Snap back this winter
  |  First Published: July 2013

The weather pattern over the past month has given offshore anglers only limited chances to hit the reefs, but signs are looking good for the snapper season. There’s been good numbers and quality fish caught on most reef systems east of the bar.

On charter recently, we’ve still been working the shallower reefs east of Moreton Island for solid mixed catches of snapper, spangled emperor, Moses perch and the odd mulloway or cobia. This month the juvenile snapper will start to school up on the wider reefs such as the 33, 35, 42, Deep Tempest and also the Cathederals off North Straddie.

These fish are schooling up to spawn around the moon over the next couple of months and catching your bag limit shouldn’t prove too difficult, if the last couple of seasons are any indication. Floatlining with as light as lead as possible will nail the better quality fish. On charter I try to use no more than a 5 or 6 ball even when we’re fishing the wider grounds in 80-90m of water.

I do harp on about a few things regarding snapper fishing, including keeping sinkers and line size to a minimum and even my preference for mono over braid. The reason I do this is to show how important it is to keep it simple, stick to the basics and the proven fish catching methods and you should boat more fish!

The next few months we’ll predominately work the wider reefs and although we boat the odd 5-7kg snapper, the average fish size will be in that 1-3kg size range. This size snapper are both good to catch and good on the table but if it’s bigger snapper your after, the shallower water inside 60m is a more consistent big snapper provider.

The 29 fathom line, 50m and 60m south Point Lookout, Shallow Tempest and the close in rocks around Boat Rock are all consistent big snapper producing areas. All spots are definitely worth putting in sometime if you’re chasing a trophy-sized fish.

Other options east of the bar this month include jigging and lure-baiting for yellowtail kingfish, amberjack and Samsonfish on the 35, 37 and 42 fathom line along with the wider wrecks. Yellowtail have been reasonably consistent on jigs during the winter months the past couple of years and school-sized ambos in the 60-80cm range are currently in good numbers out wide, but getting the past the sharks some days near impossible.

There’s also been quite a few pearl perch around and the wire weed in approximately 70m east of flat rock and the 90-100m line east of Point Lookout have been producing some solid catches.

For those who use the northern gutter of the south passage bar, it’s changed quite a bit over the past months. Now there’s an inner break in close to Moreton Island and you have to head back toward Point Lookout to get into the deeper water of the gutter. Another channel has opened up heading northeast of the old one but take care as it can also get a good roll going close in to the beach. If you haven’t seen the bar for a while have a bit of a look before you go charging through.

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

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