Snapper reward the persistent
  |  First Published: February 2013

Another Christmas and New Year’s break over, so it is time for everything to get back to normal and that includes the fishing. In saying that, the fishing over the Christmas period was awesome if you could beat the crowds.

I was lucky enough to get out for a fish with my Dad on Christmas morning. This was a great way to avoid the crowds. We got on the water at 4am and we were greeted with glassed-out conditions and our trailer was the only one at the ramp. When we arrived at our spot the sounder lit up with bait and some bigger fish showing around the edges of the bait. We focused our time on the bait ball for the first 45 minutes with no luck but we knew it was just a matter of time before the snapper that we could see on the sounder came on the chew.

It was just as the sun poked its face over the horizon that they began feeding. With Dad’s rod going off first and from the initial run we could tell that it was a good fish. The usual tell tale signs of a good snapper are its big head knocks, so it was pretty evident that this was a good specimen. This fish measured 77cm, and it was a great way to kick off the session.

I've used a lot of different plastics in the bay for snapper but I've found the best for colour range and durability are the Z-Man soft plastics. They don't have a huge colour range but what they do have, are very effective.

A problem that a lot of people had with the Z-Man plastics is that they always slipped down off the hook keeper. That problem has now been rectified with the new range of TT Headlockz jigheads. These jigheads have been designed with a split grub keeper on it, so the soft plastic goes over the keeper and then retracts back down to the diameter of the hook, which then holds the plastic in place without having to use any super glue at all.

It was only 5 minutes later that my reel screamed and line blistered off it. We could tell by the first run that this was another big snapper. This fish took the plastic as it was dropping to the bottom. It would have only been a third of the way to the bottom in 20m of water. This fish measured 84cm and made our morning worth it. With three more juveniles coming aboard up to 45cm and being back at the ramp at 7am, it was a great morning.

In early January there were a few spotties kicking around the northern end of the bay but not in huge numbers. They should be in bigger numbers down our end of the bay by February. These are a great option once the sun gets higher in the sky and the surface water temperature heats up.

The baitfish tend to sit a little deeper when the surface temperature isn't high so this can make finding the schools of fish a lot harder. This is when your sounder comes in to play.

Spotties are best targeted by either floating pilchards down a berley trail or dropping chrome slugs to the bottom and ripping them up from the bottom. You will also find that you catch school mackerel this was as well.

Around the islands there have been plenty of small snapper, sweetlip and parrot along the drop-offs and up in the shallows; watch for the green zones around Peel Island.

These fish are best targeted by floating out pilchards or squid. Fish with a really light sinker so the bait is just wafting down naturally. If it is lures that you enjoy using, then lightly weighted soft plastics cast along the drop-offs work really well.

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