Snapper come in closer
  |  First Published: August 2012

East coast anglers can finally see that light at the end of the tunnel. It’s August and we’re into the last month of winter. Although many anglers are getting ready for spring, there are still a few options for the diehard winter fishos.

For the offshore enthusiasts, we’re heading into the time of coldest water temperatures. Generally the current is running far off the coast and the temperate species are in full swing.

The snapper should be in close to the coast especially around the gravel and rubble beds close to good reef. I find soft plastics the most enjoyable way to catch snapper as it’s a very active form of fishing.

The best method is to spend the time looking around for the fish on the sounder. Try and find fish that are up off the bottom in the water column around bait; these are the active fish. It’s always better to spend time looking for active fish rather than targeting any fish you see on the sounder and throw everything you have trying to get shut down fish bite. If you target the active fish you can fish lighter jig heads and target higher in the water column, which should lead to less snags, less red rock cod and hopefully a heap of snapper.

If you are going to be using bait to chase the snapper it’s hard to go past quality live bait. Live slimies and yakkas are well worth the effort once you put one down on a hook. A healthy snapper will find them almost irresistible as well as many of our reef dwelling targets. Pearl perch and kingfish are excellent targets of a well placed live bait and this time of year we can expect to see some very large specimens of each.

On the rocks live bait will also be the best bet for chasing some of the bigger fish that are hanging around the washes this month. Solid winter kingfish and snapper will be on the cards and if you put in the time and get your baits in the right spots you should be rewarded with some good catches.

Expect to get a steady influx of Australian salmon both offshore and close to the coast this August. We have come quite accustomed to these speedsters over the last 10 years. The salmon were a bit slow to turn up, but we should see them moving up the coast this month.

Hopefully this year will be a stronger tailor year than previous years and it is looking good so far with plenty of larger tailor being caught around the headlands and beaches. Well placed metal lures, hardbody lures and soft plastics work well around the washes of the headlands and have accounted for many of the larger fish caught recently. Whole and cut baits will also work well but you will get plenty of the pickers that are around as well.

On the beaches the tailor are sharing the gutters with bream and mulloway. Strip baits or squid are working well at present and should continue throughout the month.

Many of the school mulloway, even some of the larger specimens, are also spread right up to the upper tidal reaches of our estuaries. Large soft plastics can be thrown around the structure where there’s a good chance of a mulloway and a great chance of a decent flathead. Again the live baits will work well here with a few bigger school mulloway being caught this way in almost fresh water on some of our local waterways.

If throwing your lures around in brackish or freshwater, remember that the no take bass season has one month to go, so all accidental captures must be returned asap. There have been plenty of moderate sized flathead around as well as large schools of small to medium bream.

With a bit less rain around the estuaries are running quite clear and if this continues over the month it’s a great chance to get out on the seagrass beds and sand flats. It’s a great place to pump some nippers and fish with the kids or throw on a back pack and wade around the flats with a plastic.

With the water so clear the fish can be a bit spooky on the flats so fishing light is the key. I like to use very light, sometimes unweighted small plastics and target the swirls and bow waves created by moving fish. It’s great fun throwing a plastic in the direction of some water movement and then watching the bow wave charge over to it and strike. You have to be very quiet and throw quite small plastics but it can produce very good results on those shut down clear days.

No matter where you’re fishing this last winter month I hope the fish are biting and the weather is fine and watch those cold fingers on that early morning or late evening fish.

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