I believe we are in the midst of the best snapper fishing season for years east of the South Passage Bar.
The shallow and deep reefs have been producing good numbers of excellent quality fish. On charter trips in August we had very little trouble catching our bag limit of five fish per angler and floatlining with pilchards has accounted for a high percentage of the fish.
Mixed in with the squire have been some really top class snapper of 5-7kg. These fish have been surprisingly common and there have even been the odd few snapper ranging of 9-10kg. We’ve boated a couple of fish better than 9kg and the best was 9.5kg.
The fish have been well spread and all of the well-known reef structures are producing good numbers of fish. On my most recent trips, I’ve found the fish on the 29s and 33s and also in a bit closer at Shallow Tempest. It’s fantastic to know that there is no need to travel too far to get a quality bag of snapper.
We’ve had some great patches of weather and there have been a lot of boats on the water, so it’s worth remembering that too much boat traffic in a small area will spook the fish. The best bet is to get away from the crowds and find a patch of fish for yourself.
It never ceases to amaze me how people come right in on boats already fishing a patch of reef. Nobody owns the water out there, but a little bit of common sense and decency goes a long way. If someone is already fishing close to the area you want to fish, let them have it and find another area to fish. You’ll do better anyway!
There have also been some cobia around of late and on the days we’ve fished the Shallow Tempest area, a few have snaffled baits aimed at snapper. Most of these fish have been around 15kg and they take a bit of boating on lighter snapper outfits. One of my clients landed an 18.5kg cobia on a Shimano Baitrunner loaded with 10kg line and the fight lasted 30 minutes. This was a great effort on light tackle.
The other pleasing thing about the snapper is that the moon phase hasn’t played as important a role as it usually does. The fish have been feeding well on most moon phases and it has been fun and rewarding.
The snapper and squire should hang around for another month, so if you get the chance, head out the front and chase a knobby or two.
Over the coming months amberjack and yellowtail kingfish will become very active on the deeper reefs such as the 35s, 42s and 50s. Deep-water livebaiting and high-speed jigging are great options for these fish. If you plan to tackle an amberjack or yellowtail kingfish, make sure your gear is in tip-top condition, as they will certainly put the gear and the angler to the test.
Until next month, take care on the coastal bars and if you’d like to join me on a charter (maximum 4 persons) give me a call on 0418 738 750 or (07) 3822 9527.Reads: 517