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Snapper Fishing

PathFishing Report » Saltwater Reports » Offshore

Article by Ross Hunter ( Watch )
Posted27/08/07 21:21:28 (Australia/Sydney)
This arcticle has been viewed 11279 times.


by Ross Hunter

Ross Hunter with Snapper
Occasionally Captain Ross has a fish ...He get's lucky sometimes.
Snapper are one of Australia's favourite recreational fish they are great fun to catch and they are five stars as a table fish, they simply are everyone's favourite.

On Broadbill and Billfisher we love a day on the reds as a change from the gamefishing. There is nothing better that fishing on anchor with engines turned off , maybe a little soothing music on the stereo, sometimes I may even get the guitar out and sing a song or two , a little Buffett orb a track or two off my Bluewater Country or Northern Waters albums, whilst fishing at our favourite snapper area the Stanwell Park Hump.

This place is the home of the big reds, it is found 19.8 nautical miles south of Botany Bay Heads, which is our homeport. I have not dealt with soft plastics in this yarn as the waters can be a little too deep that I refer to and also the jackets eat them before the snapper get a sniff I will do a separate story on snapper on soft plastics.


The scenery on the way to the grounds..magnificent
Having picked up our clients we generally steam to Marley Point (around 12 nautical mile) and then troll minnows along the cliff face embattlements of the Royal National Park. We often get kings and a few salmon on the trip down. Trolling only 20 metres from the shoreline, it is not uncommon to see wild deer, kangaroos, and white-bellied sea eagles as we head slowly southward.

The scenery leaves you with the feeling that you are in the wilderness, it is so wild and untouched…..no houses, no man made catastrophes, just Australiana at its best and ya gotta love that!

This passage may take an hour, but it is an hour that every customer will take in the magnificence of the area and remember for a long time …There place makes me feel good, just to be there. First Marley with its wild beaches, Garie, Burning Palms Era and Bolgo, all just as beautiful as each other.

Hals 3.5 kg Snapper
Hals 3.5 kg Snapper
The high cliffs are now punctuated by grassy valleys, silky white beaches, adorned by the high mountain ranges above, just so beautiful.

We then change course at Thirroul and head sea ward to our snapper grounds

I have accumulated many great fishing spots over the years, some in 25 metres and some as deep as 70 metres .

To visit "The Hump" is a wonderful experience if only for the scenery itself, as it quite breathtaking, to be in this part of the world always makes me feel good.

Miles and miles of National Park, the rugged unspoiled coastline is made up of magnificent cliff faces, reaching one hundred metres high, so rugged and so shear. Home for many families of white bellied sea eagles as they majestically soar in the updrafts searching for food. We often troll the washes along the edge of the cliff faces and catch kingfish and bonito on the trip home. Deep diving lures trolled slowly will get the job done as we sit back and breath in the serenity of this wonderful area of the Royal National Park, usually with a fine catch of snapper in the fish box.

What good fish..They don't catch them like this in Cowra
It is always a pensive thought that only 30 miles northward is the big smoke, Sydney, the biggest city in Australia, but down here we are in a bit of wilderness, that is the beauty of this wonderful country we call Australia.


When planning a trip we ensure that the following factors are in place. (After all it is a long haul down there and it can be a waste of fuel and time if the following are not right)

(a) Current flow…To fish the floater system the current must not be running too fast, any more than one knot and this system is in jeopardy (more on that in techniques)…The current should be running lightly to the south.

Snapper on circle hooks
The circle hooks get them in the corner of the mouth every time
(b) Wind… The wind must be reasonably light and from any direction but the south. Light west light nor east but not south. The reason is that because we are fishing on anchor if the currents light from the north (IE running southward) and the wind is from the south then we could find our selves fishing under the boat and back up the anchor rope, this never works.

If the breeze is from any other direction other than against the current the boat will generally lay with the current flow thus allowing the baits to be fed back from the transom with the current assisting to take them down to the depths with the berley.

(c) Selecting a spot to anchor……This is the most important part of the day. Having fished this area for many years I have land marks I work with and still use to day. Yes! Believe it or not people actually used land marks once……that is before a thing called GPS was invented.

After all how else could you find your fishing spot, mind you we still use the GPS to check our landmarks.

Having established that we are now in our spot we then sound the bottom carefully, we are fishing in 20 fathoms and the bottom is broken reef and gravel We pick a section of reef to anchor on and drop the reef pick allowing for breeze and current to drift us over the small reef outcrop below. Anchoring on hard reefy areas will result in rubbish fish all day Such species as pike, sweep, jackets etc will plague all day making it impossible to get a bait to a good snapper. The wider reefs are where the big fish forage for their food and that's where we have selected to anchor.

Ok! So all the above are in order so we can plan our trip an early start for these sorts of trips is essential.

In the Spring, which is the best month by, far, we leave around 5 am getting us on the spot at 6.15 am, first baits hit the water about 6.30am.


First sign of a big Snapper
There's nothing better than the first sight of a big snapper
(d) Techniques………Ok if you have not fished the Floater method for snapper then there is a great t experience waiting for you…. Basically what we are doing is not Rocket Science. Once we have anchored on our favourite spot, a spot that in our instance has produced some great days over many years on the reds we then get the system going. Firstly pilchards are cut fine on the cutting board and berley slick is started as they are thrown in small pieces cut into 8 or ten cubes per pillie and fed back down the slick. This never stops all day. We have now senta message to any snapper feeding below we have arrived and there is food above. Snapper like all fish have a great sense of smell and will pick up such a berley trail from alom]n g way away.

Sometimes you won't get a bite for maybe 2 hours be patient it will pay off and when they arrive it can be in numbers. Tide changes can play a part in the snapper's feeding habits an hour before and an hour after is always good. Also after big seas and bad weather, this too will work well.

Once the berley slick is working then the baits go in.


Billfisher caught a heap of good Snapper as well
We use a Shimano Corsairs loaded with 6kg line….a ball sinker of enough weight to carry the bait slowly down in the light current sits directly onto the mustard 2/0 bait holder hook. No swivel is used with this sort of fishing.

Yes! Small hooks are the best; they never come out and are easier to set on the light drags we are using The bait is striped tuna cut into a triangular shape complete with skin…The hook is fed thru the thin end of the triangle once only The baits are 120 millimetres in length . I use big baits as it helps with the drift and the pickers cannot eat them but snapper are gut's and they have no trouble getting them down.

Ok! Now the baits are on correctly and we are ready to present same to a waiting snapper below. It is now important to feed the bait back in free spool in the current, not too fast but at the same speed that the berley is flowing back. How far do we feed the bait back? …Depending on the day up to 100 metres, if you get snagged up on the bottom then go to a lighter sinker You do not want to be on the bottom at any time as the snapper will feed right up in mid water once they are in the berley slick.

To experience a snapper's run on this light gear is a buzz and is so instant and powerful you will never miss it. You will be dreaming away, feeding back your line, you may have done it for a few hours with out a bite and all of a sudden line is screaming off the reel and the fun has started You have just hooked a big red and the fun has started

At this point the reel is clicked into gear and alight strike is made and then hang on as the light line pours of the drag. But the best is still to come and that is the sight of a big snapper coming out of the depths after a 20-minute fight.

The landing net is called for and one hell of a beautiful specimen joins the boat. These days we release a fish or two especially the big breed stock the best table fish are the 1.5 to 2.5 kg size Yep! The barbeque will be fired up tonight ….Fresh snapper a nice wine and a great days "Floater Fishing".

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I think that was good although i am twelve years of age, i would like to cath some snapper like you did and i think that your storie was well stated.
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