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It’s a snapper bonanza!
  |  First Published: September 2005




The double dose of heavy rains and huge seas in mid-Winter stirred the clear seas to a chocolate froth. The rivers ran brown for many weeks and almost every creek and lake entrance popped its banks.

Prior to this the snapper fishing was exceedingly quiet, particularly off the rocks. Since then, however, the snapper have come on with gusto.

All of the better rock fishing spots have looked like a pincushion with long foot rods poking out of all of the popular holes.

Leading up to this report, four 8kg fish that I know of had been captured and too many anglers to mention had also caught stacks of 2kg to 6kg fish. Dead cuttlefish ‘floaters’ have been plentiful of late and should still be on the cards early this month.

The soft plastic snapper boys found the dirty water hard to work with and had only marginal success. Ben Roberts still managed a personal best snapper of 7.2kg in the dirty water.

The snapper action hasn’t been confined to shallow inshore waters, either. Several anglers have reported bag-limit hauls of fish to 6.5kg in 36 metres and 54 metres as well as numerous hook ups on larger unstoppable beasts.

I spent an enjoyable day off Durras with Etienne De Celis recently chasing snapper on plastics. We managed only five reddies to 1.5kg but a few fat salmon and the odd trevally helped pass the day nicely.

I have never seen dolphins in such numbers as that day. In close and out wide, there were too many to count and they were giving the cuttlefish population a good going over. The bait freezer is now looking good for the rest of the season!

Boats were almost as prolific as the dolphins as the snapper bite is now widely known about. The ocean resembled an Easter long weekend, not the usual light traffic that we see in dead of Winter.

A few adventurous crews have been getting into the hard yakka of bombing the super-deep reefs for blue-eye cod. As you can see by the picture of Steve Kennedy’s thumping 22kg blue eye, not all have been small.

Blue eye are sensational on the plate and are well worth the effort. Not all the blue eye action is shelf bound either. A few lucky bottom-bouncers found some sub-10kg fish in only 50 metres recently while chasing snapper.

DRUMMER FUN

September can be a particularly quiet month to catch a feed of fish but it is a great time to chase a few rock blackfish. Seek out a nice sudsy wash close to cunje beds and cabbage and fish big fresh prawns, abalone gut or cunjevoi on 10kg line.

A small pea sinker down to a strong but smallish hook is the recipe for some serious rod-bending fun. Pigs around 1.5kg bled, filleted and skinned provide a very tasty meal when quickly pan-fried with a little olive oil.

Out on the big blue, yellowfin tuna numbers are still rosy leading up to September with Daniel from Batemans Bay Bait and Tackle reporting his customers scoring double and triple hook-ups on ’fin to 40kg due east of the Bay.

I heard of one fish going 68kg taken on a lure from the Tuross Canyons.

ESTUARIES VARY

Estuary fishing has been fantastic in some locations and dead in others, depending on your target species.

The Moruya River has had some inconsistent runs of salmon for a while now but the size of the fish has been way down on last year’s run, with most fish less than a kilo.

Rod Stokman from Harry’s Bait and Tackle has been getting plenty of quality tailor to 3kg, which certainly make up for the small salmon.

Tailor numbers and size have really improved on the South Coast in the past three years and with less commercial effort on these fish, they should continue to improve.

Tuross and Coila lakes continue to fish well for black bream with some plastic-chuckers reporting large catches of these snag-dwellers. Just remember that the black bream are probably still in spawning condition at this time of year so try to keep the smaller ones if you must keep a feed.

With all of the estuaries receiving such an extensive flush this Winter, we should see some really good calm-water fishing over the next few months.

Beach fishing, too, should benefit from the big flush for salmon, tailor, bream, flathead and possibly big jew.

The bad news is the local netters also know this and have been very active on numerous beaches, particularly North Durras Beach and Maloneys Beach.

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