It’s red October!
  |  First Published: October 2008

Tom Clancy's novel The Hunt for Red October is a name often dropped in conversation at this point in the season when anglers along the NSW coast talk snapper, and with good reason.

Some quality reds often show up this month for boat-based anglers.

Generally the water is warming and that nasty sub 14° stuff we had to deal with over the previous two months should hopefully be gone.

Leading up to this report, some stunning fish over 8kg were landed but the action was really hit-and-miss due to such frigid water. Only the most persistent anglers were finding small concentrations of snapper.

Neil Miles scored a personal best red, conservatively estimated at 8kg, on a soft plastic lure in a mere 5m of water. He captured the whole fight on video for his Fishing Chronicles Volume 2 and quickly released the fish, even though talk of a wall mount was evident when watching a rough cut of the DVD.

The boys have been finding decent numbers of snapper averaging 4kg on most trips but have had to work their butts off for many hours for success.

But now the water is on the rise the reds should prove a little easier to locate.

Thanks to those same cold currents, the good run of yellowfin tuna of a few months ago also came to a screaming halt. This month may well see a return of a few tuna on the South Coast with the first trickle of warmer water on the continental shelf, which will be timely because my freezer is now virtually devoid of anything but bait!


Off the rocks, Ben Roberts has been fooling the odd bream into eating plastics.

Working washy holes behind bommies and using noticeably heavier jig heads than you'd be accustomed to in the estuaries is the trick to hooking bream off the stones.

You also have to be tolerant when it comes to losing gear to snags because it is essential to get that lure deep in the strike zone.

James Gale and Ray Smith have also been working the ocean rocks with plastics with great success, nailing flathead up to 70cm along with some nice bream.

James lost a monster bream at his feet that simply straightened the jig hook so that it resembled a needle.

Drummer will be another species that tends to fire up a bit this month but be aware of the ban on abalone gut as bait – it is illegal to do so at least until a review at the end of the year.

I think there are better baits that are far less messy, anyway.

Royal red prawns, green king prawns, bread (the good, doughy stuff) and cunjevoi are all standout baits.

But also be aware of Marine Park or local regulations on taking cunjevoi.

Lately I have had a craving for some fresh drummer fillets and this will no doubt be one of my next pursuits.

Last year spearfishers were seeing staggering numbers of really big black drummer up to a whopping 8kg in October so it will be interesting to see what transpires one year on.

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