and proven method is to anchor up near the structure and start a burly trail, bringing the fish to you, then “floating” a lightly weighted pilchard or squid bait down the burly trail. Snapper will swim up quite high in the water column to grab a bait or lure and are often caught much higher in the water column than other similar demersal species. I've seen many a floating pilly intended for a pelagic get eaten by a Snapper.
Still plenty of Longtail Tuna around in the bay and to the north with schools of 10kg+ fish being quite common. They were temporarily pushed offshore with the rain early in the month but soon followed that nutrient trail back in and at times they've even been spotted feeding on bait right up into the passage. And of course, those challenging big Spanish Mackerel are still around in plentiful numbers. They're BIG trophy fish. Good luck with them!
Going to have to cut this month’s report shorter than initially intended as I've had some big distractions and preparations to make... I was recently informed I'd be a guest aboard Big Cat Reality Fishing Charters on an expedition 520km offshore to a remote coral atoll in the Cato trough called Kenn Reef. Courtesy of Escape with ET and Anaconda stores. We'll be chasing monster class pelagics such as Dogtooth Tuna and GT's and will certainly make for some interesting viewing. I'll keep you updated on what will be 1 of the best Escape with ET episodes yet.
Tight lines folks!