Snapper numbers on the rise
  |  First Published: August 2016

Snapper numbers east of the South Passage Bar have been encouraging, but the big schools haven’t moved in yet. Last year, the July full moon was the turning point of the season and we had good numbers right through until after Christmas. We were pulling out great numbers especially on the wider grounds until around February.

The pleasing thing so far has been the amount of quality fish caught with some nice 5-8kg specimens putting a smile on anglers’ faces. The 29, 33 and 35 fathom lines along with Shallow Tempest have been some of the more consistent areas of late. After the July moon, expect to see Deep Tempest and the 90m line southeast of Shallow Tempest fill up with fish.

When the snapper haven’t been playing the game on the charter, we’ve been livebaiting some of the wider reefs or isolated wrecks and school-size amberjack in the 4-6kg range have kept us busy. Getting quality livebait has been an issue some days, but you just have to move around and put the time in to find it. There’s also been some solid pearl perch caught on the 33 and 35 fathom lines mostly by anglers floatlining for snapper.

If you’re keen for a feed of pearlies, another couple of spots worth trying would be the wireweed grounds in around 70m of water, east of Flat Rock and the 100m line east of Point Lookout. The shallower grounds around Point Lookout continue to be a good option for a mixed bag of tuskfish, pearl perch, Moses perch and others.

The next few months are for most anglers east of the south passage, all about snapper. We should see plenty caught at all their usual haunts between now and Christmas. As I’ve mentioned plenty of times in the past, no movement in the water sees the snapper not bite as freely, so be prepared to try different things to make them bite. Quite often when you pull up on a patch of fish, if there’s not much run or breeze pushing the boat along, you might get one or two drops before they shut down.

One thing you can do is turn the sounder off as soon as you find the fish and this will keep them chewing longer. Also, if there is a little bit of drift away from the fish, don’t drive back over your drift line. Give your drift line a wide birth and come around to the top of your drift line again.

• 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 or visit my new website www.outlawcharters.com.au.

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