Straight flush of reds
  |  First Published: September 2014

The past month has seen a couple of extended patches of good weather where we have been able to get offshore five or six days straight! That has allowed us to get a good handle on the snapper of late.

The fishing most days we’ve been out has been nothing short of sensational with amberjack and snapper keeping us busy, along with a few yellowtail kingfish and the odd mulloway. This time of year we are float lining for snapper, but school sized amberjack in the 4-6kg range have been chewing their heads off. We’ve been grabbing a few livies as quick as possible in the mornings and we have been hitting the amberjacks before chasing snapper.

To be honest on some days it has taken longer to gather the livies than it has to get the amberjack limit, which is only 2 fish per person. Two amberjack of this size is more than enough for a feed as they have a good recovery rate of fillets. When they are skinned and the bloodline is removed they are great table fare. The wider grounds in 80-100m of water is where most of our amberjacks have been caught.

The snapper have been great too and the quality has also been very pleasing with plenty in the 2-4kg range. I’ve also been pulling most of the snapper from 80-90m, but on a couple of trips there was a bit more win than forecast so we worked the 29 and 33 fathom lines for some very pleasing results.

Snapper should continue to dominate catches east of the South Passage Bar over the next couple of months and with the snapper starting a little later this year, I would not be surprised if they hang around in good numbers right through until Christmas.

When people ring me to enquire about charters, I regularly get asked about some of the gear I use, so here’s a quick run down.

For snapper fishing we use 7’, 15-24kg Live Fibre rods with PENN Fathom 40 Level Wind reels spooled with 30lb monofilament. The Live Fibres are sensational on the snapper with a light tip action and plenty of grunt when you need it. The reels on my boat are all level wind versions to make it easier for the novice anglers. However, float lining for snapper needs a reel with a light freespool and the PENN Fathoms have that plus a smooth drag. I am also using some of the latest PENN Squall overheads and they are performing very well.

When live-baiting for kingfish and amberjack we use 7’, 10-24kg Live Fibre M10s with the older model PENN 340GTi level wind reels. The M10 Live Fibre has a great working curve, which suits the 50lb braid I run and they are very forgiving on the angler. Again I have to run a level wind reel, especially with the braid and the 340 GTi keeps coming back for more. After all the punishment I have thrown at them on charter, the odd bearing or level wind mechanism are the only things I have had to replace. It is very hard to find a level wind reel that will stand up to that sort of day in, day out punishment with heavy braid and big, angry fish.

For jigging we use PENN Spinfisher SSV 7500s on PENN or Live Fibre 5’6” rods spooled with 50lb braid and they perform very well boating plenty of large and oversized kingfish and amberjack without any problems so far.

My own snapper outfit is an 8’ Live Fibre Texalium 10-20kg with a Series II PENN Torque 40 Star Drag. The Texalium has a soft tip and plenty of power down low to slow a big knobby snapper down and the PENN Torque is the best reel I have ever used. It has such a light freespool, smooth powerful drag and overall smooth operation that it stands above the rest for me. I know a lot of snapper anglers prefer a lever drag, but I find it easier to up and down the drag with a star drag knob while fighting a large fish. The Torque 40 isn’t a cheap reel but if you enjoy float lining for big snapper as I do, treat yourself to one.

If you're in the marker for a snapper reel, also have a look at the PENN Fathom 40 non level wind – it’s not as expensive as the Torque but a quality reel just the same.

• Until next month 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, You can also visit my new website at www.outlawcharters.com.au.

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