Good signs for snapper numbers
  |  First Published: June 2017

With the water temperatures dropping a little more this month, snapper will become the main focus of anglers fishing east of the South Passage Bar. As I mentioned last month, there had already been encouraging signs with solid catches coming from the 33 and 35 fathom reefs.

Snapper numbers will continue to rise over the coming months and most lines of reef off Moreton and North Stradbroke islands should start holding solid fish schools. Areas off Moreton Island such as Shallow Tempest, the 29, 33 and 35 fathom lines of reef and Deep Tempest will all be worth spending some time float lining baits.

North Straddie, the Cathedrals and the Snapper Grounds to the south in 50-60m of water will also be well worth the effort. Looking at my catch records on charter during this period over the last couple of years we’ve pulled plenty of numbers out on the wider grounds. Most of our quality fish up to 7kg have been caught out on the wider grounds.

Although the average fish is 40-50cm, they can be ravenous and you can get your bag limit quickly. This time last year we caught a lot of mahimahi as a bonus when we were fishing the wider grounds, as they would just turn up around the boat. If you’re fishing out wide it might pay to have a spare rod handy, rigged with a single hook and also some cut berley to keep them around a while. A good plan of attack at this time of year when targeting snapper is to fish the closer more accessible reefs as soon after first light as you can. Then move out to the wider ground if they go off the chew or don’t chew at all.

Along with snapper, mulloway will also be worth targeting on the closer inshore reefs such as Shallow Tempest, the 29s and 50m line to the south of the Cathedrals. Anywhere along these stretches of reef you will find bait schools. It’s well worth the effort to drop a livie down amongst them. Mulloway, snapper, cobia and yellowtail kingfish are all likely to smack your bait.

The last couple of years have also seen good numbers of school sized amberjack and yellowtail kingfish active on the wider grounds and isolated wrecks during the colder months. Both live baits and jigs will account for their share of fish.

For those who want to chase pelagics, June is a good month to target both XOS Spanish mackerel and wahoo and 20kg+ models can be quite common. Slow trolling for large slimy mackerel or a small mac tuna is the go in areas such as the Sevens Reef, north of Flat Rock and Flinders Reef north of Cape Moreton.

On charter recently we’ve found the shallow reefs around Point Lookout to be productive for mixed bags of Venus tuskfish, pearl perch, Moses perch and others, but the average weather has limited our trips, so let’s hope we see plenty of settled weather in the coming months.

• Until next month, enjoy your fishing, take care on the coastal bars and if you’d like to join me on charter max. eight persons give me a call on (07) 3822 9527 or 0418 738 750 or visit my website outlawcharters.com.au.

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