Better late than never for snapper
  |  First Published: August 2012

I can’t believe we’re just a month away from spring! August is traditionally the month of strong westerlies in this part of the world, and some low pressure systems crossing Bass Straight will tend bring clearer days with a few near gales thrown into the mix. With the seasons appearing to be late it will be interesting to see what this month dishes up.

August is usually the quietest month on the piscatorial calendar for this corner of the world, particularly around the full moon, but don’t let that deter you – you just have to mix it up a bit. Jervis Bay (JB) and offshore would be my pick in terms of putting a feed on the table and a bend in a rod.


The snapper were a bit late to start in the bay this year. The water dipped below 17°C at the start of winter, then we had a little spike in temps back up to 19°C, which may have confused the reds a bit and fired up the odd big king in the bay in early July.

With early winter weather in the form of an east coast low battering the coast, we all expected the snapper to go of, but it was just the opposite inside the bay. JB actually turned off for a few weeks before coming good again.


In situations like this you can really get bogged down, so a good JB back up plan is essential. During this period we found drummer fishing to be the go. In my book snapper is an over rated table fish compared to the white flesh of the black drummer or pig. They pull as hard as anything that size and have left many a seasoned angler shaking in an adrenaline mixed quivering mess when one decides to head back into rough country.

For drummer fishing it’s all about a bit of berley, a simple peeled prawn on a heavy duty 1/0 hook and a small sinker if needed. If you’re not fishing in the white water then you’re not in the game. Although most fish are taken off the rocks, fishing from the boat can be a more productive option, as you have the ability to drag the fish away from the rocks.

Speaking with fisheries research staff recently changed my opinion on how many big ones I’m going to take in the future. They have recently aged a 4kg plus specimen at 42 years old. Food for thought!


For sportfishing, salmon have been around in good numbers on the headlands and should stay for a while. The humble sambo has saved many poor fishing days by putting a bend in a rod when the more favoured table species have been slow.

Having said that there have been good flathead, bream, and pan sized reds in numbers. I recently had the pleasure of guiding Joe Sandor from the Southern Highlands on one of those magical Basin days that turned up bream to 1.58kg on the first cast of the day, crocodiles predating on small flatties a few casts later, and finishing up the day with a double hookup on a red to 64cm and an 80cm flattie. All these fish were released in good condition.

Further north of the bay seemed to fire up over the past month. The boys from the Winston Hills North Mead Fishing Club fished the shallows for bag limits on snapper to 3.4kg, plenty of pan sized flatties, trevally and pigfish.


August into September is traditionally the time for big kings on jigs in deep water in this part of the world.

For those of us who just don’t want to flog ourselves silly jigging all day there are other more sedated lure options. Try the octopus style jigs such as the Williamson Yabbai in any white configuration, or big plastics like the Boneyard Baits, which are being distributed by Justin at Kraken Tackle, Huskisson. The Boneyard Baits are big interchangeable skirted plastics around 30cm long on the jighead. Jigheads come in a range of sizes to 5oz on a 12/0 hook, which is perfect for any slow lift deepwater application; they can also be slow trolled. They have a squid like appearance and to date we have caught kings to 95cm on them in the bay in summer.


It seems that Bermi to very wide of Batemans Bay is experiencing the best of the bluefin run as we speak. That didn’t deter a few of the boys in a few fast trailer boats venturing 80 nm southeast of Bowen to find fish on one epic run recently. They found good fin and finished the clean up at 4am the next morning. That’s fishing fever for you, by mid-August they’ll probably have moved on.

Just recently members of the Professional Fishing Instructors and Guides Association (PFIGA), including fellow NSWFM contributors Dan Selby, Stuart Hindson, Steve Williamson and Todd Young, recently attended the annual AGM and social guides fish in Sussex Inlet. It was great be on a boat and not have to tie knots for everybody! If you want a professional operator for your next lesson or tour then visit www.fishinginstructors.org.au.

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