Assorted gear to have onboard during winter.

Enticing a big snapper

THIS time of year is always very exciting. There are plenty of late season prawns still being caught around the bay islands, big mud crabs are crawling around in the creeks ready to dig in before the winter chill hits and all of the cold weather species are starting to show up. May was an awesome month for mackerel and, at the time of writing this article, many boats were still getting great fish. Enticing big snapper

Snapper is one of my favourite species and right now all of us should be making a serious attempt at dusting off our favourite snapper gear and getting rigged for what is going to be an epic season. The Gold Coast Sportfishing Club is running their annual Snapper Classic on June 13, 2021, which is always a great place to catch up with a bunch of top snapper fishos.

A 65cm snapper caught on a float-lined squid off the Jumpinpin Bar in 40m water.

This is the time to get ready, so I’ll do a quick run through of the gear I use and hopefully you may pick up a trick or two to nail yourself a big knobby this season. First, the rods I’ve chosen this year are 7’ 20-30lb Blade N Tails. They’re a lot lighter in weight compared to the older glass rods due to advancements in blank construction over recent years.Enticing big snapper

The feel through the rod using braid is crisp and precise, making the feel of the bite and the hook-up rate better. I prefer to use overhead for bait fishing and spin for soft plastics. Running good quality eight-carrier braid is also important because it runs smoother through the guides, makes less noise and increases the chances of better fish.Enticing big snapper

On the spin outfit, a 30-40lb leader is enough for plastics in water around 60-70m deep but I usually choose something a little heavier around 50-60lb when I’m bait fishing. I find that mono is better in deep water, more so than fluorocarbon leader, as it feels more supple and less wiry. Keep about 3-4m of leader on so there’s less chance of bigger fish detecting the mainline.Enticing big snapper

Once again two snelled 5/0 suicide hooks and a lumo pink or white egg sinker will do the trick nicely, sliding directly above the hooks. Sinker size will vary depending on depth and current, and I keep all sizes from 1/2-2oz in the tackle box. Good fresh frozen squid, pilchard, yakka and bonito will all entice a big snapper but make sure your presentation is perfect.Enticing big snapper

Check that the bait doesn’t spin or twist on the drop, and if it does re-do it. With plastics I love using anything with plenty of action in the tail. Rig them on a 3/4oz 5/0-7/0 jig head and allow them to drop under their own weight. Don’t disturb the line or lure drop halfway down or it may put the fish off the bite.Enticing big snapper

Allow the line to come off the reel without resistance. Count the colours of the braid as it drops so you know when you’re getting closer to the strike zone, and be ready for the line to peel off when the plastic gets slammed on the way down. Occasionally though you will still get bricked in the reef – it’s good practice to have another rod rigged and ready to go.Enticing big snapper

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