Warmer than usually sea temperatures on the inshore reefs have meant that winter snapper season has been very slow this year. Out wide on the Barwon banks and Hard’s fish numbers have been average, but over the past two weeks the inshore reefs that the snapper move onto to spawn have started to fire up. This week has seen snapper to 7.5kg from north Reef, to 3-5.5kg on the gneering, up to 6.5kg from Murphy’s and to 5kg off Bray’s Rock. This is a very good sign that we should have at least a months or so of hot snapper action.
Snapper generally move inshore onto local reefs at this time of the year to feed and spawn. This is when anglers with small boats can fish close in reefs off Caloundra and Mooloolaba with good results. The migration of these fish to the close inshore reefs during the winter months to breed generally occurs when the water temperature drops below 18-20 degrees.
Although these fish are prolific in the winter they can also be caught year round on the deeper reefs like the Barwon Banks and Caloundra wide.
Apart from being hard fighting fish snapper are one of the best eating fish in the sea. If bled and put in an ice slurry soon after capture snapper fillets are delectable.
The best times for snapper fishing are dawn, dusk and over night and around the bottom or top of the tide. Drifting is a particularly good way to find snapper. Once you get onto a hot bite, anchor and berley up. Otherwise look for a rise in depth and try to anchor so that your bait ends up on the edge of or on top of the rise.
Snapper on soft plastics: 4 inch Berkley Power baits and Gulp 5 inch Jerk shads have produced good results for me. The whole range of colours work, but I have found the best to be glow, smelt, nuclear chicken and chartreuse pepper neon. Jig heads with heavy gauge 3/0-5/0 hooks are needed to avoid losing the fish through straightening or crushing of the hook. Jig head weight can vary depending on depth, but in most cases a 3/8 to 1/2 oz will do. Start a berley trail and cast the plastics out as far as you can. Let the plastic work it’s was to the bottom then jerk the rod upwards a couple of times, letting the plastic sink back down. If you don’t receive a strike then wind it back up and repeat these steps over again. Also try drifting over a rise in the bottom working your plastic up over the bottom in an upward jerking motion.
Snapper on hard bodied lures, are not uncommon. Trolling along rocky coastline at dawn and dusk can produce good snapper. Close in deep water off the rocks at Coolum, Noosa National Park, Point Cartwright and Caloundra are very productive areas. A range of deep divers made by Halco and RMG in a variety of colours work. Snapper will feed in mid water, so once you know the depth try to work the lure around half way down and you should be within their strike zone. The Scorpion Crazy Deep by RMG dives to 8 metres and would be perfect for working areas like Currimundi Reef and the Inner Gneerings. Also, try to look for baitfish, structures and spots that show on the sounder and drag your lure past in the hope of hooking up.
Snapper on live or frozen bait: live bait work best, but snapper also love large pilchards, squid, yakka, slimy mackerel and mullet fillets.
Berley is the key: when anchored try to berley with finely chopped bait. The finer it is the better as this will avoid the fish filling up on berley and not being hungry for your bait. If you can, berley with bait similar to that, which you are using on your hook. It pays to keep the old bait from previous trips to use as berley rather than the good quality bait recently purchased.
With the ideal weather patterns over this coming weekend it will give anglers a good chance to get out to the local reefs to do some serious fishing and hopefully land a few big knobbies in the process.
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Snapper and Sweetlip from Sunshine reef. Snapper, parrot and moses perch from North reef. Tailor between the third cutting and Teewah. Tailor and Trevally from Woods Bay on the top of the tide. Whiting from the banks near Munna point. Bream from the deeper holes at the mouth. Luderick from the rock wall near the mouth.
Maroochydore: Grass Sweetlip and Tusk fish from the Inner Gneerings. School jew at Bli Bli. Quality bream from the mouth at Dawn. Whiting from the black banks. Trevally and Tailor in the cod hole at dusk. Trevally and flathead above Bli Bli bridge. Mud crabs to 1.4kg in Petrie and Eudlo creek.
Kawana: Snapper and Sweetlip from Murphy’s. Spotty Mackerel from Currimundi. Tailor from Point Cartwright. Flathead and whiting on the banks in the lower reaches. Plenty of luderick from the end of the Kawana rock near La Balsa Park. Mud crabs and Whiting in the canals.
Caloundra: Pearl Perch and Pigfish at wide Caloundra. Snapper, Sweetlip and Pearl Perch from Caloundra 12mile. Sand Whiting opposite the power boat club. Bream and Trevally from the blue hole. Tailor along happy Valley. Flathead from the creek mouths. Trevally and Queenfish in the canals.
Rob Duncan and his mate Clint Rustler did an overnight trip on board one of fishing Noosa boats to the Hard’s and caught snapper to 6kg in the deep water(supplied by www.fishingnoosa.com.au).
Craig Lamb and his boys Riley and Taylum fished North Reef off Noosa for monster snapper to 7.5kg last weekend (supplied by www.fishingnoosa.com.au).
Andy Gunn always fishes with plenty of berley at a favourite patch on the Caloundra 12 mile for snapper like this 6.5kg specimen.