The red mist descends
  |  First Published: October 2008

I just discovered a type of fishing new to me – chasing snapper in 5m of water over kelp beds with soft plastics using 20lb braid – and I am in snapper heaven!

Imagine how delirious I will be when I can finally put the brakes on one! Although I have spent way too many hours (according to the Missus) chasing all manner of fish species from one end of the country to the other, snapper never really twisted my crank – until now.

I know snapper-on-plastics is nothing new but here in the country (well, you know what I mean), after touting all the benefits of plastics over bait to my customers I thought that maybe it was time I got out there and put words into action.

Armed with some inside info on a close-in kelp bed, my fishing partner and I put theory into action.

No one could prepare me for the first run of these powerhouses in shallow water, their first runs unwound around 50m of string on a solid drag setting. Morning tally: Snapper 3, Us 0.

We returned to the scene of the crime next morning, armed with heavier artillery, but the snapper were onto us and didn’t come out to play.

We pushed a bit wider in around 25m and I decked a very respectable 6kg model. Beginner’s luck? Maybe, but the Clarence coast has some pretty special reef fishing on offer, coupled with a small population fishing for them.

This first taste has had me fast-tracking my 4.8 Galeforce centre console project to get out and among them. It’s finished as I write this.

October will see the really big snapper moving a bit wider, making them a little easier to stop than in the shallows; at least that is what I am telling myself.

The leatherjackets that were thick over the past few seasons seem to have thinned out a bit this year, leaving me way overstocked in knife jigs. Maybe we should look at a restocking program? Just kidding!

There has not been a lot of joy for those who chase a feed of lobsters this year, with very few if any taken. I am reliably told that they do not travel inshore to spawn in a Winter following a very wet Summer and we certainly had that.


With the Winter run of flathead in the river all but gone, October is a great time to target school mulloway.

If you ever have a desire to catch a schoolie on a soft plastic, this is one of the best months to achieve it on the Clarence.

The bream will also arc up this month. Stormy afternoons and termite hatches designate a great time to break out your favourite little surface lures.

Finally, we have some warm water to work with and as long as we don’t get too much Spring rain, we will be looking at a great bass season. After last year, we certainly deserve one.

I know I can’t wait to break out the trusty old battered Coleman canoe, team up a few mates and head up-river for a few days. Ah, Spring, when a young man’s fancy turns to bass!

For more info or advice call in and see us at Big River bait & tackle, 16 River St Maclean or give us a call on 0266451834.

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