Knobbies and AJs
  |  First Published: September 2007

September is a great month to fish offshore chasing reef fish. We get the best of both worlds with snapper still in full swing and oversized amberjack and kingfish becoming more active and slamming jigs and live baits.

From the shallower reefs such as Shallow Tempest and the close grounds around Point Lookout and Cape Moreton, out to the wider grounds such as Deep Tempest, snapper can still be caught in good numbers with the better fish falling to those anglers who are floatlining.

A few of the areas I like to target snapper in September include Shallow Tempest, the 29 Fathom line off Moreton Island and the extensive area of reef in 50-60m of water at Wide Caloundra.

Fishing Shallow Tempest in 25-40m of water is best at first light and dusk because as the sun gets up higher in the sky the fish go off the chew. On days with plenty of cloud cover you will find the shallower reefs will fish well too. I also like to fish when there is a bit of wind around in the morning as you cover more area and can still float line with small leads in the shallower water.

If fishing the 29s, which run from almost directly east of the South Passage Bar up to and around Mount Tempest in 50-60m of water, you’ll find good snapper in September. The area has many bumps and humps, ledges and drop-offs and in the right conditions you can get a great drift covering a lot of fishy structure. The average size of the snapper in both areas is around 1.5kg and they are commonly called squire, but don’t be surprised to find patches of fish in the 2-3kg range with the odd 5-8kg knobby snapper tossed in to spice things up.

Wide Caloundra also fishes well this time of year and I often head up that way when the current is raging off Moreton Island. This area does not seem to get the current as bad as the water in front of Moreton Island. There is plenty of structure in varying depths on Wide Caloundra but my preference is to find structure in 50-60m of water and the location I fish on the southern end takes me about 90 minutes to get to from Manly. Floatlining will again be the best bet for snapper but Wide Caloundra has a fair number of pearl perch on it so it’s well worth having a bottom bash with a paternoster rig.

Quality amberjack, samsonfish, and yellowtail kingfish will become more active in September and they will all respond well to live baits and high speed jigs. These fish can be caught in shallow water but when I am targeting them I start on the 29s and work my way out looking for bait around structure. The 33, 35 and 42 fathom reefs all hold good numbers of fish, just make sure your gear is up to it because these fish will certainly put it to the test. Any dep water wrecks will hold amberjack and kingfish and are well worth a look.

Currently on charter we’ve been picking up good snapper to about 4kg on Shallow Tempest and there have been a few good cobia and amberjack hanging around the bait schools. There have been good snapper catches reported from the Barwon Banks through to the Tweed so make the most of it and get offshore in September to tangle with a reefie or two.

I recently attended the Melbourne Boat Show at Haines Hunter’s request and also had a look at their new premises. They have several new models in development, including one that will suit me just fine so I am looking forward to seeing the finished product. Haines’ head honcho John Haber is very proactive when it comes to fine tuning the existing product, so it’s exciting times ahead.

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

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