This winter I have been focusing my efforts on targeting big Moreton Bay snapper on soft plastics and vibration lures. However, I have quickly learnt that to be consistently successful you really need to put in the time on the water by studying spots and fishing different stages of the tide and moon phase to see when the fish are actively feeding.
When targeting any specific species it is important to have a plan of attack before you even get to the ramp. You need to know where you are fishing and when the change of tide is at your chosen location as it varies depending on where you are in the bay. This small detail can be the difference between being at your spot for that small bite period or still being at the boat ramp putting your boat in.
The tides play a big part in targeting big snapper as they do for a lot of other species. You will find that fish will feed at different times of the tide in different areas. So one spot might fire during the last two hours of the run-out tide where as another spot it will be the first two hours of the run-in. You maybe lucky enough to find this pattern on the first or second time that you fish an area, or it may take five or more trips. Remember persistence pays off eventually.
Once you work when the fish are active on the tide, the next step is to look at the moon phase. This is when you can get longer bite periods as the fish at this time of year are schooling up to spawn. The moon can be a difficult factor to work out as it generally determines whether it will be a morning bite period or a afternoon or evening bite period. So this is when your fishing times need to be a little flexible otherwise you will just be wasting your time.
Snapper are greatly affected by boat traffic, so going out on a Saturday with every other boat in Brisbane is probably not the best option. I know a lot of us have limited time so we can only take advantage of the times when we can get out, but if this is on a busy weekend then it is best to try and get away from the boats. Find an area away from everyone where it isn't busy.
I am always drifting or using the electric motor when chasing snapper. There are a few things that you can do when drifting to increase your chances of getting that big specimen. Work out your drift line before you go over your spot so you are not driving over the top of your mark with excess motor noise. This too can shut the fish down.
The same thing also goes for when you have finished your drift and are driving back to the top of your mark; take a wide route around your mark. I will always start my drift about 40m up current of my mark to give my plastic a chance to get down, plus big snapper don't always hold directly on the structure they sometimes patrol around the outside.
When it comes to the outfits for snapper in the bay, I'm wont use anything too heavy. I always have two or three rods ready to go all rigged up differently. Rods like the Dobyns 743 Champion Extreme, which is a 7'4 8-17lb rod matched with a 2500 or 3000 sized reel. I have this outfit spooled with 20lb braid and a 16lb leader and a vibration style lure on, like a Lucky Craft LV RTO Vibe or a Threadybuster. My second outfit is a Dobyns 703 Champion Series rod, which is a 7' 8-17lb rod matched with a 2500 sized reel spooled with 16lb braid and 14lb leader and rigged with a plastic – I mainly use the Z-Man 5” Streakz, I have found them to be extremely successful on snapper as even on the drop their fork tail still flutters.
Most people would consider this to be too light when chasing snapper but I would say fishing light is the key to successful snapper fishing in Moreton Bay.
If a big bay snapper on lures is something you have always wanted to catch then putting in the time on the water and taking note of the influencing factors will step you in the right direction.
If you have any other questions on chasing big Moreton Bay snapper pop in and see us at Fish Head tackle store, Town Centre 349 Colburn Ave, Victoria Point.Reads: 1501