Preparing For Snapper
Over the years we have accumulated some handy tips for catching snapper, for the most part our tips have come from picking the brains of experienced anglers at our local angling clubs and also from many years of trial an error of our own. I highly recommend joining your local angling club, or at least dropping in and shouting the old school anglers a few beers, as they will most likely part with some nuggets of gold which will improve your catch rate.
The first step in being a successful snapper angler is definitely preparation. Snapper are worth the extra time and effort needed during the preparation phase, and they are worth spending a little extra cash, if need be, on gear that you can trust.
Lockdowns and cold winters may mean that your gear or boat/water craft has been sitting idle for a while. So, now that the winter has come and gone, and the weather is now on the up, it’s a great time to start dusting off your gear, getting it ready and preparing to target big red. Use the time you have now to inspect your boat, kayak or gear, and make sure that they are fit for the water. Don’t forget to check your life jackets and flares are within their use-by dates etc.
As marine batteries are made differently to car batteries the maintenance is slightly different, so it will pay to ensure that your batteries is up to the job before you head out. Keeping your battery above 12.4 volts during the winter is paramount in your batteries life span.
You will soon start to notice your social feeds filling up with those lucky enough to land an early red, which will get you itching to get out there and get your hands on a big red for yourself. Use September for ironing out the kinks in your set ups. Take the time to examine your reels and ensure that you old line is up to the job. I have made this mistake before, I left my old line on my reel, only to be spooled very quickly. Obviously, over time the more you snag up, the more you reduce the meterage on your spool. Based on this fact, I re-spool my reels when spring rolls around. Another tip is to check that there are no cracks in your rod’s runners. You can do this by driving a cotton bud through your runners, and if the cotton wool pulls away from the bud, it’s most likely you have a crack. A crack in the runner will end with a lost fish. For a demonstration of how to check you guides have a look at our quick Youtube video:
There are two ways which you can best prepare, when it comes to snapper rigs. The first way is making your own rigs at home. The advantage of this is, that you can make your rigs to your own specifications, and what works for you or the area that you fish. Regardless if you use twin snelled, running sinker, or flasher rigs or a combination of both, you still need a crafty way to store the rigs. Of late, I have seen a lot of anglers on Youtube sharing how they store their rigs, particularly the Youtubers have been demonstrating the use of a pool noodle. Although the pool noodle is handy and has some great advantages, it also has some down sides. I found that the unused rigs rust out very quick, once they are exposed to the elements of saltwater fishing. For this reason, I don’t recommend the use of a noodle, I found a better alternative is the use of a water proof fishing wallet
When making my own rigs, I usually make some rigs with sinkers attached and some without. I always start off targeting snapper with no sinkers, as this is the most natural way to present the bait and it also reduces the amount of snags on any structure. If I am not having any success with unweighted rigs, then I simply just switch over to the rigs I pre-made containing some lead. This also works great when fishing in waters with great tidal movement.
The second method of preparation is purchasing pre-made rigs from your local tackle shop or online. Pre-made rigs have a tremendous upside as they usually come in a sealed package, keeping them protected from the elements and preventing rusting out. With many brands on the market these days, you are sure to find a rig that will fit your needs at a good price point. One of the advantages of pre-made rigs is the opportunity to quickly change over whatever rig is working at the time. For example if the snapper are only biting on flasher rigs, the angler can quickly change over all their rods to fish flashers. The other great thing about pre-made rigs is how quickly you can get a rod back in the water after a snag or bust off.
At this time of year I usually take stock of what’s missing in my tackle box, with the intention of replacing my snapper tackle and then hit my local tackle store, however, due to lockdowns, I’ve been giving the online shopping a good nudge. Additionally, during September whilst waiting for the water temperature to rise, I tend to focus on collecting fresh bait and stocking up the freezer for the months to come. I usually target squid and small bait fish, with the use of the traditional squid jig and sabiki rigs respectively. I will usually sound up some bait fish and drop over a sabiki rig with a little pilchard. I also find that fresh squid is dynamite on the snapper, as they find it hard to resist a well presented squid head.
One last preparation that I do make is the berley. I tend to cube up and freeze chunks of pilchards in bags of a suitable size for each sesh. Additionally I do the same thing with my berley pallets.
Well that wraps it up, so get out there and get your gear sorted and I hope you have a good spring on the Reds.
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