Brisbane based angler with a strong love for all things fishing, especially the ocean and offshore fishing. I moved over and lived over on North Stradbroke island when I finished school and really got into my offshore fishing whilst living over there, learning how the catch a vast array of species mainly solo from my 4.8m boat called stormtrooper
Snapper are one of Australians most iconic fish to chase on lures, a lot of guys start their offshore careers on this species. What do you find most appealing?
I love the challenge of catching the large fish, they can be incredibly tricky to target at times. They fight hard and being a slow-growing fish they are quite old and have their own unique characteristic that makes each fish different. Especially the bigger knob headed models! These fish are such an icon species in Australia and one of those fish most Australian anglers want to experience catching at least once in their lifetime!
What’s someone common misconceptions most people get wrong when starting off chasing snapper on plastics?
The biggest would be that your lure has to hit the bottom or be worked across the bottom. Snapper are not always scavenging or looking for food on the bottom. Regularly they will actively hunt for bait fish higher up in the water column or feed around bait schools as a pelagic would
When approaching a reef or mark depending on water depth what do you suggest is the best method to approach?
You always want to start-up current/tide or upwind depending on which variable is the stronger. Drift over your spots without the motor running and avoid driving over the spot at speed as larger fish will easily spook from the motor noise. Normally snapper will sit off the structure and do something that I call "mooching" which is cruising around looking for an easy meal so it pays to start your drift a good distance up from your spot as they will sit ahead of the structure being the first waiting for any food moving down with the current or tide.
When picking your size jig head for water depth what are some go-to weights you’ve found depending on current and line class?
Selecting the right size weight for your plastic is crucial. There are a lot of variables in any depth; plastic material, drift speed, wind. But usually, in the sub 40m range, you're going to be using anywhere from 1/6oz in the 5-10m zones, right up to 3/4oz depending on current in that 40m zone. Anything deeper than 40m I go from 3/4 to 1 1/2oz. The trick is you never want to go to heavy with your jig head because snapper will simply refuse a lure that sinks to fast. You need the lure to glide down in the water column
Do you have any colour picks for certain water columns and profiles?
Nuclear chicken and white are my 2 go-to colours and change them depending on the time of day and water clarity. As far as profile goes 5-7inch jerk shads occasionally curl tails and small paddle tails. Just mix it up with everything on the day and use whatever is working the best.
Are conditions like tide/moon etc relevant or are these just theories? If so what’s your favoured conditions?
Full moon I like deep water and new moon shallows but they can be anywhere. Tide plays a big part moving bait and water around but I haven’t really got a huge preference mainly fish according to what the moon is doing as it’s the main driving force to what the fish do and how they feed. As far as conditions go I like good water clarity with a nice bit of tide or current and light winds but occasionally strong winds from the right direction can get the fish firing.
What percentage on snapper do you find to take it on the drop compared to on the retrieve? Does this affect the jig head weight you choose?
The right jig head weight is crucial to bites as I find most snapper eat as the lure is falling. I don’t get many snapper retrieving or working the lure but it’s a nice surprise if I get one doing it! It's all about the drop
Are there any tips on reading the sounder for snapper or is that irrelevant when casting ahead of fish?
Using your sounder is crucial when checking for depth, edges and ledges etc. But don't go sounding around on a reef you intend to fish. Especially if it's under 40m. You're going to mark fish but the fish are going to be spooked as you've just driven over them 4 times trying to find them. Sometimes it's better just to do drift over a spot you know holds fish
What’s your favourite thing about chasing snapper on plastics?
Definitely the hit on the drop and anticipating the strike from a big fish then seeing the big fish surface from the depths as you’ve won the fight.
What was your most memorable capture and why?
My most memorable capture was my first-metre long snapper at 103cm. That day my mate called me up out of the blue at 12pm after work for an afternoon session. We got to my spot at 2:30 pm slowly drove around the reef marked 2 schools made up of 3 big snapper each. Second drift in I hooked one of these fish and knew I it was really big as soon as I hooked it because it swam towards me in the current me before going on a huge run-up current. I had to make the call pretty quick to give chase as I was losing too much line on my 20lb setup and getting a really bad line angle. When the fish came up I noticed the leader was slightly shredded, I was very fortunate to land that fish. I had my share of very large fish lost in the past some only metres from the boat and to finally land that first one over a metre was pretty special.