Focussing on snapper
  |  First Published: May 2014

As we start to see the weather cooling off the inshore boat fishing should start to fire up, with a chance at anything from snapper to tuna being possible. However, this is generally when we start to focus on snapper on the Clarence coast.

Early starts see you in with a better than average chance of picking up a good feed of snapper. We are truly spoiled with the electronics that we have at our disposal these days, so make shore you take full advantage of them. Good electronics can make your day so much more productive on the water. Instead of just guessing, you can be sure there are fish on the reef before even dropping a line in the water. It certainly saves time wasted on pieces of reef that aren’t holding fish.

A couple of good places to start your search for a few snapper are up at Black Rock and Woody Head to the north of the mouth of the mighty Clarence River. There is also a lot of productive ground to the south as well – anywhere from Angourie to Red Cliff should hold a lot of good shallow water snapper country. When I say shallow water I am talking about 15-30m, which is a good range to be hunting around in.

Good baits to use are a bit of squid or a pillie. The best gear to use depends on a few variables, i.e. the size of fish around or being targeted, terrain being fished, the size of baits being used and, last but not least, the bite you are fishing. Hook-wise, a 2/0 up to a 6/0 will do the job, and on the leader front anything from 15-40lb is the go. A mix and match of these should have you covered, depending on where you are fishing.

On the land-based game side of things, this is the last of the real hot months to catch a longtail tuna or a Spanish mackerel. Going by past seasons, this month will also give you the best chance of tangling with sizeable fish.

This year has been the best start for tailor in a long time, with fish from 2-3kg all the way up to trophy-sized 8kg greenback models. Lures off the rocks have been accounting for more than their fair share of these stud tailor, with poppers and spinners both being good producers. Big greenback tailor are on the hunt for big meals, and will easily swallow a 6-8” lure in one mouthful, no trouble at all. For that reason you may want to use a small amount of plastic-coated wire about 6-8” long. It can be the difference between getting a trophy greenback or losing another lure (along with some rod rage).

I have left the best for last. Of late I have had the chance to fish with local lure maker Steve Patti of Croaker Lures and watched him combine two of my favourite kinds of fishing: mulloway fishing and surface fishing. That's right – surface fishing for jew! And I have to say the takes are insane! The size isn't lacking either.

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