Snapper in season
  |  First Published: May 2012

We are coming into one of my favourite times of year to be fishing the bay and I can’t wait to see what kind of snapper season is ahead. If the early season indications are anything to go by, then we are in for an awesome season.

There is no better feeling than getting to the boat ramp before sunrise on a winter morning and heading out for an early snapper session. It seems as though there are more and more people out on the water chasing these prized fish. It’s great that people are enjoying our great local fishery but it does mean that we keen snapper fishos may have to refine our techniques a little and look for new spots under a lot less pressure.

When looking for new areas to fish, most people tend to look for boats that are in areas that they don’t normally fish because it is easier than doing the hard work themselves. But putting in the hard yards to find productive locations of your own can definitely pay off, as these areas aren’t as heavily fished as the popular spots in the bay.

I have been focusing on finding new locations in the last month or two and there is no better way to look for new spots than spending time out on the water.

I watch my sounder like a hawk while I am travelling around between spots. Not only am I looking for pinnacles but also patches of soft spiral shaped coral that grows like grass out of the rubble bottom. We have a lot of foul grounds in the bay and it’s places like these that you will find this soft coral growing. Generally in these areas there will also be some drop-offs, as spots like these are quite often shallower than the surrounding areas.

When looking for little bits and pieces of growth on the bottom it does pay to have a colour sounder. This makes it a lot easier to distinguish between the bottom and the coral growing out of the bottom, as it shows up in a different colour. You do need to be looking closely as it only will show up quite small as the coral does not grow in big patches like sea grass.

Mussel beds are another form of structure that are scattered throughout the bay and hold good snapper. When sounding over these areas it will often show up as hard bottom. The best way to determine if you are on a mussel bed is to start fishing on it, if it is a mussel bed you will get old shells coming up stuck on your hooks.

As these areas do not have much high structure on them, I tend to fish a lot with vibration lures as I be confident that they won’t get snagged up as much as what they will around the islands.

Lures such as the Threadybusters, Lucky Craft LV-RTO vibes and the Megabass Vib-X Smartra are all great for snapper. On all my snapper lures I upgrade the hooks to heavy-duty trebles or singles. You don’t want to have a big snapper on only to loose it beside the boat because the treble has straightened or has been crushed by the snapper’s strong jaws.

I fish vibes much like I fish soft plastics: with a slow hopping action. Slowly lift the rod, then wind up the slack line making sure you are always in contact with the lure. Keeping contact with the lure at all times is a must when snapper fishing as they don’t always smash the lure straight off the bat. Quite often you will only initially feel a few little bumps. Then once they make up their mind that they want it, that is when they smash it and steam off with the lure.

Casting hardbodied lures is another viable option for fishing areas around the 15ft mark. Even though they may not be getting to the bottom snapper still will come up to eat. So don’t discount throwing hardbodies around because that may be the difference between catching a feed and not catching anything at all.

Although snapper may be the primary target, they are not the only species that you will find hanging around over these spots. Species such as estuary cod, tailor and jewfish can be found commonly throughout winter.

I hope that this has helped you out with your winter fishing options. If you have any questions come in and talk to us in the shop and we will be more than happy to talk to you in more depth about searching for new grounds and targeting snapper around them.

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