Here Come the Snapper
  |  First Published: August 2007

We certainly got our cold snap early in June and it stirred the reefies into action, but the strong westerly winds have kept fishing days down and the opportunities to take advantage of the hot bite have been limited.

I got a couple of charters away early in the month. On the first trip we ended up boating a reasonable catch of dolphinfish after we struggled most of the morning in a raging current trying to tempt a snapper or two. On the trip we worked the 29 and 33 fathom reefs and caught our bag limit of squire with the best around 4kg. The anglers also put their hooks into a couple of amberjack which quickly reefed them on the light line. They also pulled the hooks on a couple of better snapper close to the boat.

That trip was very encouraging for the snapper season ahead and the next couple of months should see good numbers of snapper move into the well known reef structures along our section of the coast. John Palermo from Nitro Charters has also been starting to pick up some good snapper from the 29s out to the 35s east of Moreton, so I’m expecting some great results in August.

The next few months we’ll be mostly targeting snapper with a little deep water jigging thrown in with some live baiting for the big amberjack and kingies. With that in mind I find it is especially important to get to the fishing grounds as close as possible to dawn as, regardless of the moon phase, most snapper will still have a bite period at first light. If you plan on overnighting, then dusk will also have a similar bite period. This means you should not waste too much time gathering live baits and try to jig them as close as possible to the fishing grounds and make sure you’ve got other quality baits ready to go. Pillies and fresh flesh baits of mullet, tailor or bonito are the best stand by baits.

Paternoster rigs will take their fair share of fish but floatlining is the way to go for the better fish. Keep your sinkers small enough that the bait just wafts slowly to the bottom. Mono line between15-20kg is plenty strong enough and I use either two ganged 5/0 or 6/0 hooks to match the bait I am using. I prefer the O’Shaughnessy style of hooks in the Penn, VMC and Mustad range and lately I’ve been using Penn chemically sharpened 700CSB hooks in 6/0. They’re ultra sharp and strong. The problem with a lot of non-chemically sharpened hooks is that they come out of the box blunt, so don’t be afraid to give them a touch up with a file to get that point as sharp as possible..

Target areas for snapper at this time of year include Shallow Tempest, the 25, 33 and 35 fathom reefs east of Moreton and the deeper reefs such as Square Patch on the 42 fathom line and Deep Tempest. The extensive Cathedral Reef structure east of North Stradbroke and the wide expanse of reef east of Caloundra will all hold good snapper, so get out there and bang a knobby or two.

If you’re heading offshore take care on the coastal bars and if you’d like to join me on a charter (max 4 persons), give me a call on (07) 3822 9527 or 0418 738 750.

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