Winter is here and with it comes a different approach to snapper fishing. For those who like to fish deep, you will need to change your approach and start fishing where the water is warmer. Generally, snapper tend to follow warmer water where they are more comfortable. They will move into the estuaries where the water is naturally warmer, as well as around the shallower reefs. These fish like to sun themselves and where better to do it than close to the surface in very shallow waters. Interestingly, just to blow my theory out the water, I had a customer come in last week who had been very successful out deep – that is 40 to 50 metres deep! What was interesting is that at the surface the water was cold, but the fish they brought into the boat were quite warm. Some boats have done well out at 50m and some have had blow-outs!
With the spate of bad weather that has plagued us, less boats have gone out so reports of fishing have been few and far between during May and June. The hardy anglers who just love getting out there have come back with mixed results. Some have done really well and some have battled to get a reasonable feed.
Now is a good time to be changing tack. The ‘carrot catchers’ are excited as the gurnard have come on the bite and reports have come in from both the Kaipara Harbour and the bays between Martins Bay and Leigh. There is nothing as delicious as a nice bit of fresh gurnard, but certain times of the year they tend to be pretty small and I don’t think it is fair to even put them in the chilly bin. There are, of course, ‘carrot catchers’ who will not let them escape, no matter how small. The reports currently coming in are of good-sized fish.
I have found that when gutting them they seem to produce a mixture of crab, small fish and shrimp. Generally, a simple pink flasher rig, on a softbait set-up with a very light sinker, just enough to get it to the bottom, seems to work well. Just remember to use smaller cubes of bait than when chasing other fish species. Of course, there are no rules in fishing, so if your preferred method works for you, keep using it. Just don’t tell your mates.
As the shortest day and the longest night have passed, my Pop’s birthday which is why I remember it, we can start being more positive as the days get longer and brighter. For those who have packed away their rods, reels and tackle, it might be a good idea to start getting those reels serviced and line replaced, instead of waiting for the summer.
Anthony Roberts, Tackle & Outdoors