Snapper Back Strong
  |  First Published: November 2010

We’ve been experiencing some of the best snapper fishing I’ve seen in years. Early signs all pointed to a good season, and the snapper haven’t disappointed. They turned the corner in early August with the cooler conditions and catching our bag limit didn’t take much effort at all.

Even though we haven’t pulled any real monster snapper, most in the 1-3kg bracket with 5kg being the largest, there’s been plenty of them. The fish have been widespread from 29, 33, 35, 42 fathom reefs and Deep Tempest east of Moreton Island.

The weather conditions, as well as current, have dictated where I’ve fished on a particular charter. The days that there’s been good current flow, the 29 and 33 fathom reefs have fired and I haven’t had to look elsewhere, but when there’s not been a lot of current, we’ve been heading to the wider grounds on the 35 and 42 fathom reefs and in the Deep Tempest area.

Floatlining with pillies has accounted for 99% of fish caught and most days we were able to do long drifts with the shute out and pull fish along the reef for a couple of kilometres. On the most recent charters we’ve had little trouble reaching our limit and most days we’ve left them chewing. However, apparently this shouldn’t be happening according to the science the fisheries are throwing at us in their push for lengthy closures of our rocky reef species.

The last couple of years it’s also been all doom and gloom on the stocks of Spanish mackerel, but this past season was a cracker and was the best in at least the last six years. Great numbers have been caught all along the coast, which again disagrees with the science. Ask any of the old pro fishers and they’ll tell you fishing is like farming, you have good and bad years, depending on what conditions Mother Nature throws at you and that it runs in cycles.

We’re now in El Nino weather pattern and the fishing has turned the corner. The last couple of months have also seen more rain and cooler temps than the corresponding time last year and this has definitely helped bring the fish on the chew.

I speak to a lot of fishos – rec, commercial and charter – and most of them who are fishing in the Point Lookout to Cape Moreton area are catching plenty of good snapper. Seeing that the season has been a late start they should continue through October, November and possibly December. I recall a few years back we were pulling quality fish in the wide Caloundra area in December.

Nevertheless, despite the recent captures some fisheries management are interpreting the so-called science the way they want; often in a detrimental way to rec and commercial fishos. By the stocks of snapper at present the fishery is no where near as bad as they’re making out. Let’s hope they don’t make any hasty decisions to keep Anna Bligh’s Green friends happy!

The federal leader of the Greens stated before the election 90% of snapper stacks were gone, it just goes to show how out of touch and how little some pollies know. The main problem is that there are plenty of voters out there that believe them…

Anyway back to the fishing, this month should see the snapper still in good numbers and worth targeting with the wider grounds and Shallow Tempest worth a look.

Amberjacks and yellowtail kingfish should be on the go on the 35, 37, and 42 fathom reefs east of Moreton Island, as well as most deep water structures. Livies and jigs were both taking their fair share of fish this time last year, so stick with what works.

We also pulled plenty of quality trag from the wider grounds and again they should be worth targeting until next month.

Enjoy your fishing take care on the coastal bars and if you’d like to join me on charter (max. 5 persons) give me a call on 07 3822 9527 or 0418 738 750 or visit www.outlawcharters.com.au.

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