Signs Point to Snapper
  |  First Published: June 2010

Winter is now well and truly in full swing as air and water temperatures plummet in the South East.

The Northern Bay has fished relatively well so far this winter for snapper and all signs point to the bay producing more exceptional snapper fishing for the next month.

By far the most productive areas to fish has been in the shallows around headlands and the islands, although these areas are only producing quality fish when the light is low or totally dark due to the water becoming clearer last month.

During July it becomes very important to get onto the water prior to sunrise to fish dawn before the sun light penetrates into the depths and the fish retreat back out into the channels and deep reefs. Stealth is also vital for anglers positioning themselves for a pre-dawn fish.

Snapper are very susceptible to sounds and vibrations and can turn go off the bite instantly, so be aware of boat noise in the area you want to fish. Most anglers who stick to these basic rules have been returning home with a good haul.

Most snapper have been in the 40-50cm pan-sizedrange with only the occasional fish pushing up to 60cm. In July the bigger breeding crackers should start to enter the shallow bay grounds, giving the option for bigger specimens.

The glassy mornings will see high numbers of boats waiting to launch at the ramp so allow plenty of time, be patient and be prepared to wait your turn.

When targeting snapper instead of setting anchor and rattling a chain all the way to the bottom, try drifting with the use of a small sea anchor to find the schools of fish. Set your drift pattern adjacent to the shallow reef drop-offs and you should connect to some healthy, hard fighting snapper.

In the shallows you will encounter more action by using plastics rather than baits due to the water clarity at this time of the year. The fish seem to be rather shy of dead baits and react better to more natural plastics.

Vary your retrieve from an erratic long hop across the bottom to slow twitching with plenty of pauses.

Water clarity will help to determine the best method to present you artificials. In dirty water use bigger baits with a more erratic retrieve, but in clear water use smaller baits as they create more finesse with less movement in the retrieve.

Keep varying your retrieves and plastics as this will keep the fish biting longer as they don’t seem to get as accustomed to one particular type of presentation.

These fish see a lot of pressure from bait fishermen around the bay and survive by being switched on to what is natural and what isn’t so keep this in mind next time you are out on the water.

During July the full moon will trigger the bream into spawning mode in the deeper holes and reef drop-off areas.

For the week over the full moon bream will move from the shallows and converge to the depths to complete their cycle, this is when bream become susceptible to over fishing so take it easy on catch numbers.

This is a great time to get a reaction bite as bream will snap at any bait that is presented in front of their noses, try using vibration blades, stickbaits and soft plastics.

During July bream can be on the bite right through the day or night so any chance you get to go for a fish will be worth the effort. It’s also a good time to get the children into bream fishing as they will be available in good numbers from most land-based locations.

Cold offshore winds are usually what kicks the breams’ spawning cycle into action so keep an eye on the synoptic charts for offshore winds. The bream should fish particularly well leading up to the full moon when the winds blow from the south to southwest at around 10 knots. These fish expel a huge amount of energy during this time of the year and as such are usually quite lean after the spawn.

Whiting are abundant at the moment pretty much from every corner of the bay. If early starts are not your thing then fishing for a feed of whiting will suit you to a tee, as these little blokes are not as susceptible to ambient boater’s noise or spooked by bright sunlight in clear shallow water.

Fresh squid strips are a winner for these fun little blokes, as well as mud worms and live nippers. For a fun day on the water why not try catching a few fresh squid then anchor up and catch a feed of succulent whiting off the squid tentacles. Whiting are a great way to get the family into fishing as only simple equipment is needed and the fish have no sharp spines or gill plates to cut young hands.

The prawn run this year has been awesome to say the least. Many keen netters have been chasing the schools out from the Pine River with great success.

Locating these large balls of prawns can sometimes be the biggest hurdle to achieve but once they have been found often dozens of boats will converge to the area. Most netters have been filling their buckets in a couple of hours and are heading home happy with their fill.

Hopefully the run will continue for the remainder of this month.

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