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  |  First Published: September 2016

As I mentioned last month, it was the July moon in 2015 that was the turning point in our snapper season east of the South Passage Bar, and the good news is that the switch has again been flicked.

Good numbers of quality fish have anglers reaching their bag limit without too much trouble. The snapper seem to be widespread with the 29-, 33- and 35-fathom reefs all producing, along with Deep Tempest and the 90m line.

On charters laterly, we’ve been pulling good numbers of fish from both the shallower reefs and the wider grounds, only moving around when the fish shut down in one area. We are fortunate off Moreton and Stradbroke Islands to have a number of reef lines in close proximately to each other, so it’s only a few kilometres to run to the next spot in that hunt for a feed of fish. Deep Tempest and the 90m line to the south are a far run from the bar, but there’s plenty of bumps and ledges in those areas to move between.

Floatlining, or freespool fishing with pilles and fresh flesh baits has accounted for the majority of the fish we’ve landed on charters and with the bag limit being four fish, it’s the best way of targeting the better quality fish.

Don’t go overboard on hook size. I like to use two ganged 5/0 or 6/0 hooks, and find this is plenty big enough. Make sure you keep to the finer gauge, chemically sharpened hooks; that way you’ll see your hook up rate and connection will improve.

The next couple of months are peak snapper time off the South Passage Bar, but good numbers should hang around until Christmas. We’ve had some red-hot sessions of late, with fish of 4-6kg coming aboard regularly and putting smiles on clients’ faces.

A mistake anglers make regularly when snapper fishing is they look for big shows on the sounder before they drop a line in the water. In most depths out to around 90m, I’ll run my sounder on either a 15 or 20m window and look for small shows of fish up off the bottom and quite often that’s all you need to get a bite happening.

Another tip is to not always work the high structure on the reefs, rather work the drop offs and reef edges where the fish will often hang.

Most days, dawn and dusk are peak bit times, but on different moon phases they will have solid bite periods throughout the day, so do your homework, keep records and be on your spot at the right time.

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