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Offshore
  |  First Published: May 2011



If it’s not fishing closures, it’s bad weather limiting our opportunities to head offshore in the southeast corner. But whenever there has been a break in the weather the fish haven’t let us down.

The pelagics especially spotted and Spanish mackerel have continued to be caught in good numbers throughout the southeast corner and the usual candidates of amberjacks, Samson, trag and yellowtail kingfish have also kept anglers busy on the wider grounds.

This month will continue to give fishos the chance to target both pelagics and bottom fish. Most of the surface critters are usually fairly hefty fish this time of year, as the water temperature starts to drop a little and they follow the bait schools and the warmer water north.

As the water temperature continues to fall, snapper will start to show at the regular haunts. My logs over the past few years have shown some reasonable snapper catches in late May and June but the most consistent snapper fishing have been from around mid July to late October. Other anglers fishing different locations may have a different view but off the south passage bar, that has been the pattern for the last couple of years.

Last year’s snapper season was as good as I’ve experienced for several years and with the amount of rain we continue to have, I’m again looking forward to another bumper season catching snapper for my clients.

I keep my snapper fishing fairly simple these days, float lining with 30lb mono line, a pack of 5/0 or 6/0 VMC hooks and as little lead as conditions permit. Pillies account for more than 90% of the snapper we catch on charter, but make sure they are the local product, not imported species.

When targeting snapper remember you don’t have to find the huge shows of fish on the sounder, on a lot of occasions all you need to see are a few flecks up off the bottom and you might get a pleasant surprise when you drop a bait. Once you have found the feeding fish don’t make the mistake of driving back up your drift line go wide of your plot track and go above your mark to start another drift.

Learning to sense where the bottom is in relation to your bait when floating with light leads is the real art of snapper fishing and once you’ve mastered that, the results will follow.

This month should also produce both pelagics and bottom fish east of the South Passage bar. The Point Lookout area will be worth a troll for Spanish mackerel, wahoo and yellowfin tuna, and the wider reefs should fish well for amberjack, Samson fish, trag and yellowtail kingfish. Snapper and pearlies will definitely be worth targeting once the water temp starts to drop a little.

As for the latest on the snapper review, we just have to play a waiting game now to see which direction the government choses to go. Let’s hope they’ve listened to sound argument from all sectors and get the management plan right so that marine based business can be as sustainable as snapper.

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

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