What are the Optimal Conditions for Snapper?
There are several ecological elements that will provide you with the best chance of landing a few good snapper. When these conditions align together, that is when you should plan your strike mission. These conditions may not align every day, and when they do, it may happen during the week, rather than on a weekend when you have more time on your hands for fishing. Not every single condition needs to align to catch good fish, however, you do need as many of the right conditions to align as possible, for you to be successful.
When targeting snapper, one of the most important factors is fishing the right tide in your local fishery. That could be an incoming or outgoing tide, whatever works best in your area you should consider. Each two-hour period either side of the tide change is generally the best time to fish. Again, you should seek knowledge from local anglers to help you figure out what tide is best in your chosen body of water. In some areas it can be virtually unfishable, as a result of strong currents in and around the tide change, having said that some can be fished in any tide and non-seasonal.
Another strong factor to look out for when targeting snapper, is dawn and dusk. I have found by having your baits in the water prior to sunrise or at sunset, to be the most productive way to catch snapper. It pays off to get out to your general location at least an hour prior to either dusk or dawn, then scout around and see where the fish are holding ground and then drop anchor once you have located them all in time enough before the sun comes up or goes down.
The next factor to pay attention to is the water clarity. As snapper can be for the most part a shy fish, they do like a little coverage. Strong weather conditions will cause sediment in the water, which will provide snapper with a bit of coverage. Snapper are known to come on the bite when the water is a little murky. So a strong chop or wave conditions the day before or on the day is a welcome factor when fishing for snapper. However, snapper are often caught in calm conditions, when the other favourable factors all line up.
The moon can play an important role in fish behaviour, and personally I like to fish the first and last quarter moons. I reserve the full moon periods for fishing at night only and have never had a lot of success fishing during the day light hours during the full moon phase. If you want to know further information about the effect that moon phases can have on snapper fishing, click this link to read our in-depth blog regarding moon phases.
Water temperature is a key factor in landing snapper. The ideal water temperature is somewhere around 16 degrees plus. In my local fishing hole, the snapper don’t really come the chew until the water temperature starts to rise during the middle of spring time. If using a fish finder, be sure to watch your sounder for location of warmer water, often you will find fish holding ground within the pockets of warmer water.
For more in-depth knowledge on the best snapper conditions click the below link:
Let’s Talk About Rigs
Depending on conditions you are fishing and the area you fish, this will usually dictate the type of rig to use. For example, if you are fishing in relatively slow running water, then not a lot of weight is needed. In slow running water, I find the best rig to be a twin snelled hook, unweighted, loaded with a squid or a full pilchard. The rigs usually consists of a 40lb leader and about 50cm in length. This rig can also be set up as a running sinker, if need be, try a small size 0-1 ball sinker on your main line. If you feel the need to change sinkers regularly, then use an “ezi rig” clip for your sinker and will also make for easy change over.
Additionally if you are fishing on a slack tide, try using a flasher rig. Flasher rigs offer an eye catching bait to the fish, often enticing a fish to feed during a slack tide. Flashers come in many colours, when selecting a colour, try match it to the type of bait that is local to the area you are fishing. For example, if you fish where prawns are prevalent, then go for a pink or orange flasher, if there is abundance of pilchards around, then I would go for a blue flasher. If you plan to fish deep water or fish shallow water during the night, then your go to flasher would be a Super Ultra Violet flasher. The Super UV flashers use a material that glows when charged up by either natural light or artificial light such as a torch. As they glow under water you should have a few in your tackle box for night time, murky water or deep water fishing.
You can purchase the Super UV flashers either as a paternoster style rig or as single hooks, which can be used in conjunction with your own home made rig of choice. I personally like to use the single Super UV hooks attached to a running sinker set up. This rig seems to get the job done in my local water.
Cover More Ground, Use The Spread
The more rods you have in the water means more opportunity for more action and consequently more snapper. If you have the luxury of a boat then snapper racks will give you the capability to spread out several rods around your boat. You definitely increase your odds of catching more fish when you fish more rods, however, it should be noted that you should only fish as many rods as legalised in your state or territory and as many as you can physically manage. As sometimes having too many rods out can be problematic, for example, hooking a few fish on multiple rods at the same time can lead to a big tangle mess and lost fish.
The more you practice this method, the better you will become at controlling it. Ensure you position the boat or kayak so that it is not against the wind or tide, which will surly see your lines going under the boat or kayak. If your lines are going under your vessel then you risk getting tangled up. To avoid less tangles, I recommend monofilament rather than fishing with braid, as braid is a lot more likely to tangle and is harder to untangle than mono. This is especially important on a kayak where the angler is operating in a small confined space.
Another tip is to use a different colour mono on each fishing rod. This can also make life a little easier when trying to untangle lines. The difference in colour will help you to separate the line without too much fuss. If you have the space and budget its always a good idea to have some back up rods pre rigged and ready to go. As soon as you get the tangle rods out of the water cast your backups into the water and then deal with the tangles, this will reduce the amount of time out of the water. There are plenty of pre-made rigs on the market that have been designed to save you time from having to rig up when you are on the water.
When casting out put some baits out at a distance from the boat or kayak, some behind the transom, some straight down. The aim is to try and cover as much area as possible, this is known as the spread. In most cases if you are fishing in fast moving water, it is best to only fish a few rods at a time as tangling can be a real problem in this scenario. Mixing up your rigs from snelled hooks, running sinkers, flasher rigs or synthetic octopus style jigs out the sides going straight down can at times yield good outcomes. Fishing these jigs and flasher rigs off the bottom will give them the preferred action on a bobbing boat or kayak to entice strikes.