Showtime for snapper
  |  First Published: May 2013

The weather finally came good in late March and early April. It was nice to put a run of charters together and get a feel of how the fishing was east of the South Passage bar.

On the first few trips we live-baited the wider ground in 70-85m and ended up with solid catches of amberjack, yellowtail kingfish, trag and a few solid juvenile snapper but after working the same grounds for a couple of days in a row the sharks wised up and started to give us a hiding!

On the next trip I decided to work the Shallow Tempest line of reef, which ended up being a good decision. We boated quality mulloway, juvenile snapper, Moses perch and spangled emperor. After all the run off we’ve had in the past few months, it’s not surprising to see the shallow reefs firing with plenty of tucker around.

For mackerel, I’ve only done a little trolling lately on charter and we’ve bagged a few school mackerel and a GT around 25kg, but no Spaniards. Listening to the radio chat, there’s been a few Spaniards and wahoo caught but I think once we see some blue water in close the pelagics will fire up, even in early May.

For the Easter school holidays we were down the Gold Coast and a few of the boys from the caravan park did well on spotted and Spanish mackerel on Mermaid Reef and the Gravel Patch off Burleigh Heads. These fish should hang around for the next month or so.

With the cooler months almost upon us, anglers will start focusing on bottom dwellers, mainly snapper. The last few years have seen solid seasons and the snapper are usually at their peak between July and September.

With the bag limit now of only four fish over 35cm (with only one over 70cm), anglers generally floatline for quality snapper, however they often still make the mistake of fishing too heavy. Instead of using an 8 or 10 ball sinker, try a 4 or 6 ball and get a good angle happening away from the boat; the use of a good sea anchor will help. Don’t be afraid to keep the line running out and you’ll eventually find the feeding depth of the snapper.

There are still plenty of options for anglers east of the bar this month with the pelagics still on the go, and there should be some hefty specimans amongst them, as well as some early season reefies. The ever-present ambos, kings and Samson will be keen on live baits and jigs, but let’s hope the sharks ease off a bit.

Enjoy your fishing, take care on the coastal bars and if you’d like to join me on charter (max. 8 persons) give me a call on 07 3822 9527 or 0418 738 750.

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