Snar­ing sum­mer snap­per

New Zealand Fishing World - - (Methods) -

The stun­ning weather of sum­mer com­pels us to get out there and fish but it can be a frus­trat­ing time of the sea­son with snap­per oc­cu­pied by spawn­ing rather than feed­ing, as John Dur­rant ex­plains.

There’s an irony in that many fish­ers do most of their fish­ing in the mid­dle of sum­mer, right when our snap­per can be at their most fickle. Beau­ti­ful, hot, sunny, calm days may seem like the ideal fish­ing con­di­tions to go out and catch a feed of prime snap­per but the re­al­ity is, th­ese times can prove frus­trat­ing.

There’s a whole range of the­o­ries as to why this is, but there can be no doubt that spawn­ing is the main one. Through De­cem­ber and Jan­uary es­pe­cially, snap­per are more con­cerned with do­ing the wild thing than eat­ing for large parts of the day.

There’s also the the­ory that warm wa­ter tem­per­a­tures can make them lethar­gic and put them off the chew and this prob­a­bly holds truth.

For the sum­mer fisher, the chal­lenge is to get into the right ar­eas, at the right times and present the right bait.

Of course, fish­ing is no ex­act sci­ence and there will al­ways be ex­cep­tions to any angling rule, but by fol­low­ing some ba­sic point­ers, the fisho can avoid those ag­o­niz­ing days in the sun when you re­turn home to an ex­pec­tant whanau with lit­tle or noth­ing in the bin.

Work­ing the ac­tion There’s heaps of tac­tics for tar­get­ing sum­mer snap­per and you have to de­cide which one you’ll adopt be­fore you go.

The sum­mer months see huge shoals of bait­fish head­ing to­wards our coasts. From this, we can reg­u­larly see mas­sive work-ups as dol­phins, whales, preda­tory fish and gan­nets take ad­van­tage of an easy feed.

Chas­ing work-ups is ex­hil­a­rat­ing and fran­tic and when you find one, you usu­ally don’t have to try too hard to start hit­ting the fish. Snap­per will sit un­der the feed­ing frenzy on the sur­face, pick­ing up the scraps that fall as bait­fish are ham­mered by all and sundry (

Find­ing the work-up is the dif­fi­cult part, catch­ing snap­per in this sce­nario is usu­ally straight­for­ward.

The key is to get down to the bot­tom quickly. This is the tar­get zone where the snap­per are feed­ing.

The fastest and most ef­fec­tive way to do this is by us­ing a jig. There’s a big range of vari­a­tions such as slowjigs, slow pitch, flut­ter jigs and the new free-run­ning styles. They all work in this sce­nario.

Just get them down there and the snap­per – all pent-up and hun­gry – should snaf­fle them.

see illustration p. 20).

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