Back in June I mentioned that some locals were set to put a dent in the inshore snapper stocks with their soft plastics. They’ve taken the technique and run with it!
Ben Roberts and Russel Gray have been experiencing numerous sessions in close in Ben’s ABT non-boater grand final prize Quintrex Explorer off Durras in eight to 10 metres of clear Winter water. The lads have been averaging 10 reds to 4kg per session and Ben doesn’t even have a sounder.
In one red-letter weekend they landed 26 snapper between 2kg and 4kg, lost several substantially larger reds, lost a 10kg-plus jewfish at the gaff when the main line parted and a lone rat king. All fish were captured on standard 3kg estuary bream tackle. Russco said they could see the snapper cruising in the clear water before they even hooked them!
Lures of choice are Berkley Gulp Minnows on jig heads between 7g and 10g, as well as 4” stickbaits. I have only had a few goes at it in my Poly Craft and I have quickly discovered that working the lure too close to the bottom is a recipe for 30 or 40 sergeant bakers. I never would have believed that the sarge was so damned prolific.
Bream and trevally in 12 to 15 metres of water also made up some of the by-catch and many catches were made on days when skilled bait anglers returned home with little.
There has been a sustained inshore run of small makos for the past few months and this should hopefully continue. Ben Roberts found this to be the case when one charged in and stole one of his hooked snapper one day and the next day had the same thing happen with a sergeant baker.
Andrew Turner caught several makos around 10kg on half slimies when they cruised up his berley trail. One mako he kept had five cuttlefish beaks in its stomach as well as a sweep head and a whole snapper. The ill-fated reddie was probably feeding on a cuttlefish and didn’t know what hit it.
Out on the wide grounds school yellowfin and albacore should still be a viable option for the game boys. I have even heard of a few adventurous crews dabbling in a bit of cubing lately, a bit of a forgotten art in these times of commercially flogged tuna stocks.
On the beaches, salmon and bream are worth a shot on a morning or afternoon high tide if you can find a nice washy gutter. After dark, bronze whalers are still making a nuisance of themselves despite the now chilly water.
A few jewies have continued to hit the sand but not in the numbers or size of last year. Sounds a bit like cold, hard work to me at this time of the year. I admit I’ve gone a bit soft this season when it comes to the freezing late-night vigils.
Estuary fishing is quite slow at present but Tuross and Coila lakes continue to fish OK for bream and the odd whiting if you really want to get on the water.
If you know how to catch luderick Tuross is crammed with them, particularly in the tree snags. Bloodworms or local green weed are the key but nippers or fresh prawns may snare a few.
The Clyde is a non-event with the exception of a very slim chance at a school jew every five trips.
Rock fishing is probably a much better option with black and silver drummer ripe for the taking. Old rubber-lipped blue groper will also get in on the act if a few mashed-up sea urchins are introduced into the wash.
Big snapper are still worth a shot but downs will be few and far due to the typically clear water. I caught my second-biggest snapper in August a few years ago so no doubt I’ll be swinging the big honeycomb sticks around a few times this month. The cuttlefish run started late this year so anything can happen if a few floaters are still bobbing about.
Squid spinning is worthwhile, too, with good numbers being captured off any rocks that feature kelp and broken ground close by. Low light periods or total darkness is the prime squid time, particularly when the water is clear.
Ben Roberts with just one of the many nice snapper caught on soft plastics recently.
Russco Gray with a quality lump headed snapper captured on a 4” Gulp Worm.
Colin Gray scored this lovely snapper on his first outing. The red was captured on 6lb Fireline and 4kg leader on a 1000 Daiwa reel. Serious line-stripping fun!Reads: 570