The snapper have finally slowed on the wider grounds and the more consistent catches should come from the closer reefs, especially the 35m line on Shallow Tempest, north of the Henderson Rock Green Zone. As I’ve mentioned in earlier reports, this area has been a consistent producer over the years for quality snapper and other solid reefies, such as spangled emperor, mulloway and XOS Moses perch.
This area definitely fishes better with flow in the water but remember to still fish as light as possible.
When fishing this area, it’s worth setting a surface bait as plenty of pelagics will be in the area chasing baitfish, which are normally fairly thick on this line of reef.
Live bait has been easy to find of late with most of the grounds close to the South Passage bar holding plenty. But it’s the same old story; they will get a bit gun shy when there are a few boats on them.
There are definitely plenty of options for fishos this month east of the bar and certainly pelagics will be on my radar; the main targets will be Spanish mackerel and wahoo.
On a typical charter this time of year, I’ll attempt to fill the bait tanks as quick as I can and this will give me plenty of options for the day. If the tides and moon phase are in my favour, I’ll troll livies targetting Spanish mackerel first up. I’ll then moving out to the wider grounds and bounce livies on braided paternoster outfits targeting amberjack, Samson yellowtail king and trag.
Quite often I’ll also have a troll on the way home, especially if it’s close to a tide change and this can be a very productive time for pelagics. With a touch of luck we might get a reasonable run of Spanish mackerel and wahoo like we did last December, but the lack of rain so far has me a little concern.
When dragging high speeds for wahoo this time of year, most fish encounted will be under 19kg so don’t go over the top with lure size, 6” skirted or hardbodied is plenty big enough, just make sure your hooks are sharp enough to penetrate those tough wahoo beaks!
With the water temp on the rise, mahi mahi numbers will also be on the increase along with rat yellowfin tuna and they can often be thick around north east of Flat Rock and they respond well to small skirted lures.
Amberjack and kingies should also be active this month on the wider grounds and if conditions are favourable the action can be red hot. Most fish will be school size in the 3-6kg bracket but if a big AJ is going to turn up, it’s this time of year. Looking back, most of the 30kg+ we’ve caught on charter have been around now!
Overall, anglers have plenty of options east of the South Passage bar this month. But don’t put all your eggs in one basket, be prepared to change to another species if one’s not firing.
I like to wish everybody a Merry Chrismas and happy New Year and stay safe on the water.
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.Reads: 2415