With both air and water temperatures dropping, snapper numbers should be on the rise. This time last year, the closer reefs off Moreton Island fished very well for quality snapper and there were plenty of solid specimens of 4-6kg caught along with the odd larger one.
All of the reef structures between the 29 and 35 fathoms produced good fish. Over the next couple of months, they should again be worth the effort. Snapper numbers have been encouraging so far this season and on charter we’ve already had several bag outs with fish to 4kg. As I’ve stated previously, there’s only a few kilometres of travel between lines of reef off Moreton Island, so don’t be afraid to move around if where you’re fishing isn’t firing.
Floatline (freespool) fishing is the go when chasing snapper and your choice of gear is very important to maximise your chances of nailing some quality fish. Your rod should be in the 7-8ft bracket with plenty of low down grunt and a nice, soft tip.
My rod is one of Wilson’s Venom Snapper rods. It comes in just under 8ft and after giving it a solid workout for the past year or so, I’d have to say it’s one of the best rods I’ve owned.
As far as reels go, having a very light freespool is the key, so the lighter leads can roll your bait away quickly. Most quality overheads will do the job, but steer clear of big, bulky reels – they can be a little heavy to hang onto all day. As far as the line goes, avoid braid and use a quality mono around 30lb. Try to keep it under 0.5mm in diameter.
Choice of hooks is also very important and my preference is two ganged 5/0 or 6/0 hooks. Heavier gauge hooks are harder to set, so try to stick with the lighter gauge chemically sharpened hooks; they are easier to set on the lighter lines and straightening isn’t an issue, as you can only put so much pressure on them using a 30lb line.
More snapper will be caught this season on pillies than any other bait, but fresh strips of bonito, tailor or mullet will also take their fair share of fish. Make sure you get quality Aussie-caught pillies and not the imported rubbish.
Along with snapper, pearl perch have also been in reasonable numbers. We’ve been boating a handful most days when they’ve taken floatlined baits aimed at snapper. On a recent trip we picked up some pearlies bottom bouncing around Point Lookout fishing no deeper than 35m.
Other options this month include targeting kings and amberjack on both live baits and jigs on the wider reefs and isolated wrecks.
• 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.Reads: 841