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Thread: Shallow water snapper

  1. #1

    Shallow water snapper

    Hi All - I started to pen this a couple of days back

    With a wet & windy morning my last day at Evans Head has turned into a pack up day ....... A mate will call through for a beer later on - so that should be good.
    Anyway - as I'm packing up my tackle I starting to go over the things that went right , wrong & what I learnt over the past week or so .

    But before I start - for those who haven't experienced this kind of fishing ..... if you've got the boat with an electric motor - it's seriously worth giving a go .
    By shallow we were fishing 5-12 m & at times were pretty close to a breaking reef ( 50-75m) Reef break (2).jpg- So I wouldn't want to do this on the anchor (I know of some that do )
    If you are away from "danger" then it's fine to anchor.

    The basics are pretty simple - find the bait with some decent structure (areas with kelp seemed the most productive) ..... set up a pilchard cube trail & float whole pilchards either unweighted or about half a pea sized sinker . The currents in close are not generally strong - even during this new moon period .
    Early morning & late afternoon being preferred - If there is a change of the .... the last hour worked for us. This is about bringing the fish to you

    LOCATIONS - South of the Qld border down to Port Stephens is shallow water snapper nirvana - Evans Head is pretty special though with close options . We averaged a 25 lt / day fuel burn

    TACKLE .....

    Well this was one area where I came unstuck - particularly when the big fish came on

    I came with 6 outfits .... after the very first session 3 stayed in rack , After 2 sessions I was down to using just two 8-15kg Millerod (20lb braid) & 17-40lb Venom (30lb braid) ...... all the others in that 12-20lb were deemed inadequate based on the fish we were encountering . Lesson 1 - Big snapper are brutal in the shallow kelp beds . We lost around 2 dozen fish that we couldn't stop .

    Steve used a Terez rod & a new custom made 8-15kg stump puller Attachment 125571stump puller (2).jpg

    Both Steve & I used 6000 & 8000 baitrunners (Shimano Thunnus) .... I had 20 & 30lb - Steve used 40lb

    Leaders - I went 40lb main leader with 30lb pretied breakaway snelled 2 hook rigs (6/0 BKK or Mustad big red) . ( saves retying leaders & FG knots) - I use some lumo tube & beads ... my results have improved over the past 3 years since going with lumo. Attachment 125572Snelled rig (2).jpg
    Steve pretty well ran 50lb straight through to tru turn ganged hooks ( last year the spotties were thick ) - his results speak for themselves

    Under the circumstances of this trip - heavier braid & leaders proved to be the right choice Lesson 2 - Big snapper are not leader shy . My best (73cm) came after going up to 40lb FC snelled 2 hook rig - That fish went through the kelp on 4 occasions before being controlled

    BAITRUNNERS are certainly the choice of reels - a snapper take is not a bite or nibble ..... it's a take & run (that sound of a baitrunner .... magnificent) .
    Traditionally I would allow the fish to run a bit (10m) before engaging the reel . On this occasion that proved costly as it gave those big snapper a chance to get into the kelp . Steve gave them what for from the outset which certainly helped with landing 2 80cm plus snapper ( & 2 meter plus jew) Lesson 3 - Dont give those big snapper a chance by letting them run - water depth & line angles are all in their favor

    http://www.facebook.com/chris.nagiel...77488678932813




    TECHNIQUE

    Once the fish is hooked - turn it as fast as you can .... high rod action & wind hard n fast - watch that power dive close to the boatpower dive.jpg. Unlike deep water snapper these fish do not suffer barotrauma & so the fight is sustained right to the net

    ONE ROD OR TWO

    We found that when the fish came on it was best to pretty well just to fish 1 rod each - we had a few double hookups & missed fish while we were doing other things like tending to the second outfit .

    TIME OF YEAR

    As far as I can tell - Feb through to May seem to be good for the Mid to Northern NSW coast - Spawning aggregations occur during winter . I've always felt confident straight after a big blow & SE winds are preferred . I call these the moocher snapper ..... big fish looking for an easy feed.

    BY CATCH

    In this part of the world - just about anything is possible & we've landed some exceptional fish incl Jewfish , Spotted / Spanish Mackerel , Kingfish , Cobia , Northern Bluefin Tuna , Amberjack , Bonito , Mack Tuna , Grassy Sweetlip , Moses Snapper & Bream

    NEXT TIME

    Next year I'll certainly be prepared for the bigger fish - buy a couple of spare Thunnus spools & load them with an abrasive kind of braid like platypus platinum to help deal with the kelp .
    A note on the kelp ... this year the kelp was thicker & higher than last May - I'll certainly go up on the leaders (40lb rather than 30lb ) I think I'm Ok on the rods - ( I was short 1 8-15kg Miller for this trip)

    So there you have it - some thoughts / experiences & what I took from this trip to Evans Head .
    For those living in SE Qld ...... it's only a couple of hours to experience this awesome style of fishing .

    Cheers

    Chris
    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
    TEAM MOJIKO

  2. #2

    Re: Shallow water snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by NAGG View Post
    Hi All - I started to pen this a couple of days back

    With a wet & windy morning my last day at Evans Head has turned into a pack up day ....... A mate will call through for a beer later on - so that should be good.
    Anyway - as I'm packing up my tackle I starting to go over the things that went right , wrong & what I learnt over the past week or so .

    But before I start - for those who haven't experienced this kind of fishing ..... if you've got the boat with an electric motor - it's seriously worth giving a go .
    By shallow we were fishing 5-12 m & at times were pretty close to a breaking reef ( 50-75m) Reef break (2).jpg- So I wouldn't want to do this on the anchor (I know of some that do )
    If you are away from "danger" then it's fine to anchor.

    The basics are pretty simple - find the bait with some decent structure (areas with kelp seemed the most productive) ..... set up a pilchard cube trail & float whole pilchards either unweighted or about half a pea sized sinker . The currents in close are not generally strong - even during this new moon period .
    Early morning & late afternoon being preferred - If there is a change of the .... the last hour worked for us. This is about bringing the fish to you

    LOCATIONS - South of the Qld border down to Port Stephens is shallow water snapper nirvana - Evans Head is pretty special though with close options . We averaged a 25 lt / day fuel burn

    TACKLE .....

    Well this was one area where I came unstuck - particularly when the big fish came on

    I came with 6 outfits .... after the very first session 3 stayed in rack , After 2 sessions I was down to using just two 8-15kg Millerod (20lb braid) & 17-40lb Venom (30lb braid) ...... all the others in that 12-20lb were deemed inadequate based on the fish we were encountering . Lesson 1 - Big snapper are brutal in the shallow kelp beds . We lost around 2 dozen fish that we couldn't stop .

    Steve used a Terez rod & a new custom made 8-15kg stump puller Attachment 125571stump puller (2).jpg

    Both Steve & I used 6000 & 8000 baitrunners (Shimano Thunnus) .... I had 20 & 30lb - Steve used 40lb

    Leaders - I went 40lb main leader with 30lb pretied breakaway snelled 2 hook rigs (6/0 BKK or Mustad big red) . ( saves retying leaders & FG knots) - I use some lumo tube & beads ... my results have improved over the past 3 years since going with lumo. Attachment 125572Snelled rig (2).jpg
    Steve pretty well ran 50lb straight through to tru turn ganged hooks ( last year the spotties were thick ) - his results speak for themselves

    Under the circumstances of this trip - heavier braid & leaders proved to be the right choice Lesson 2 - Big snapper are not leader shy . My best (73cm) came after going up to 40lb FC snelled 2 hook rig - That fish went through the kelp on 4 occasions before being controlled

    BAITRUNNERS are certainly the choice of reels - a snapper take is not a bite or nibble ..... it's a take & run (that sound of a baitrunner .... magnificent) .
    Traditionally I would allow the fish to run a bit (10m) before engaging the reel . On this occasion that proved costly as it gave those big snapper a chance to get into the kelp . Steve gave them what for from the outset which certainly helped with landing 2 80cm plus snapper ( & 2 meter plus jew) Lesson 3 - Dont give those big snapper a chance by letting them run - water depth & line angles are all in their favor

    http://www.facebook.com/chris.nagiel...77488678932813




    TECHNIQUE

    Once the fish is hooked - turn it as fast as you can .... high rod action & wind hard n fast - watch that power dive close to the boatpower dive.jpg. Unlike deep water snapper these fish do not suffer barotrauma & so the fight is sustained right to the net

    ONE ROD OR TWO

    We found that when the fish came on it was best to pretty well just to fish 1 rod each - we had a few double hookups & missed fish while we were doing other things like tending to the second outfit .

    TIME OF YEAR

    As far as I can tell - Feb through to May seem to be good for the Mid to Northern NSW coast - Spawning aggregations occur during winter . I've always felt confident straight after a big blow & SE winds are preferred . I call these the moocher snapper ..... big fish looking for an easy feed.

    BY CATCH

    In this part of the world - just about anything is possible & we've landed some exceptional fish incl Jewfish , Spotted / Spanish Mackerel , Kingfish , Cobia , Northern Bluefin Tuna , Amberjack , Bonito , Mack Tuna , Grassy Sweetlip , Moses Snapper & Bream

    NEXT TIME

    Next year I'll certainly be prepared for the bigger fish - buy a couple of spare Thunnus spools & load them with an abrasive kind of braid like platypus platinum to help deal with the kelp .
    A note on the kelp ... this year the kelp was thicker & higher than last May - I'll certainly go up on the leaders (40lb rather than 30lb ) I think I'm Ok on the rods - ( I was short 1 8-15kg Miller for this trip)

    So there you have it - some thoughts / experiences & what I took from this trip to Evans Head .
    For those living in SE Qld ...... it's only a couple of hours to experience this awesome style of fishing .

    Cheers

    Chris
    Great insight as to what works, thanks heaps
    A bad days fishing has got to be better than any day at work......


  3. #3

    Re: Shallow water snapper

    Awesome detailed post mate thanks for that. Some fishermen like to keep things close to their chest so thanks for sharing

  4. #4
    Ausfish Addict disorderly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    In the Jungle

    Re: Shallow water snapper

    If you are going to put that level of detail into your posts and reports you could probably make a few bucks towards your fishing gear by submitting some articles to Fishing Monthly or whatever mags you get down there...

    You need to be a bit careful though of your fishing spots..I recently saw Ryan Moody complaining that some of his Wonky holes were now devoid of life because people were marking his spots by either radar or buzzing him...me thinks its also to do with running courses that show people how to find the Wonkies..

  5. #5

    Re: Shallow water snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy C View Post
    Awesome detailed post mate thanks for that. Some fishermen like to keep things close to their chest so thanks for sharing
    Unfortunately - there is too much of that ...... it's pretty sad & I've witnessed that many time

    f if helps members here ..... awesome

    Chris
    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
    TEAM MOJIKO

  6. #6

    Re: Shallow water snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by disorderly View Post
    If you are going to put that level of detail into your posts and reports you could probably make a few bucks towards your fishing gear by submitting some articles to Fishing Monthly or whatever mags you get down there...

    You need to be a bit careful though of your fishing spots..I recently saw Ryan Moody complaining that some of his Wonky holes were now devoid of life because people were marking his spots by either radar or buzzing him...me thinks its also to do with running courses that show people how to find the Wonkies..
    Nah , just sharing some thoughts & experiences from this last trip . Besides bait fishing isn't sexy enough

    I'm not really concerned even on the location - we moved around .... found the bait & away we went . Unlike a wonky hole which is specific .
    I wont be back for 12 months or so .....

    For me (& this isn't anything new) rather than dropping down lead in deep water ....... I'm demonstrating that excellent fishing can be had in close & with the cost of fuel so high - a few km run is pretty refreshing .

    Chris
    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
    TEAM MOJIKO

  7. #7
    Ausfish Bronze Member Ah Me Ting's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Tweed Coast, Northern NSW

    Re: Shallow water snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by disorderly View Post
    ... You need to be a bit careful though of your fishing spots..I recently saw Ryan Moody complaining that some of his Wonky holes were now devoid of life because people were marking his spots by either radar or buzzing him...me thinks its also to do with running courses that show people how to find the Wonkies..
    100% online course showing how to find them ... heck, mate of mine paid for one of his courses, and found GPS marks showing in the video's !!!
    When my wife calls, tell her I'm in "Ah Me Ting"

    Ah Me Ting = 2019 Quintrex 420 Renegade (Tohatsu 50hp 2 Stroke)

  8. #8
    Ausfish Bronze Member Ah Me Ting's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Tweed Coast, Northern NSW

    Re: Shallow water snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by NAGG View Post
    Hi All - I started to pen this a couple of days back

    With a wet & windy morning my last day at Evans Head has turned into a pack up day ....... A mate will call through for a beer later on - so that should be good.
    Anyway - as I'm packing up my tackle I starting to go over the things that went right , wrong & what I learnt over the past week or so .

    But before I start - for those who haven't experienced this kind of fishing ..... if you've got the boat with an electric motor - it's seriously worth giving a go .
    By shallow we were fishing 5-12 m & at times were pretty close to a breaking reef ( 50-75m) Reef break (2).jpg- So I wouldn't want to do this on the anchor (I know of some that do )
    If you are away from "danger" then it's fine to anchor.

    The basics are pretty simple - find the bait with some decent structure (areas with kelp seemed the most productive) ..... set up a pilchard cube trail & float whole pilchards either unweighted or about half a pea sized sinker . The currents in close are not generally strong - even during this new moon period .
    Early morning & late afternoon being preferred - If there is a change of the .... the last hour worked for us. This is about bringing the fish to you

    LOCATIONS - South of the Qld border down to Port Stephens is shallow water snapper nirvana - Evans Head is pretty special though with close options . We averaged a 25 lt / day fuel burn

    TACKLE .....

    Well this was one area where I came unstuck - particularly when the big fish came on

    I came with 6 outfits .... after the very first session 3 stayed in rack , After 2 sessions I was down to using just two 8-15kg Millerod (20lb braid) & 17-40lb Venom (30lb braid) ...... all the others in that 12-20lb were deemed inadequate based on the fish we were encountering . Lesson 1 - Big snapper are brutal in the shallow kelp beds . We lost around 2 dozen fish that we couldn't stop .

    Steve used a Terez rod & a new custom made 8-15kg stump puller Attachment 125571stump puller (2).jpg

    Both Steve & I used 6000 & 8000 baitrunners (Shimano Thunnus) .... I had 20 & 30lb - Steve used 40lb

    Leaders - I went 40lb main leader with 30lb pretied breakaway snelled 2 hook rigs (6/0 BKK or Mustad big red) . ( saves retying leaders & FG knots) - I use some lumo tube & beads ... my results have improved over the past 3 years since going with lumo. Attachment 125572Snelled rig (2).jpg
    Steve pretty well ran 50lb straight through to tru turn ganged hooks ( last year the spotties were thick ) - his results speak for themselves

    Under the circumstances of this trip - heavier braid & leaders proved to be the right choice Lesson 2 - Big snapper are not leader shy . My best (73cm) came after going up to 40lb FC snelled 2 hook rig - That fish went through the kelp on 4 occasions before being controlled

    BAITRUNNERS are certainly the choice of reels - a snapper take is not a bite or nibble ..... it's a take & run (that sound of a baitrunner .... magnificent) .
    Traditionally I would allow the fish to run a bit (10m) before engaging the reel . On this occasion that proved costly as it gave those big snapper a chance to get into the kelp . Steve gave them what for from the outset which certainly helped with landing 2 80cm plus snapper ( & 2 meter plus jew) Lesson 3 - Dont give those big snapper a chance by letting them run - water depth & line angles are all in their favor

    http://www.facebook.com/chris.nagiel...77488678932813




    TECHNIQUE

    Once the fish is hooked - turn it as fast as you can .... high rod action & wind hard n fast - watch that power dive close to the boatpower dive.jpg. Unlike deep water snapper these fish do not suffer barotrauma & so the fight is sustained right to the net

    ONE ROD OR TWO

    We found that when the fish came on it was best to pretty well just to fish 1 rod each - we had a few double hookups & missed fish while we were doing other things like tending to the second outfit .

    TIME OF YEAR

    As far as I can tell - Feb through to May seem to be good for the Mid to Northern NSW coast - Spawning aggregations occur during winter . I've always felt confident straight after a big blow & SE winds are preferred . I call these the moocher snapper ..... big fish looking for an easy feed.

    BY CATCH

    In this part of the world - just about anything is possible & we've landed some exceptional fish incl Jewfish , Spotted / Spanish Mackerel , Kingfish , Cobia , Northern Bluefin Tuna , Amberjack , Bonito , Mack Tuna , Grassy Sweetlip , Moses Snapper & Bream

    NEXT TIME

    Next year I'll certainly be prepared for the bigger fish - buy a couple of spare Thunnus spools & load them with an abrasive kind of braid like platypus platinum to help deal with the kelp .
    A note on the kelp ... this year the kelp was thicker & higher than last May - I'll certainly go up on the leaders (40lb rather than 30lb ) I think I'm Ok on the rods - ( I was short 1 8-15kg Miller for this trip)

    So there you have it - some thoughts / experiences & what I took from this trip to Evans Head .
    For those living in SE Qld ...... it's only a couple of hours to experience this awesome style of fishing .

    Cheers

    Chris
    Great write up.

    Close shore reefs are handy for keeping the fuel bill low and still getting a feed each trip ...
    When my wife calls, tell her I'm in "Ah Me Ting"

    Ah Me Ting = 2019 Quintrex 420 Renegade (Tohatsu 50hp 2 Stroke)

  9. #9

    Re: Shallow water snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by Ah Me Ting View Post
    Great write up.

    Close shore reefs are handy for keeping the fuel bill low and still getting a feed each trip ...

    Thanks for that

    The NSW coast north of Port Stephens has many locations where the reefs are literally a stones throw from the boat ramp where you could be fishing in 15-20 mins after launching .

    That said - you'll often be rewarded if you travel away (north or south ) for example Port Stephens has some great shallow water snapper fishing around the headlands & offshore islands - but I've found the best fishing - 15-30km north & I know that some great results are had from those that do the run up towards Seal rocks .

    Chris
    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
    TEAM MOJIKO

  10. #10

    Re: Shallow water snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by Ah Me Ting View Post
    100% online course showing how to find them ... heck, mate of mine paid for one of his courses, and found GPS marks showing in the video's !!!

    A GPS location is still only as good as your knowledge of how to fish the location & time of year ......... but as previously mentioned a "wonky hole" could easily be fished out (I would imagine) ...... but if the subterranean streams aren't flowing - it may just be a barren desert .

    Chris
    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
    TEAM MOJIKO

  11. #11

    Re: Shallow water snapper

    A couple of things that I haven't touched on but from a personal standpoint obsess over are .

    1) The quality of the bait . I will generally only use IQF pilchards . The bigger the better . When I buy them I ask for the box (4 or 15kg box) to be opened so I can see what the size of the pillies are & the general quality ( have they been refrozen) .

    When I say big pilchards - I'm talking 7" types .

    These days (recently) I bought a vacuum sealer & make up 2 kg packs of pillies ...... I keep these frozen & use them as required.

    1a) Slimey Mackerel are also excellent bait if available - fished dead . Fresh is great but frozen works as long as the slimies have been quickly frozen


    Did I mention big baits ? . The photo below shows the result of a missed snapper bite on a 3 hooked rig . The previous trip to this location I was landing 60 & 70cm snapper - I simply didn't have enough baits & I was really only able to fish 1 rod because the snapper were hitting the baits within seconds of landing in the water . It taught me a lot about the use of big baits.

    missed - big bait .jpg

    2) The other thing is that I try to present baits that are still thawing . I dont have a heap of baits on the bait table that are thawing out or left in the sun . I actually have a bait esky on the transom with an ice brick in there . That way even after a full day out on the water - we are still presenting semi thawed baits. who would have thought snapper like icy pop pillies ? .... but they do

    Evakool.jpgAnother snapper 3.jpg


    Chris
    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
    TEAM MOJIKO

  12. #12

    Re: Shallow water snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by NAGG View Post
    A GPS location is still only as good as your knowledge of how to fish the location & time of year ......... but as previously mentioned a "wonky hole" could easily be fished out (I would imagine) ...... but if the subterranean streams aren't flowing - it may just be a barren desert .

    Chris
    Generally a wonky hole has a big resident cod, I have heard from people who have fished them and learned that remove that cod and the hole dries up, they'd always returned the cod but found out from others that it'd been caught and taken. The hole is still there (shows brilliantly on a WASSP) but no fish.

  13. #13

    Re: Shallow water snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by Dignity View Post
    Generally a wonky hole has a big resident cod, I have heard from people who have fished them and learned that remove that cod and the hole dries up, they'd always returned the cod but found out from others that it'd been caught and taken. The hole is still there (shows brilliantly on a WASSP) but no fish.
    The cod is there for what it can eat ........ isn't it ?

    If there was no food - the cod wouldn't be there

    Chris
    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
    TEAM MOJIKO

  14. #14

    Re: Shallow water snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by NAGG View Post
    The cod is there for what it can eat ........ isn't it ?

    If there was no food - the cod wouldn't be there

    Chris
    That's usually how it works. Just passing on what a few serious wonky hole specialists mentioned. I was on one of their boats when one was located in Hervey Bay close to Fraser Island. We'd always get a couple of fish out of it just for dinner after we'd get some squid. There was a decent suze cod there also, we'd caught it once and let it go. We wouldn't spend much time there as it was in a reasonably high trafficked area so 2 fish was enough for us. Heard a boat sat on there and caught heaps of fish including the cod. Next time we wenr there, zilch, nothing. Circumstance, don't know but there is some speculation the big cod tends to sit in the hole and it's movements keep the hole open and flowing.

  15. #15

    Re: Shallow water snapper

    Quote Originally Posted by Dignity View Post
    That's usually how it works. Just passing on what a few serious wonky hole specialists mentioned. I was on one of their boats when one was located in Hervey Bay close to Fraser Island. We'd always get a couple of fish out of it just for dinner after we'd get some squid. There was a decent suze cod there also, we'd caught it once and let it go. We wouldn't spend much time there as it was in a reasonably high trafficked area so 2 fish was enough for us. Heard a boat sat on there and caught heaps of fish including the cod. Next time we wenr there, zilch, nothing. Circumstance, don't know but there is some speculation the big cod tends to sit in the hole and it's movements keep the hole open and flowing.
    Interesting observation / thought ........ cant really comment

    Chris
    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!
    TEAM MOJIKO

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