High hopes for inshore reds
  |  First Published: May 2013

As the weather cools down, the inshore boat fishing should start to heat up as the snapper begin to show up in close.

And if the water quality has improved from the non-stop rain of the past couple of months, there is still a real chance at some bigger mackerel and longtail tuna.

It can definitely be a lucky dip at this time of year; you just never know what you might run into out there in the deep blue sea.

Chasing snapper is all about early starts. Generally I like to be on my first spot and trying to sound where the fish are hanging as sun breaks the horizon.

If we cannot sound fish, we move straight on to the next mark and so on until we find some. Then the fun begins.

If we are bait fishing we start by spending the time to make sure we anchor in the right position and start a nice berley trail going. Then we put out a variety of baits to see if the fish are favouring one type of bait over the others.

We use from hooks as small as 2/0 up as large as 6/0, depending on the quality of the fish and size of the baits being used.

We usually use the lightest lead we can get away with, depending on the current, to slowly sink our baits down the berley trail.

If you are not getting bites but you know fish are there, then start to play around with leader size. We use anything from 15lb up to 40lb, again depending on how hard the bite is as well as the quality of the fish and the terrain we are on at the time.

In these cooler months we mainly work the inshore grounds in the 15m-30m depths.

As I said, this time of year on the inshore grounds you could hook anything so as well as the snapper gear we always have three other rods rigged and ready to go.

First is a trolling set-up with the trusty Iluka pink squid that we troll between spots.

Second is a live-bait rod that we use to float a livie way out in the berley trail when snapper fishing.

Always handy is an 8’ casting rod, just in case there is a tuna bust-up close enough to cast an assortment of 20g-80g spinners. Having a range of different sizes can be the difference between catching fish and having a very frustrating day.


With the mullet still around as well, this is one of the best times to get out there and chase big mulloway.

The fish should be practically everywhere; in the river, off the beaches and off the headlands.

Mulloway are not the only fish chasing mullet and if you want to add a trophy tailor photo to the album, this month is a good time to start chasing them as well.

The blackfish should start to fire off the rocks and in the river so keep an eye on the conditions and gather some cabbage off the headlands and give them a go.

The conditions for groper fishing are usually good at this time of year as well. They definitely test the gear and skill of any angler as well as pulling like a truck.

So let’s hope the weather will be kind to us and we will get a decent crack at the fish-filled month of may.

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